Peter Wright claimed his second World Darts Championship title courtesy of a 7-5 victory over Michael Smith in the final…
Peter Wright claimed his second World Darts Championship title courtesy of a 7-5 victory over Michael Smith in the final at Alexandra Palace.
Wright backed up his 2020 triumph with a second world title in the space of three years to become only the sixth multiple PDC World Champion.
The world number two overturned a 5-4 deficit with a timely run of three straight sets to crush Smith’s dream of a first major title.
The triumph caps off an unforgettable season for the colourful Scot, which also saw him win the World Matchplay, World Cup of Darts and Players Championship Finals.
Smith was in control of the final as he led 5-4 in sets and 2-0 in legs, but only for Wright to reel off nine of the next ten legs to join Scottish legends Jocky Wilson and Gary Anderson on two world titles.
“I’m over the moon to lift this amazing trophy for a second time,” said Wright.
“It was a difficult start to the year from me away from darts but I’ve had a great year on the oche and this tops it off.
“Michael and I didn’t perform how we can for a lot of the game, but it was still an entertaining final because it was so close.
“Michael is the future of darts, I feel for him tonight because I’ve been in his position.
“But, I’ve got to take the chances I get and thankfully I was able to do that tonight.
“I can’t explain what went wrong with my game tonight, I kept swapping darts trying to find something that worked and thankfully I had a good run at the end.
“Thank you to the crowd for turning out to support us all tournament, they were amazing.”
Smith was left distraught after losing his eighth televised final in nine attempts, as his wait for maiden TV ranking silverware goes on.
Despite his latest disappointment, the new world number five remains determined to break his duck in 2022.
“I got five sets in this time instead of three but losing these finals is doing my head in now,” said Smith.
“Tonight will be difficult but I’ll be back on the practice board soon, getting ready for the next one.
“The bullseye shots for big finishes wouldn’t go in, that’s darts I guess.
“I never once gave up, the emotions just took over at the end there, something happened.”
Smith landed 24 180s in the match to take his tournament total up to a staggering 83, smashing the previous record of 71 set by Gary Anderson at the 2016/17 tournament.
Two of those maximums came in the opening leg, though it proved to be a nervy start from both players with an astonishing 23 missed double attempts between the pair in leg two.
Wright took both the opening two sets 3-1, before Smith established himself in the contest by winning the next two sets to level.
Wright regained the lead by winning the set five decider, before Smith won six of the next seven legs to lead for the first time at 4-3 with a 167 checkout along the way.
After Wright levelled once again, Smith regained the advantage by winning the ninth set and looked on course for the title as he led 2-0 in the tenth.
However, Wright came back to win the set with a tide-turning 84 finish before whitewashing Smith in the 11th set to go back in front.
The world number two continued his sprint to the finish line, with Smith powerless to stop Wright winning the 12th and final set 3-1 to seal victory.
The 51-year-old ended with a match average of 98.3 to Smith’s 99.2, as well as 17 maximums and four ton-plus finishes.
Wright’s triumph sees him close the gap on Gerwyn Price at the top of the PDC Order of Merit to just £15,250 as he bids to become world number one for the first time.
William Hill World Darts Championship 2021/22 Final Result
Monday January 3
Peter Wright 7-5 Michael Smith (3-1, 3-1, 1-3, 2-3, 3-2, 1-3, 0-3, 3-1, 2-3, 3-2, 3-0, 3-1)