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Peter Wright: Colin Lloyd and Mark Webster assess the Scot’s current struggles

Wright’s World Championship title defence ended in disappointment at Alexandra Palace; the Scot has endured a tough start to 2021, following a disappointing Super Series campaign and an early exit at the UK Open

By Josh Gorton

Peter Wright’s tungsten tinkering is not a new phenomenon, but Colin Lloyd and Mark Webster believe that Snakebite’s current struggles can be attributed to his constant changing of equipment.

Darts players are renowned for making subtle changes in the pursuit of perfection. Phil Taylor regularly made minor adjustments to ‘reinvent’ himself, while Raymond van Barneveld was another high-profile player to chop and change.

However, Wright’s level of tinkering is unprecedented. At last weekend’s UK Open, the 2020 world champion was seen changing his set-up on multiple occasions in his 10-5 defeat to Dave Chisnall.

The colourful Scot has endured a disappointing start to 2021, after his world title defence was curtailed by Gabriel Clemens in the last 32 at Alexandra Palace.

He was beaten in the semi-finals of the Masters by eventual winner Jonny Clayton, before failing to progress beyond the last 16 in any of the four Super Series events in Bolton.

He also posted a miserly 76 average in a startling 6-1 defeat to Michael Unterbuchner on the opening day, and Lloyd reflected on the Scot’s sluggish start to 2021 on the Darts Show podcast.

“I personally think he is [making too many changes]. There’s that saying, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” said the former world No 1.

“He played at that World Championships when he won it, a year or so ago now, and he played absolutely superb. Then I think those darts got one more run-out, they didn’t do what he wanted them to do, so he changed again.

“We’ve spoken about it many times before. That’s what Peter Wright does. He keeps proving us, other darts players and the fans wrong over and over again, by keep chopping and changing his equipment. That’s just what he does.”

Wright was recently urged by 16-time world champion Taylor to stop changing his darts, although the four-time major winner insists he will continue to chop and change while he’s challenging for major honours.

The world No 3 has been one of the most consistent performers in world darts over the past decade, but his averages have fluctuated considerably over recent weeks.

“Is it finally catching up with him? I don’t know. I personally think, the amount of times you change your darts – the length, the barrel, the weight, the flights, surely your throw is adjusting a little bit with it. You start losing that bit of consistency,” Lloyd continued.

“Saying that, probably in a week-or-so’s time, Peter Wright could go out there and win all four of next week’s Super Series, playing some sublime darts.

“I personally don’t like keep chopping and changing. Tinker around with little things, but he changes barrels, flights, stems, he changes the whole shebang.

“But like we said, it works for him a whole lot of the time. It just didn’t work for him at the UK Open.”

Former Lakeside world champion Mark Webster agrees with Lloyd, and he believes Wright will eventually return to the set-up which saw him claim World Championship glory just over a year ago.

“I agree with Lloydy. If you change your darts every time you have a little bad practice session… I don’t know how many sets of darts I would have had,” joked the Sky Sports Darts pundit.

“You’ve just got to try and persevere. Lloydy made a good point. He won that world title with a set of darts. I think they’re the set he goes to. Eventually, he’ll see them come back.

“I think he needs a good Super Series next week, and then the Premier League where you’ve got the block of five. That will help him, or gauge where he’s at, because the Premier League – there’s players in different form.”

Wright’s next assignment is the Super Series in Milton Keynes from March 16-19, before the Premier League gets underway behind closed doors at the same venue in April, and Webster admits it’s essential that the Scot finds his form, and quickly.

“There’s too much changing for me anyway. The purest of darts won’t like all that change. Not many do it,” the Welshman continued.

“He needs to find something quickly, because this is – I wouldn’t say it’s a crisis, but Peter was always in finals, semis, and we haven’t seen him there for three or four months. That doesn’t sound like a lot. But for Peter, that is a lot.”

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