Peter Wright won the William Hill World Darts Championship for a second time as he defeated Michael Smith 7-5 in Monday’s final.
An Alexandra Palace thriller saw the lead change hands multiple times, before Wright finished strongly to lift the Sid Waddell trophy for the second time in three years, while Smith suffered a second World Championship final defeat.
Smith, seeking a first TV ranking title, was in control of the contest as he led 5-4 in sets and 2-0 in the tenth set, but Wright won nine of the next ten legs to join the list of two-time World Champions.
“I’m over the moon to lift this amazing trophy for a second time,” said Wright, a winner of three TV titles in 2021.
“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 a first TV ranking title 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.”
Smith hit 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 180s came in the opening leg, though it proved to be a nervous start from both players with 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.
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.
2021/22 William Hill World Darts Championship
Monday January 3 (2000 GMT)
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)
Words: PDC & Editorial Team