Yates' verdict: Smith will be back after record breaking tournament

Michael Smith collected a runners-up prize of £200,000 - more money than most St Helens folk earn in a year-  but it will be small consolation to the 31-year- old who had set his heart on achieving a near life-time ambition - winning the World Darts Championship for the first time.

Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 7:15 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 7:16 am
Peter Wright fist bumps with Michael Smith after the final of the William Hill sponsored PDC World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace in London

The local lad, who had been in blistering form throughout the tournament and had already claimed the scalp of holder Gerwyn Price and his highly-rated fellow Welshman, Jonny Clayton, in previous rounds, went into last night's London final against former winner Peter Wright as the bookies' favourite to win the title but never quite scaled the heights which earned him a place in the ultimate.showdown.

He certainly did not play poorly as his match stats showed - a phenomenal 24 180s to take his tally for the event to a disbelieving 83 and at the same time smashing the record previously held by his mentor, Gary Anderson.

Bully Boy said: "The defeat is difficult to take but I will be back on the oche soon and preparing for the next tournament.

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He added: ''The bullseye shots for big finishes didn't hit their target for me tonight but that's darts I guess.''

That's two defeats for Smith in the showpiece event of the darts calendar - let's hope it will be third time lucky in the near future.

Wright, ranked number two in the world, produced his best darts when it really mattered, winning nine of the last 10 legs to get the better of Smith.

“I am over the moon. I know it is Sid, but it is my lady, I am happy to get her back,” he said.

“I am gutted for the players that have missed out on the tournament, Michael, Chissy and Vincent and the other players, but that doesn’t take away from me working hard to get it.

“I have won it back-to-back with crowds in. To be part of that elite group, people might say it was lucky when I beat Michael (Van Gerwen) when he wasn’t playing well, but it’s nice to prove everyone I can win it horribly."