Heartbreak and tears for Michael Smith in world championship final
Michael Smith couldn't hold back the tears as he heroically failed to lift the William Hill World Darts Championship title in an epic encounter against former winner Peter Wright at the Alexandra Palace, London.
The 31-year-old from St Helens lost 7-5 but the result could so easily have gone either way and had he performed as well as he did in previous rounds Smith conceivably would have been heading home with the biggest prize in the sport safely tucked under his arm.
SET BY SET BREAKDOWN.
Set one (1-3)
Smith landed two 180s against the throw in the opening leg but missed two darts at tops to win it, allowing Wright to step forward and pin the same double.
The Scotsman missed 13 darts at double in a bizarre second leg, which Smith won in 28 darts, before Wright edged ahead on double four and punished his opponent for more missed doubles to seal the set.
Set Two (1-3)
Smith fired in another maximum on the way to taking the first leg but missed three darts to break as Wright levelled. The world number two then took out 148 to break, followed by a brilliant bullseye finish of 124 to double his lead in the match.
Set three (3-1)
The first two legs were shared before Smith broke for the first time with a sublime 167 finish. The former World Youth Champion then pinned double 13 to win his first set of the final, hitting three 180s during it.
Set four (3-2)
Smith took out 80 after his opponent had missed a dart at the bull for a 170 checkout. Wright levelled with a 117 finish, before the pair again exchanged holds of throw.
He then missed two darts to break and Smith levelled the match by pinning double ten.
Set five (2-3)
Wright changed darts at the beginning of the set and opened with a 180 before taking out 25 to hold. He then pegged double nine but Smith broke back with an 11-darter.
The St Helens ace then took out 65 to level up the set but couldn't get a dart at double from 106 in the decider, which Wright won on double eight.
The fifth set also saw Smith land his 13th 180 of the match and 72nd of the tournament, surpassing the previous World Championship record of 71 set by Gary Anderson in the 2017 final.
Set Six (3-1)
Wright swapped back to his original set of darts and took out 76 to level the set after Smith had held his throw.
But Smith won the next two legs, sealing the set with a 13-dart break of throw to tie up the match at three apiece.
Set Seven (3-0)
Smith broke again after Wright had missed four darts at double 11. He then doubled his lead with a 64 finish before making it five legs on the spin with a clinical 93 checkout.
Set eight (1-3)
Wright punished two missed darts at tops to break and doubled his lead on double four, but missed darts to return a whitewash set as Smith pinned double ten to hold.
Wright held it together to take out a set-winning 72 after his opponent had missed a dart at the bull to break.
Set nine (3-2)
Wright took out 103 as the first four legs went with the throw, only to be broken in the decider after missing six darts for the set, allowing Smith to move 5-4 ahead.
Set ten (2-3)
Smith followed another 180 by landing double 15 before tops saw him break, but Wright cancelled out that break immediately and forced another set decider.
The Scotsman then completed the comeback from two legs behind by following a maximum with an 84 finish to level up the final again. and then went on to lift the crown for a second time by a two set margin.