Darts results: Peter Wright survives three match darts to beat Michael Smith in Masters final

Peter Wright is the Masters champion (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

World champion Peter Wright survived three match darts from Michael Smith to win a dramatic Masters final in Milton Keynes.

EVENING SESSION

Peter Wright waited 25 years to reach the top of darts but he could now be enjoying just the start of an era of dominance after following up his World Championship heroics with a the most dramatic of 11-10 victories over Michael Smith to win the Ladbrokes Masters for the first time in his career.

After finally fulfilling a lifelong dream to win the biggest title of them all before the age of 50 with just a few months to spare, Snakebite began the new season how he finished the last - but only after surviving three match darts in a deciding leg from a heartbroken Bully Boy, who was seeking his maiden major crown.

While this is not a ranking event, the world number two still pockets a cool £60,000 for his efforts and will now heads into the new Premier League campaign on Thursday regarded as Michael van Gerwen's chief rival for glory.

The 49-year-old became the oldest first-time winner of the PDC World Championship with an emotional triumph over MVG on New Year's Day and despite a month in the media spotlight, he was in top-class form all weekend at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.

After averaging 103.55 against Joe Cullen on Saturday night, he recorded the first ever Masters whitewash in its eight-year history when thrashing Dave Chisnall 10-0 before overcoming World Cup-winning team-mate Gary Anderson 11-7 in the last four with an average of 98.86.

The Scotsman looked in full control against Smith when opening up 5-2 and 8-5 leads only for the fellow first-time Masters finalist to dig deep and make a real fight of it.

The St Helens man, seeking his maiden major televised title having lost his previous four big finals, got the game back on throw when reducing the deficit to 8-7 even though he was only averaging 88 compared to Wright's 96.

Smith then took out a fabulous checkout of 130 to complete a 15-darter when his opponent waited on 80 but was left to rue a dart at tops for a break of throw in the next as Wright edged ahead.

Snakebite would then blow three clear darts at double 16 for a 10-8 lead and the 29-year-old made him pay on tops to restore parity in the tense closing stages of the tournament.

Wright recovered from more missed doubles to hold his nerve for a 10-9 lead but Smith produced a brilliant 11-darter to take the match into a deciding 21st leg.

The crowd sensed a landmark moment for Bully Boy when he responded to Wright's opening visit of 58 with his eighth 180 of the match and then got down to 98 with his opponent way back on 287 before a score of 100 applied a little pressure.

Smith then left himself 40 but he agonisingly missed all three attempts after the Scotsman's brilliant visit of 171 and that would be his last visit to the oche as Wright completed a remarkable victory.

The world champion, who finished with an average of 95.01 compared to Smith's 89.71 and hit two fewer 180s with six, was full of sympathy for the runner-up having tasted 12 defeats in 13 major finals prior to his golden 2020, with three of those coming in deciding legs to van Gerwen.

Wright missed six match darts in the 2017 Premier League final and three in last year's Champions League final so there was perhaps no more suitable player to console Smith at the end of the gripping contest.

He said: "I'm a very lucky player tonight, Michael should've won that. I've been in his position many times before, so I know how he's feeling and it's not nice. But, I'm obviously over the moon to win the first tournament of the year and hopefully there will be many more.

"I think my performance dipped at the end of the day, I started missing too many doubles so I need to cut that out.

"Overall, I'm really happy with how this weekend went and I'd like to thank the amazing crowd for making it another special night for me."

The St Helens thrower, who lost the finals of the 2018 Premier League, 2018 World Series of Darts Finals, 2019 World Championship and 2019 World Matchplay, said: "Peter could've easily buried me earlier in the game but when I gave myself a chance I missed it again.

"I wanted it so much - I think I threw too hard at the doubles for the match, but when they left my hand they felt like they were going in. It's another runner-up trophy to add to my big collection but I'll get over it and tomorrow I'll be back on the board practicing double top.

"It is a positive start to 2020, even though I'm feeling so disappointed right now, but I've got the Premier League and UK Open to look forward to around the corner."

Semi-Finals

Peter Wright is on course for his second major title of 2020 after overcoming Gary Anderson 11-7 to reach his first Masters final in Milton Keynes.

The new world champion came through an entertaining clash with his fellow Scotsman and will now meet Michael Smith for the trophy.

Snakebite averaged 98.86 compared to Anderson's 96.85 and while the pair both fired seven 180s, Wright's consistently higher scoring carved out 26 attempts at doubles as his World Cup-winning partner managed 13.

It could have been a wider margin of victory having moved into a 10-4 lead - just hours after registering the tournament's first ever whitewash over Dave Chisnall - but Anderson's mini comeback gave him something to think about.

Earlier, Smith came through a nervy deciding leg to beat Nathan Aspinall 11-10 and reach the fifth major televised final of his career.

