Peter Wright believes his Machineseeker European Championship triumph can provide the springboard for a strong end to the 2023 season, following his return to winning ways in Germany.
Wright defeated James Wade 11-6 in Sunday’s Dortmund decider to clinch his second European Championship title, having also beaten the left-hander to secure his maiden victory in 2020.
The Scottish star produced a series of superb displays at the Westfalenhalle to win his eighth Premier televised title, joining Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen and Rob Cross in becoming a multiple European Champion.
Wright began his campaign by recovering from 4-1 down to deny German number one Gabriel Clemens on Thursday’s opening night, before dispatching world number one Michael Smith 10-4 in round two.
The 53-year-old then won through gruelling encounters against Masters champion Chris Dobey and Dutch number two Danny Noppert, before toppling a tenacious Wade to claim the £120,000 top prize.
?️ "The old guy did it!"— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) October 29, 2023
Hear from your 2023 European Champion, Peter Wright, after his triumph here in Dortmund! pic.twitter.com/FZvAlgAqpY
“It’s a brilliant feeling to win another TV tournament,” reflected Wright, who reclaims second spot on the PDC Order of Merit at the expense of Michael van Gerwen.
“If you look at the calibre of players that were in the quarter-finals – you had Gezzy [Gerwyn Price] there, Michael van Gerwen, Luke Humphries.
“There was also Danny [Noppert] and Gian van Veen, who I think is the future of darts, and I came out the winner.
"The old guy can still do it! It’s about believing in myself. That’s all I was trying to do, and it worked.”
Wright has endured a challenging 2023 campaign, relinquishing his World Championship crown in January, finishing bottom of this year’s Premier League while also suffering an early exit in July’s World Matchplay.
However, the 53-year-old showed glimpses of a resurgence with a run to the World Grand Prix quarter-finals, before capping off his revival by celebrating his first televised ranking title for almost two years.
“My form this year has been terrible,” claimed the Scot, despite winning titles at the Nordic Darts Masters and Czech Darts Open in January and May respectively.
“I was hitting averages below 80 at times, and it’s only in the past month that I’ve been playing some better darts.
“I know if I can put the hard work in then I can win these tournaments, even when I’m not playing at my best.
“We’ve got a lot of big tournaments coming up soon, so now it’s about finding that consistency, but I will be ready for Alexandra Palace. I believe I can win [a third World Championship title].”
Wright’s immediate focus will now turn to this week’s Players Championship double-header, as the 2023 PDC ProTour season reaches its climax in Barnsley.
The top 64 players on the final Players Championship Order of Merit will qualify for next month’s Cazoo Players Championship Finals, a title Wright memorably lifted in 2021.
Nevertheless, the two-time World Champion is currently £2,750 adrift of the qualification places with just two events remaining, as he bids to secure his Minehead qualification in last-gasp fashion.
“Now it’s about focusing on the next one, and I have to go to Barnsley to try and get into Minehead,” added Wright, who is currently in 78th position on the Players Championship Order of Merit.
“I’m defending prize money from winning the Players Championship Finals two years ago, so I need to be in it to give myself a chance to try and win it again.
“This helps with the prize money that I’m defending at the end of the year, but I’m not sending a message out [to rivals], because everyone knows that I’m hard to beat when I turn up.”