Ross Smith won the European Championship
Ross Smith won the European Championship

Darts results: Ross Smith wins maiden major at the European Championship with victory over Michael Smith in Dortmund

Ross Smith was a shock winner of the European Championship after inflicting more major final misery on Michael Smith with a thrilling 11-8 victory in Dortmund.

The world of darts has been waiting for Bully Boy to win any of the sport's biggest prizes ever since bursting onto the scene as the 2013 World Youth champion, but despite possessing such immense talent, he's now suffered the heartache of losing all eight of his major finals dating back to his 2018 Premier League defeat to Michael van Gerwen.

But despite being favourite like he was against Danny Noppert in March's UK Open final, there was no sign of struggling with the pressure of getting over the line on this occasion - he simply ran into a player who produced the performance of his life in his first ever major final.

Smudger, who never trailed having opening up leads of led 3-0 and 8-5, averaged 101.32 compared to his namesake's 100.47 and hit half of the 16 180s while he weighed in with four 100+ checkouts and pinned half of his 22 darts at doubles.

"I think I'm dreaming, I have to pinch myself!" said a shocked Smith, whose previous best run at a major tournament was the quarter-finals of the 2019 UK Open. "It hasn't sunk in, it probably won't do for weeks. I've never even won a Euro Tour, never mind a TV tournament.

"I kept telling myself 'just play darts, don't put yourself under any pressure and just throw'. It's a real privilege to play darts on stages like this, in front of crowds like this. I love this game."

Smith had previously seen off Masters champion Joe Cullen in the first round and Dimitri Van den Bergh - the winner of two World Series events this year - to reach Sunday's final day of action.

He sensationally came from 8-3 down to defeat world champion Peter Wright 10-8 in the quarter-finals before holding off Chris Dobey 11-9 in the semi-finals to give himself a shot at the £120,000 top prize.

The winnings lifts him up to a career-high 20th on the PDC Order of Merit, and he also qualifies for next month's Cazoo Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton.

The defeated Smith must now lick his wounds once again but the door to major honours must surely be about to fall off its hinges.

Two of his previous final setbacks came on the World Championship stage against MVG in 2019 and Peter Wright at the start of this year, when he received yet more widespread encouragement that his moment of glory was just around the corner.

Much had been made of his improving mental strength, which helped him overcome Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton in epic matches during his Ally Pally run, but the agonising nature of his aforementioned 11-10 defeat to Noppert in Minehead made people question whether those battle scars are proving to be painful to heal.

But it didn't take him long to bounce back with four more titles - including revenge over Noppert in the Dutch Darts Masters and a second World Series crown at the televised US Darts Masters back in June, where he defeated van Gerwen 8-5 in the final.

The 32-year-old, who defeated rising stars Josh Rock and Luke Humphries with inspired performances this weekend before edging out Dirk van Duijvenbode in the semi-finals, didn't show the slightest sign of complacency against his fellow Englishman and pinned almost 50% of his double attempts.

The St Helens thrower, who was also runner-up at the 2019 World Matchplay and the 2018 World Series of Darts Finals, was in philosophical mood afterwards.

He said: "Every time Ross was on a ton-plus finish he was pinning it, fair play to him - he did what he needed to do to win. My scoring wasn't the best but I wasn't too upset with myself at how I played. It's starting to become annoying [losing TV ranking finals] but I'll get there eventually.

"I've just got to keep going, keep believing and keep doing what I'm doing. Maybe I will win the next one, or the one after that. We'll see."

Michael Smith's Televised PDC finals

European Championship: Tournament results


  • (8) Michael Smith 8-11 Ross Smith


  • (8) Michael Smith 11-7 Dirk van Duijvenbode (13)
  • (31) Chris Dobey 9-11 Ross Smith


  • (1) Luke Humphries 7-10 (8) Michael Smith
  • Dirk van Duijvenbode (13) 10-3 Danny Noppert (12)
  • (31) Chris Dobey 10-7 (7) Dave Chisnall
  • (3) Peter Wright 8-10 (27) Ross Smith


  • (1) Luke Humphries 10-6 Ryan Searle (16)
  • (8) Michael Smith 10-8 Josh Rock (24)
  • (29) James Wade 7-10 Dirk van Duijvenbode (13)
  • (28) Vincent van der Voort 9-10 Danny Noppert (12)
  • (31) Chris Dobey 10-5 Jose de Sousa (15)
  • (7) Dave Chisnall 10-6 Jonny Clayton (10)
  • (3) Peter Wright 10-4 Rowby-John Rodriguez (19)
  • (27) Ross Smith 10-8 Dimitri Van den Bergh (11)


  • (1) Luke Humphries 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski (32)
  • (16) Ryan Searle 6-5 Martin Lukeman (17)
  • (8) Michael Smith 6-4 Karel Sedlacek (25)
  • (9) Nathan Aspinall 5-6 Josh Rock (24)
  • (4) Rob Cross 5-6 James Wade (29)
  • (13) Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Madars Razma (20)
  • (5) Damon Heta 2-6 Vincent van der Voort (28)
  • (12) Danny Noppert 6-3 Andrew Gilding (21)
  • (2) Michael van Gerwen 5-6 Chris Dobey (31)
  • (15) Jose de Sousa 6-1 Martin Schindler (18)
  • (7) Dave Chisnall 6-0 Stephen Bunting (26)
  • (10) Jonny Clayton 6-4 Gabriel Clemens (23)
  • (3) Peter Wright 6-2 Ryan Meikle (30)
  • (14) Gerwyn Price 4-6 Rowby-John Rodriguez (19)
  • (6) Joe Cullen 4-6 Ross Smith (27)
  • (11) Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-2 Daryl Gurney (22)

European Championship Darts: Previous winners

Darts: Related content

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