Bully Boy is still seeking his maiden crown having finished runner-up in his previous four at the 2018 Premier League, 2018 World Series of Darts Finals, 2019 World Championship and last year's World Matchplay but now has another opportunity.

Smith will probably need to up his game having averaged 92.48 despite hitting six maximums although he finished pretty clinically, converting 11 of his 24 attempts.

The St Helens thrower, who lost to Aspinall in last season's televised US Darts Masters final, found himself 5-2 down after a slow start but five legs later he was level at 6-6 thanks to 12, 13 and 14 darters as well as sloppy finishing from the UK Open champion.

Aspinall blew six darts for a 7-5 lead and would never find himself in front again, but he did at least show fighting spirit and nerve after falling 7-6 behind to keep holding his throw and take the match to a decider.

AFTERNOON SESSION

Quarter-finals

Gary Anderson ended his losing streak against Gerwyn Price in style to reach the Masters semi-finals as Peter Wright made history.

The Flying Scotsman had lost his last three matches against the Iceman, dating back to 'that' 2018 Grand Slam of Darts final, and found himself as marginal underdog ahead of their latest meeting.

However Anderson laid down a real marker for the tournament's conclusion this evening by averaging 102 in a thumping 10-2 victory in which he only missed six darts at doubles.

Price didn't play too shabbily as far as the averages were concerned, recording a mark of 99.53, while the pair both hit five 180s but he spurned seven of his nine attempts at the outer ring and remarkably lost all the legs in which he threw first.

The two-time Grand Slam of Darts champion broke Anderson's throw twice in the opening five legs with a pair of 12-darts, including a 130 checkout, but after that it was one-way traffic.

The World Cup winner, who failed to win a single individual event in a disappointing 2019, completed a 12-darter of his own in the sixth leg with a 104 finish while an even better 11-darter propelled him 8-2 ahead in a vintage display.

Anderson will next meet fellow countryman Peter Wright after the world champion thrashed Dave Chisnall 10-0 in the tournament's first ever whitewash.

Neither player have got their hands on this prestigious trophy in its eight-year history and tonight's clash will be hard to call.

Snakebite is riding the crest of a wave having become the oldest first-time winner of the PDC World Championship on New Year's Day although he was hardly tested by Chizzy, who averaged just 78.94 compared to Write's 97.6, failed to hit a 180 and missed five darts at doubles.

The St Helens man, playing in only his second match since deciding to wear glasses, put his performance down to getting hardly any sleep.

Earlier, Michael Smith reached the semi-finals for the first time in his career with a 10-6 victory over Adrian Lewis although he'll need to raise his game to see off Nathan Aspinall.

Bully Boy, seeking his first major title and his first of any kind since 2018, averaged a below-par 88.04 but was let off the hook for his 20 missed darts at doubles by an even sloppier finishing display by his opponent.

Lewis was consistently the heavier scorer with an average of 92.47 and four 180s compared to Smith's two, only to squander 17 of his 23 attempts at the outer ring.

Aspinall was not quite at his best either but he was far more clinical on his finishing as he survived a comeback from Jonny Clayton to reach the last four on his tournament debut.

The UK Open and US Masters, who climbed into the world's top 10 after reaching his second successive Ally Pally semi-final in December, was in cruise control against Michael van Gerwen's conqueror when leading 9-5 but he missed four match darts over the next three legs.

Aspinall held his nerve on tops in the next as the Welshman waited for a chance on 116 to force a decider and finished the match with a 95 average and a checkout percentage of 52.63%.

Masters: Tournament results

Friday February 1
Evening Session (7pm)
TV Coverage: ITV 4
First Round (Best of 19 legs)

  • Michael Smith 10-6 Mensur Suljovic
  • Nathan Aspinall 10-4 James Wade
  • Michael van Gerwen 6-10 Jonny Clayton
  • Rob Cross 5-10 Adrian Lewis

CLICK HERE FOR FULL REVIEW AND HIGHLIGHTS

Saturday February 2
Evening Session (7pm)
TV Coverage: ITV 4
First Round (Best of 19 legs)

  • Daryl Gurney 8-10 Dave Chisnall
  • Gary Anderson 10-8 Ian White
  • Peter Wright 10-7 Joe Cullen
  • Gerwyn Price 10-9 Simon Whitlock

CLICK HERE FOR FULL REVIEW AND HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday February 3
Afternoon Session (12.45pm)
TV Coverage: ITV 4
Quarter-Finals (Best of 19 legs)

  • Adrian Lewis 6-10 Michael Smith
  • Jonny Clayton 8-10 Nathan Aspinall
  • Gerwyn Price 2-10 Gary Anderson
  • Peter Wright 10-0 Dave Chisnall

Evening Session (7pm)
Semi-Finals (Best of 21 legs)

  • Nathan Aspinall 10-11 Michael Smith
  • Gary Anderson 7-11 Peter Wright

Final (Best of 21 legs)

  • Michael Smith 10-11 Peter Wright

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