Peter Wright made an impressive start in defending the World Matchplay Title

Peter Wright got the defense of his World Matchplay crown off to a flying start as he rolled 10-4 past Latvian debutant Madars Razma at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, where Jonny Clayton failed again in the first round.

‘Snakebite’ posted seven highs and a 97.42 average to set a marker as the World Champion stormed into the last 16.

Wright immediately pressed on, hitting 180 in a first 13-dart leg before taking a 5-0 lead with consistently high scoring and a solid finish.

Razma finally stopped the rot to finally get on the board in the next leg, breaking Wright before holding his own throw to make it 8-4.

It was a tight comeback, however, with Wright rolling the next two legs – including a stunning 157 checkout – to secure his place in the last 16.

In the final game on Saturday, eighth-seeded Welsh Clayton suffered an unexpected 10-7 loss to debutants Rowby-John Rodriguez.

‘The Ferret’ struggled to impress at World Matchplay, trying to avoid a first-round elimination for the fourth time in five games.

World No. 73 Austrian Rodriguez built momentum after a brilliant start to lead 6-4 at the second break.

Clayton tried to keep in touch but Rodriguez kept his composure after missing two match darts to use the double lead to a memorable win.

Dimitri Van Den Bergh produced a composed exhibition at the Winter Gardens (Kieran Cleeves/PA)

(PA Archive)

Earlier, 2020 champion Dimitri Van Den Bergh had a more comfortable evening with a 10-2 win over Callan Rydz.

England’s Rydz had impressed with his run to the Quarters last year but had no response from the Belgian, who landed a 137 checkout to seal an impressive win that included five 180s.

In Saturday’s opening game, Krzysztof Ratajski, who reached last year’s semifinals, defeated Stephen Bunting 10-6 and will play Wright in the next round.

The “Polish Eagle” averaged just under 100 and hit a maximum when he defeated former Lakeside champion Bunting, who was on a nine-dart leg late in the game but only hit a single 20 on his seventh throw . Peter Wright made an impressive start in defending the World Matchplay Title

Fry Electronics Team

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