Peter Wright came dressed as the Grinch and stole the show as his World Championship defence got off to a winning start.
The Scot, who is known to be eccentric, was in his element on the opening day of the showpiece event, kitting out in a bright green outfit in homage to the Christmas character, complete with matching beard and mohawk.
The 2020 champion came dressed for a party but meant business, taking out Mickey Mansell in ruthless manner with a 3-0 victory at the Alexandra Palace to book his place in the third round after Christmas.
Mansell had beaten Ben Robb in the opening match of this year’s tournament, but could not cope with Wright’s scoring power and was only able to win one leg in the match.
‘Snakebite’ threw two 180s and landed finishes of 126 and 121 as he got the job done in clinical style.
Wright’s costume was applied by his hairdresser wife Jo, who was recently given the all-clear following complications after having her gall bladder removed.
The Scot said having her there was a relief for him.
“It is good for Jo to be healthy and on the mend and we only found out last Wednesday that she was getting better and wasn’t going to be in the hospital every day,” he said.
“That was a weight off my shoulders.”
There was an Alexandra Palace debut to remember for Grant Sampson as he beat Keane Barry 3-1.
The South African had needed to use Crowdfunding to help pay for his flight from Cape Town and he travelled to the venue on the bus.
But by reaching the second round, where he meets Kim Huybrechts on Friday night, he pocketed £15,000, which should at least mean he can travel in a bit more comfort.
He said: “I am still pumped with adrenalin. That was amazing. Back home we only play in front of 50 people so playing in front of a crowd like that was beautiful.
“All my dreams came true by qualifying so I had nothing to lose. I am really proud, it is the biggest night of my life, I won’t be able to sleep.”
There was also a debut win for Northern Irishman Nathan Rafferty, who won a fifth-set decider against Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena.
Published: 16/12/2022 by Radio NewsHub