THOUSANDS of boozy fans flock to Ally Pally to watch Darts tournament

Thousands of boozy fans flock to Ally Pally in fancy dress for the first night of the 2023 World Darts Championship as reigning champion Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright gets off to a winning start… in a special Santa outfit!

  • Thousands of rowdy supporters packed into Alexandra Palace on Thursday night
  • Boozy fans flocked to see the first night of the 2023 World Darts Championship
  • Reigning champion Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright eased past Mickey Mansell 3-0
  • Earlier, Mansell, Grant Sampson and Nathan Rafferty were victorious in London
  • There will be eight games on Friday, involving the likes of Adrian ‘Jackpot’ Lewis

Thousands of alcohol-fuelled supporters packed into the Alexandra Palace to see first night of the 2023 World Darts Championship on Thursday night. 

Boozy attendees flocked to London and saw Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright win comfortably at the curtain-raising event, with the vast majority of those in attendance costumed up and singing themselves hoarse.

Reigning champion Wright, of Scotland, won 3-0 against Michael ‘Clonoe Cyclone’ Mansell – but the best performance of the evening went to darts fans, who put on an incredible show of colour and sound inside the Haringey arena.

Thousands flocked to the Alexandra Palace for the first night of the World Darts Championship

Defending champion Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright beat Mickey Mansell 3-0 in the second round

Boozy fans packed into the London Ally Pally arena to see the 2023 competition curtain-raiser

The vast majority of those attending were costumed up (above) and sung themselves hoarse

Fans were treated to four matches, three in the first round and one clash in the second round

These attendees got into the festive spirit as they dressed up in Christmassy elf outfits (above)

Round 1: Michael Mansell (NIR) 3-1 Ben Robb (NZL)

Grant Sampson (South Africa) 3-1 Keane Barry (IRL) 

Nathan Rafferty (NIR) 3-2 Jermaine Wattimena (NED)

Round 2: Peter Wright (SCO) 3-0 Michael Mansell (NIR)

The competition format involves the top 32 from the PDC Order of Merit, who enter in the second round.

Before that, the 32 highest-ranked members on the PDC Pro Tour not already qualified joining in the first round.

The latter group face 32 qualifiers from around the world in the first round. 

The first three matches saw two shocks as the crowd delighted in a couple of surprise underdog victories.

After Northern Irishman Mickey Mansell beat New Zealander Ben Robb 3-1, South African Grant Sampson beat Irishman Keane Barry, by the same scoreline.

Mansell’s compatriot Nathan Rafferty then edged past the favourite, Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena, in a 3-2 thriller.

Unfortunately for Mansell, his first-round victory saw him up against defending champion Wright in the second round – who did not drop a set on the way to a confident win. 

Among the players in action in the eight games on Friday are 

Adrian ‘Jackpot’ Lewis, who is a two-time PDC World Darts Champion (in 2011 and 2012) will face Daniel Larsson of Sweden.

Then last year’s losing finalist – beaten by Wright in the showpiece event – Michael ‘Bully Boy’ Smith takes on Rafferty.

Others led chants dressed in caveman outfits as they entertained themselves between games

Others dressed as computer game characters Mario and Luigi as they enjoyed several drinks

Out of this world: a large group of astronauts and one space rocket turn up in Haringey

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