Peter Wright is standing on top of the darting world as he bullied The Bully Boy Michael Smith to claim his second PDC World Darts Championship.
Early nerves were on display on the Ally Pally stage as both men missed ten darts at a double in the second leg before Michael Smith took out double 1. That wasn’t enough to stop Snakebite from breaking Smith’s throw in the fourth leg and going into a 1-0 lead.
Smith’s doubles deserted him in set 2 with Wright going 2-0 up through an arrow right in the centre of the bullseye. Set 3 was a different beast as The Bully Boy raced to win his first set of the night to claw it back to 2-1. Wright missed two darts to take a 3-1 lead in set 4, letting Smith back in to tie things up on double 10.
Peter Wright then did what Peter Wright does during darts matches as he swapped his darts ahead of set 5. The move paid dividends as he slithered ahead into a 3-2 lead. Incredibly Wright returned to his original darts ahead of set 6 which Smith won on throw.
Smith took the lead in sets for the first time as he whitewashed Wright in set 7. Neither man could quite shake the other off as Wright – another change of darts later – levelled the match at 4-4. Michael Smith eeked out a tense ninth set to regain his advantage before throwing away a 2-0 lead in set 10 to let Wright even up the scores at 5-5 as the match threatened to ascend to all-time classic status.
Peter Wright returned the whitewash in set 11 as he moved to within one set away from claiming the title. And in set 11 Wright proved he had paced himself perfectly through the match as claimed his 7th set and 2nd PDC World Darts Championship on double 16.
Snakebite’s road to the Sid Wadell trophy began with a 3-0 thumping of Ryan Meikle before an average of 102.15 saw him see off the not inconsiderable challenge of Australian Damon Heta in the third round. Wright kept the Scottish end up as he saw off the English duo of Ryan Searle and Callan Rydz to make the semi-final.
Rydz in particular caused Wright all sorts of problems in their encounter early on before the Scotsman found his doubles to come through the tie battered but the winner at 5 sets to 4.
An all-Scottish semi-final then awaited the world number 2 as he faced off with compatriot and former two-time PDC World Darts Champion, Gary Anderson. Their match showed the two veterans at their best with Wright averaging over 104 while Anderson’s own average tipped over 102.
Peter Wright broke Gary Anderson’s own record of most 180s in a World Championship match, claiming 24 of them and missing a dart at double 12 for the 4th nine-darter of the tournament. In the end, Wright saw off Anderson 6-4 to claim his place in the richest game in world darts.
Michael Smith’s run to the final was, on paper, a lot tougher to navigate than Wright’s given his ranking as ninth seed in the tournament. Smith wasted no time in laying an early marker down in the tournament as he averaged over 106 on his way to a 3-0 demolition of Dutchman Ron Meulenkamp.
A third round tie against Willie O’Connor proved a sterner test but Smith came through his encounter with the Irishman a 4-2 winner. As the competition reached the business end, Smith was confronted with matches against the 2020 PDC World Cup Of Darts winning duo Jonny Clayton and 2021 PDC World Champion, Gerwyn Price.
Smith survived Clayton’s 102.48 average to overcome The Ferret by 4 sets to 3 setting up a tasty quarter-final clash with Price. With the Ally Pally crowd firmly on Michael Smith’s side, he overcame a magical nine-darter from Price to knock the Welshman out of the competition 5-4.
That victory set up an all-England semi-final with James Wade who was back to his best in this year’s tournament. In the end, The Machine ran out of steam and Smith ran away a 6-3 winner to claim his place in the final.
As champion, Peter Wright walks away with a half a million pound prize – as he did in 2020 when he won the title for the first time – with Smith having to settle for the none too shabby £200,000 runners-up purse.
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