Wright hails 'brilliant' Heta following Gibraltar Darts Trophy thriller

Damon Heta & Peter Wright (PDC)

Peter Wright insists Damon Heta ‘can beat anybody in the world’, after succumbing to the Australian star in Sunday’s thrilling Gibraltar Darts Trophy final.

Wright squandered six championship darts in an extraordinary contest at the Victoria Stadium on Sunday night, as Heta kept his cool to close out an 8-7 victory and scoop the £25,000 top prize.

World Champion Wright had produced a series of imperious displays to seal his spot in Sunday’s showpiece, kicking off Finals Day with a 108 average in a 6-1 demolition of Ryan Searle.

The world number one averaged 105 to dethrone top seed Luke Humphries in the last eight, and almost 109 in his 7-1 drubbing of Rob Cross in the semi-finals.

Wright maintained his magnificent form in the early stages of Sunday’s final, conjuring up a brilliant 121 checkout of bull, treble seven and bull en route to establishing a 3-0 cushion.

Heta responded with a stunning 167 combination on his way to a 7-5 lead, and although Wright fought back to force a last-leg decider, the Scot lost out in a thrilling finale.

"Hats off to Damo," said Wright, a winner at last month’s Interwetten German Darts Open.

“I love Damon to bits. He’s left home and come over here but now you watch him.

“He beat Michael van Gerwen and he's beaten me. He's proven he can beat anybody in the world. He is brilliant.

“He's been pushing and pushing but he gets horrible draws and keeps running into the top players.

“It was his day today. He was blowing me away and he took his foot off the pedal and gave me chances to get back into the match.

“I didn't expect to miss my doubles, and I didn't expect him to miss, but hopefully it was entertainment!”

Heta has enjoyed a memorable 2022 campaign, claiming his second ProTour title in March, before guiding Australia to a maiden World Cup of Darts triumph alongside Simon Whitlock in June.

The 35-year-old has already broken into the world’s top 20, and he continued his ascent with a maiden European Tour success in Gibraltar.

Heta kicked off his campaign with victory over Chris Dobey, before recording wins over Masters champion Joe Cullen and Germany’s number one Gabriel Clemens to seal his spot in the semi-finals.

He then edged out Michael van Gerwen in a sensational contest, landing nine 180s and coming from 4-1, 5-2 and 6-4 down with legs of 13, 11 and 15 darts in the closing stages.

“My weekend's been up and down,” reflected Heta, who will now be the fifth seed at this month's Cazoo European Championship in Dortmund.

“I haven't had a steady game all weekend and to come away with my first European Tour win, I'm really happy.

“Peter had his chances, just like I did, and the crowd deserved a last-leg decider. To happen like it did, I don't know what to say!

“I'm absolutely stoked. To get one European Tour title under my belt so early in my career, it's unexpectedly expected you could say!”