Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright joined an elite list of players who have won multiple World Darts Championship titles after defeating Michael Smith in Monday’s final.
Wright collected a cheque for £500,000 before lifting the Sid Waddell Trophy once again on the Alexandra Palace stage having produced a brilliant performance, averaging 98.34 and firing 17 180s, in a 7-5 victory over Smith.
The two best players statistically in the tournament went head-to-head for the biggest prize in darts, but they produced their worst set at this year’s World Championship to open proceedings.
Wright, who revealed a knee injury had been causing him discomfort, soaked up two maximums to win a 15-darter in the opening leg. Smith levelled up, but only after throwing a remarkable 28 darts in the worst leg of the entire tournament.
It was the Scot who eventually wrapped up the set 3-1 after hitting double 4 and double 8 in legs three and four.
‘Snakebite’, who threw a tournament record of 24 180s in his semi-final victory against fellow Scot Gary Anderson, continued where he left off by powering in magnificent finishes of 148 and 124 to move two sets up, leaving Smith floundering.
But Smith, the runner-up three years ago, responded with back-to-back 12-darters and a majestic 167 checkout.
‘Bully Boy’ was throwing a barrage of maximums at the 51-year-old, and he survived a 117 finish and two missed darts for the set from Wright to draw level at 2-2.
Smith landed his 72nd maximum of the tournament – breaking Gary Anderson’s record of 71 back in 2017 – in a tight fifth set which went to a deciding leg, and it was the 51-year-old who eventually cleaned up 25 in two darts to regain the lead.
St Helens thrower Smith restored parity after winning the sixth set 3-1 with a 106 average before taking the lead for the first time with a nifty 93 two-dart combination in a clean sweep of set seven.
World No 2 Wright countered Smith by taking out 72 to rubber-stamp the eighth set 3-1 and make it a level game at 4-4.
Although he started the next with a 103, the Scot squandered six set darts, enabling ‘Bully Boy’ to nail double 13 to move ahead in what was turning into another dramatic encounter at Alexandra Palace.
After being 2-0 in the 10th set, Wright reeled off three legs on the spin to draw level at 5-5 before landing finishes of 96, 80 and 36 for a 112.73 set average to move one set away from glory.
Wright struck with an audacious 81-bull finish before making it eight legs on the bounce with a classy double 9. Although Smith stopped the rot in the next leg, ‘Snakebite’ wrapped up the title with double 16.