First he kissed one of the two writers on the bald head, then his dart, which was still in the double 8, got a smack. “I think I’m dreaming,” said Ross Smith after the biggest win of his career: “It’s absolutely incredible. It will take me weeks to process this. I haven’t even won a tournament on the European Tour.”
But now the European Darts Championships, the final tournament of the European Tour, declared as the European Darts Championship. The 33-year-old Englishman surprisingly defeated Michael Smith 11:8 in the Dortmund final. It was a first-ever major tournament final for the winner, a stark contrast to Ross Smith’s compatriot and namesake.
Michael Smith remains the unfinished one on the Professional Darts Corporation tour with his eighth major final game loss. Right at the beginning of the year he was defeated by Peter Wright in the World Cup final, at the UK Open he was behind Danny Noppert and now also against outsider Ross Smith
“I just have to keep going, just keep believing in it, and then maybe next time or the one after that it will work out. We’ll see,” said a disappointed “Bully Boy” after the final punchline. “The match dart will not be the easiest for Michael Smith,” predicted Florian Hempel as an expert on the DAZN microphone. But it didn’t even come to that.
Thanks to a sovereign game in scoring and checking, Ross Smith had worked out a lead of two breaks, but then missed a dart to make it 9:5 and had to be content with an 8:7 at the last break. The situation before the last interval was clear: The “Bully Boy” would need at least one more break. Ross got through his first serve confidently, and even at a score of 9:8 he kept the lead thanks to a missed break dart on the double 20.
Michael Smith had a chance to equalize with 112 points left but missed on double top. “I played well and I can’t really blame myself for anything. Maybe that I didn’t do that 112,” he later said. Thus his opponent deleted 25 points to make it 10:8 and converted his third match dart on double eight against the throw.
It was the final shot of a weekend that he himself had not thought possible, culminating in its absurdity in the quarter-final match against Wright, who was already leading 8-3 against Ross Smith, seven legs later than the 8-10 loser against the number 27 standing by the world.
As of Monday, the £120,000 richer ‘Smudger’ will be ranked 20th in the Order of Merit while Wright loses his top spot. A win against Smith would have left him No. 1 in the world rankings. But this is how Gerwyn Price returns to the throne after three weeks.
Dirk van Duijvenbode (NED) – Madars Razma (LAT) 6:3
Ryan Searle (ENG) – Martin Lukeman (ENG) 6:5
Danny Noppert (NED) – Andrew Gilding (ENG) 6:3
Rob Cross (ENG) – James Wade (ENG) 5:6
Luke Humphries (ENG) – Krzysztof Ratajski (POL) 6:4
Nathan Aspinall (ENG) – Josh Rock (NIR) 5:6
Michael Smith (ENG) – Karel Sedlacek (CZE) 6:4
Damon Heta (AUS) – Vincent van der Voort (NED) 2:6
Dave Chisnall (ENG) – Stephen Bunting (ENG) 6:0
Dimitri van den Bergh (BEL) – Daryl Gurney (NIL) 6:2
Joe Cullen (ENG) – Ross Smith (ENG) 4:6
José de Sousa (POR) – Martin Schindler (D) 6:1
Peter Wright (SCO) – Ryan Meikle (ENG) 6:2
Gerwyn Price (WAL) – Rowby-John Rodriguez (AUT) 4:6
Michael van Gerwen (NED) – Chris Dobey (ENG) 5:6
Jonny Clayton (WAL) – Gabriel Clemens (D) 6:4
Danny Noppert (NED) – Vincent van der Voort (NED) 10:9
James Wade (ENG) – Dirk van Duijvenbode (NED) 7:10
Luke Humphries (ENG) – Ryan Searle (ENG) 10:6
Michael Smith (ENG) – Josh Rock (NIR) 10:8
Dave Chisnall (ENG) – Jonny Clayton (WAL) 10:6
Dimitri van den Bergh (BEL) – Ross Smith (ENG) 8:10
José de Sousa (POR) – Chris Dobey (ENG) 5:10
Peter Wright (SCO) – Rowby-John Rodriguez (AUT) 10:4
Danny Noppert (NED) – Dirk van Duijvenbode (NED) 3:10
Luke Humphries (ENG) – Michael Smith (ENG) 7:10
Dave Chisnall (ENG) – Chris Dobey (ENG) 7:10
Peter Wright (SCO) – Ross Smith (ENG) 8:10
Michael Smith (ENG) – Dirk van Duijvenbode (NED) 11:7
Chris Dobey (ENG) – Ross Smith (ENG) 9:11
Michael Smith (ENG) – Ross Smith (ENG) 8:11