Ross Smith remarkably claimed his first major televised title at the 2022 European Championship in Dortmund with an 11-8 win…
Ross Smith remarkably claimed his first major televised title at the 2022 European Championship in Dortmund with an 11-8 win over Michael Smith in the final.
Smith created a slice of history by defying the odds to become the latest new winner of a PDC major, picking up a life-changing £120,000 top prize at the Westfalenhallen on Sunday.
Appearing in his first televised final, the Kent star produced an imperious display to claim glory, averaging 101.3 and hitting eight 180s and four ton-plus checkouts.
Michael Smith also averaged over 100 and landed eight maximums in a high quality final, but was forced to settle for second prize once again.
Ross Smith, whose previous best run in a TV ranking event was a run to the Quarter-Finals of the 2019 UK Open, defeated a quartet of televised title winners on his way to sealing the crown.
Having started his run by defeating Masters champion Joe Cullen and Dimitri Van den Bergh – the winner of two World Series events this year – he then came from 8-3 down to defeat World Champion Peter Wright in Sunday afternoon’s Quarter-Finals, and edged out Chris Dobey 11-9 in the Semi-Finals.
“I think I’m dreaming, I have to pinch myself,” said Ross Smith. “It hasn’t sunk in, it probably won’t do for weeks. I’ve never even won a Euro Tour, never mind a TV tournament.
“I kept telling myself ‘just play darts, don’t put yourself under any pressure and just throw’.
“It’s a real privilege to play darts on stages like this, in front of crowds like this. I love this game.”
The underdog heading into the final, Ross Smith enjoyed a dream start as he raced into a 3-0 lead, producing checkouts of 133 and 121 in the process.
US Masters champion Michael Smith fought back to level at 3-3 before the 33-year-old regained the initiative at 4-3 – a lead he never relinquished.
He took out 121 on the bullseye for a second time to make it 6-4, though he looked to have offered his opponent a way back into the contest when he missed three darts for an 8-4 lead, allowing the St Helens star to reduce the deficit to 7-5.
Michael Smith somehow found his way through to a seemingly blocked double five with his last dart in hand to once again pull within a leg at 8-7.
However, it was to be Ross Smith’s night as ‘Smudger’ held his nerve, winning three of the next four legs to seal the biggest win of his life.
The £120,000 in prize money lifts Smith up to a career-high 20th on the PDC Order of Merit, and also secures him a place in next month’s Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton.
Meanwhile, Michael Smith suffered heartbreak for a sixth time in a TV ranking final – and a third time inside 12 months following his losses in the World Championship and UK Open finals.
The world number four produced memorable wins over Josh Rock, Luke Humphries and Dirk van Duijvenbode to reach the final but was once again left wondering what might have been.
“Every time Ross was on a ton-plus finish he was pinning it, fair play to him – he did what he needed to do to win,” reflected Bully Boy.
“My scoring wasn’t the best but I wasn’t too upset with myself at how I played. It’s starting to become annoying [losing TV ranking finals] but I’ll get there eventually.
“I’ve just got to keep going, keep believing and keep doing what I’m doing. Maybe I will win the next one, or the one after that. We’ll see.”
Dobey followed up his run to the recent World Grand Prix Quarter-Finals recently by reaching the Last Four in Dortmund, while Van Duijvenbode was denied his spot in a third TV final of the year by Michael Smith in the semis.
European Championship 2022 Day Four Results
Sunday October 30
Dirk van Duijvenbode 10-3 Danny Noppert
Luke Humphries 7-10 Michael Smith
Chris Dobey 10-7 Dave Chisnall
Peter Wright 8-10 Ross Smith
Michael Smith 11-7 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Ross Smith 11-9 Chris Dobey
Ross Smith 11-8 Michael Smith
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