Peter Wright can make a big statement early in the season
It is a new season in the PDC and the Masters has a new venue in Milton Keynes. With this sense of rebirth on the oche we may even have a brand new major winner in the shape of Peter Wright this weekend.
These early season tournaments are tricky ones to gauge. Yes the World Championship only came to an end earlier this month but things often appear to have been reset after the Alexandra Palace and the form book can be rapidly rewritten.
This is exactly the kind of time that a less-fancied player can make a burst through a field which may not quite be at its best. When the Players Championship Finals were held at the start of the season both Gary Anderson and Robert Thornton reached their first PDC major finals at the event, whilst Paul Nicholson won his one and only major. It proves that strange things can happen at the end of January.
The man that could emulate these scenes this time around is Wright who is just the kind of consistent, steady and reliable player to capitalise on opponents under-performing. Snakebite enjoyed a good World Championship, ending at the quarter-final stage, and with this event and the Premier League coming up he will have been hard on the practice board since his exit from the Ally Pally. He will average in the high 90s as a matter of course and that could well be enough this weekend.
The colourful world number five has never won a match in this tournament before, but he should be able to break that losing streak against Brendan Dolan first up. Then, with the quarter-finals onwards all played on Sunday it is down to who can stay steady and focussed over the day, Wright is more than capable of doing that.
Also going in Wright’s favour is that he has had a calmer time of it since the World Championship than many of the other big names in attendance at Milton Keynes. The likes of Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor, Adrian Lewis and James Wade have all jetted off to Australia for an extended part of January, whilst Taylor has also had to deal with the terrible news about the death of his mother. Gary Anderson obviously romped to the World Championship but the media circus that followed will not have helped him and there will be a whole new pressure on him this weekend.
With so much going on there is every chance for a man like Wright to capitalise on the chaos and cause some real damage this weekend. He is 25/1 which makes him a cracking each-way punt to make the final at least, if not get his hands on the Masters trophy.