World Matchplay: Peter Wright makes strong start to title defence, while Jonny Clayton crashes out

Defending World Matchplay champion Peter Wright stormed into the round of 16 on Saturday with a storming win, but world No.8 Jonny Clayton fell short in the first round.

All eyes were on Peter Wright in Blackpool on Saturday, as 'Snakebite' looked to make a winning start to his World Matchplay title defence.

The Scot was pitted against Latvian debutant Madars Razma in Winter Gardens, and put on a dominant display to seal a 10-4 win and progress to Sunday's round of 16.

'Snakebite' landed seven maximums and averaged 97.42 en route to his victory, and he finished the match with a superb 157 checkout.

"The crowd were fantastic, and it's great to be back at the Winter Gardens," said Wright, who now plays Krzysztof Ratajski for a place in the quarter-finals.

"There are loads more 180s to come, maybe nine-darters as well. I believe I will win it again.

"Krzysztof is a fantastic player, but it doesn't matter what player turns up, they've got to be consistent from the first leg until the last, and there's not many players in this tournament that can do that."

In Saturday's final match, Wales' Jonny Clayton suffered an unexpected 10-7 defeat to debutant Rowby-John Rodriguez.

'The Ferret' had struggled to make an impact at the World Matchplay and was looking to avoid going out in the first round for the fourth time in five appearances.

Austrian Rodriguez, the world number 73, built momentum after a bright start, opening up a 6-4 lead at the second interval.

Clayton tried to stay in touch, but Rodriguez kept his composure after missing two match darts to nail double top for a memorable victory.

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

Englishman Rydz had impressed on his run to the quarter-finals last year, but had no answer to the Belgian, who landed a 137 checkout to seal an impressive win which included five 180s.

In Saturday's opening match, Krzysztof Ratajski, who reached the semi-finals last year, progressed 10-6 against Stephen Bunting and will go on to play Wright in the next round.

The 'Polish Eagle' averaged just under 100, hitting one maximum, as he saw off former Lakeside champion Bunting, who had been on a nine-dart leg towards the end of the match, but only scored a single 20 with his seventh throw.

READ MORE: World Matchplay news: Former world champion Gerwyn Price wants first Winter Gardens title

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