World Darts Championship: Michael Smith Defeats Michael Van Gerwen To Claim Glory At Alexandra Palace

World Darts Championship: Michael Smith Defeats Michael Van Gerwen To Claim Glory At Alexandra Palace

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Greatest leg of darts, ever!? Smith struck a perfect nine-dart leg in the world championship final with Van Gerwen missing double 12 for perfection in the very same leg!

Greatest leg of darts, ever!? Smith struck a perfect nine-dart leg in the world championship final with Van Gerwen missing double 12 for perfection in the very same leg!

Michael Smith landed an incredible nine-dart finish on his way to claiming World Darts Championship glory for the first time in a classic encounter against Michael van Gerwen at Alexandra Palace on Tuesday night.

In a final that lived up all the pre-match hype, Smith fulfilled his darting destiny by becoming world champion, defeating Van Gerwen 7-4 in an epic final.

Smith followed up his breakthrough win at last month’s Grand Slam of Darts by claiming the sport’s biggest prize, which also lifted him to world No 1 for the first time in his career.

The St Helens ace struck his perfect nine-dart leg in the third leg of the second set, just moments after Van Gerwen had missed double 12 for the holy grail himself.

Watch how Wayne Mardle and Stuart Pyke reacted in the commentary box to the greatest leg of darts ever!

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Watch how Wayne Mardle and Stuart Pyke reacted in the commentary box to the greatest leg of darts ever!

Watch how Wayne Mardle and Stuart Pyke reacted in the commentary box to the greatest leg of darts ever!

Smith says the crowd got a magical night after finally claiming glory at The Palace

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Smith says the crowd got a magical night after finally claiming glory at The Palace

Smith says the crowd got a magical night after finally claiming glory at The Palace

“It sounds amazing, but I don’t want to start getting into the crying and emotions,” said Smith. “Michael let me off there and I finally took a chance I didn’t deserve but I still got that chance.

“I told you when I got the Grand Slam, I will be a world champion and I want to do what this man (Van Gerwen) has done, I want to take over the sport but he is still here.

“It is 1-1 now in the Worlds and I took my chances, but he knows and I do, it is not going to be the last one here where we play each other.

“I have said it for years, he is the best player in darts and we have got to take our chances and I finally took it.”

World Darts Championship: Michael Smith defeats Michael van Gerwen to claim glory at Alexandra Palace

The start was everything a packed Ally Pally could have wished for with both players going at it hammer and tongs. However, the first set went the way of Van Gerwen 3-1 against the darts with a 99.3 average and two 180s.

The third leg of the second set saw absolutely astonishing scenes with Smith landing the first nine-darter of the tournament after Van Gerwen missed double 12 for one of his own.

Smith went on to take the set 3-1 to level up with an incredible 128.09 set average, winning it in just 34 darts, as MVG set a new record of the highest losing average in a set with 120.73.

The 32-year-old hit the front for the first time in the contest just after wiring the bull for a spectacular 170 checkout.

Van Gerwen hit this 90 checkout with two double 18s in the fourth set

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Van Gerwen hit this 90 checkout with two double 18s in the fourth set

Van Gerwen hit this 90 checkout with two double 18s in the fourth set

In a real heavyweight clash Van Gerwen defied two 180s in the leg from Smith to complete a stunning 90 finish with two double 18s before Smith nailed his 11th 180 of the game to break the tournament record of 880, but it was Van Gerwen who levelled up after sinking 83 for a whitewash set.

Van Gerwen then produced a stunning 10-dart leg to force a fifth set decider which he clinched against the throw in 14 darts to regain the upper-hand.

Back came ‘Bully Boy’ to clinch the sixth set 3-1 and restore parity with an impressive 13 maximums in what was turning into a classic encounter.

The Grand Slam of Darts champion pinned a pulsating 130 finish in the fourth leg of the seventh set at which point Van Gerwen packed his darts away before realising there was still a deciding leg to play.

Smith crashed in this spectacular 130 on his way to winning the seventh set

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Smith crashed in this spectacular 130 on his way to winning the seventh set

Smith crashed in this spectacular 130 on his way to winning the seventh set

He was putting them away moments later, though, after missing darts at doubles to allow Smith to take a 4-3 advantage.

Smith, featuring in his third world championship final in five years, opened up a cushion for the first time in the final, to move two clear before ‘Bully Boy’ made it four sets in a row when he reeled off another without reply to go within one of the world title.

Watch Smith lift the Sid Waddell trophy after beating Van Gerwen in an Ally Pally thriller

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Watch Smith lift the Sid Waddell trophy after beating Van Gerwen in an Ally Pally thriller

Watch Smith lift the Sid Waddell trophy after beating Van Gerwen in an Ally Pally thriller

But MVG held his nerve to seal the 10th set to stop the rot and keep his title hopes alive, but he squandered a two-leg lead with Smith taking out a big 106 finish and then sinking double eight to finally get his hands on the Sid Waddell Trophy.

“I wasn’t playing too well in the last few sets, but you can only blame yourself for that. It doesn’t take anything away from Michael, because I think he played brilliantly the whole game. Fair play to him. He deserved it,” admitted Van Gerwen.

“I wasn’t what I wanted to be but that’s part of the game unfortunately and you have to take it on the chin.”

MVG was full of praise for Smith after losing a wonderful final

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MVG was full of praise for Smith after losing a wonderful final

MVG was full of praise for Smith after losing a wonderful final

World Darts Championship: Michael Smith defeats Michael van Gerwen to claim glory at Alexandra Palace

What’s next on Sky Sports?

Michael van Gerwen will be targeting his seventh Premier League title this year

Michael van Gerwen will be targeting his seventh Premier League title this year

Belfast will play host to the opening night of the 2023 Premier League, with the schedule confirmed for next year’s roadshow.

The new season will begin at the SSE Arena in Belfast on Thursday, February 2, the first of 17 individual venues to host the 2023 Premier League, which will be staged on Thursday nights from February to May.

Watch how Van Gerwen edged out Joe Cullen in a dramatic final to claim his sixth Premier League title in Berlin

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Watch how Van Gerwen edged out Joe Cullen in a dramatic final to claim his sixth Premier League title in Berlin

Watch how Van Gerwen edged out Joe Cullen in a dramatic final to claim his sixth Premier League title in Berlin

It will retain the same Premier League format as introduced successfully in 2022, where the eight players compete each night in a knockout format before the top four players from the final league table progress to the Play-Offs.

The Play-Offs will return to The O2 in London, as darts’ biggest party returns to an unchanged line-up of 17 venues across the UK and Europe.

2023 Premier League Schedule

Night 1 The SSE Arena, Belfast February 2
Night 2 Cardiff International Arena February 9
Night 3 OVO Hydro, Glasgow February 16
Night 4 3Arena, Dublin February 23
Night 5 Westpoint Exeter March 2
Night 6 The Brighton Centre March 9
Night 7 Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham March 16
Night 8 Utilita Arena, Newcastle March 23
Night 9 Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin March 30
Night 10 Utilita Arena, Birmingham April 6
Night 11 M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool April 13
Night 12 Rotterdam Ahoy April 20
Night 13 First Direct Arena, Leeds April 27
Night 14 AO Arena, Manchester May 4
Night 15 Utilita Arena, Sheffield May 11
Night 16 P&J Live, Aberdeen May 18
Play-Offs The O2, London May 25

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