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Michael Smith's World Championship run ended by Peter Wright
5:10pm Saturday 28th December 2013 in Sport
PETER WRIGHT overcame World Youth Champion Michael Smith with a thrilling 4-3 triumph in the last 16 of the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship.
Smith, who created shockwaves around the darting world with his sensational win over reigning champion Phil Taylor in the second round, came from a set down to lead 2-1 and also movd 3-2 up as he took out a fabulous 136 checkout to win the fifth set.
Wright, though, recovered to win six of the next seven legs to pull through to reach his first World Championship quarter-final, and will now play Wes Newton for a place in the last four.
"It's probably the best performance I've ever produced in a televised game," said the colourful Wright, who ended with a 105.07 average - eclipsing Adrian Lewis' superb 103-plus effort in round two against Vincent van der Voort.
"I'm shattered right now, it was very nerve wracking. Michael was playing amazing and I was just trying to keep with him. I maintained my level and was sharper on my finishing in the last two sets.
"Many people think I'm just a bloke with a flashy haircut and a loud pair of trousers, but I can really play good darts and I've shown that this year."
Both players traded 14-darters at the start of the match, before Wright edged ahead by taking the third leg, after Smith wasted four darts at doubles.
The St Helens ace then won the fourth leg in 13 darts to level, only for Wright to reply in kind with a 13-dart finish of his own to take the first set.
Smith hit finishes of 74 and 118 to take a 2-0 lead in the second set, before Wright hit back to win the next two legs, landing a fantastic 161 checkout to break throw in the third.
The deciding leg saw Smith leave 40 after 12 darts, and he held his nerve with an accurate third dart at double top to level the game, with his opponent waiting on 45 for a two-set lead.
The first two legs of set three were shared, which included a 136 checkout from Wright in the second, before Smith edged ahead with an 84 finish.
Wright levelled with a 15-darter, but Smith held his throw in the decider by converting a 70 finish to edge 2-1 up.
The fourth set fell into a similar pattern of the previous three, as it also went to a deciding leg - and Wright opened with two 140s against the throw before taking out 116 to square the contest.
Wright then won the first leg of the fifth set, before Smith won the next two, taking out a 60 finish in the third after Wright missed two chances at double 12.
The fourth leg proved to be a brilliant one from both players as Smith kicked off with a 180 before Wright hit back-to-back maximums to leave 41, only to see the St Helens youngster take out a fantastic 136 checkout to win the set in brilliant style and lead the game 3-2.
Wright replied to take the first two legs of set six before Smith converted an 88 finish to win the third and keep the set alive.
The number 16 seed, though, won the set with an 82 finish in the next leg, and kept that form up in the final set, as finishes of 95 and 84 saw Wright move a leg away from victory.
Smith hit a tenth 180 as he fought back in leg three, but scores of 140, 140 and 105 from Wright saw him pull clear, and an accurate attempt at double ten sealed a memorable win.
Match Information First Set 0-1 - Wright hits double six to complete a confident 14-dart finish.
1-1 - Smith lands double 12 for a 14-darter of his own.
1-2 - The St Helens wastes four darts at double top to break, allowing Wright to edge ahead on double nine.
2-2 - Smith hits double top to record a fine 13-darter.
2-3 - Wright hits a brillant 165 score to leave 24, which he takes out at the first attempt to edge a high-quality opening set.
Second Set 1-0 - Smith takes out a 74 finish on double top, with his opponent waiting on a two-darter.
2-0 - One missed dart at double 16 proves expensive for Wright, as Smith hits a clinical 118 finish.
2-1 - Wright breaks throw in superb fashion with a 161 checkout.
2-2 - The number 16 seed takes out eight, for a solid 15-dart finish.
3-2 - Smith hits double top thanks to an accurate third dart, with Wright waiting on 45.
Third Set 1-0 - Wright hits a 180 but proceeds to miss three chances to win the leg, allowing Smith to break throw on double top.
1-1 - Wright recovers well from the mistakes of the previous leg with a fantastic 136 checkout.
2-1 - Smith hits a third maximum before taking out an 84 finish on double six.
2-2 - Wright starts leg with a 180, before landing double four with his third dart.
3-2 - Wright hits a 134 to leave 32, but the St Helens youngster shows great composure to convert a 70 finish on double eight for the set.
Fourth Set 1-0 - Smith holds throw thanks to an accurate third dart at double five.
1-1 - Wright lands double 16, to record an excellent 14-darter.
2-1 - Smith posts a fourth 180 before taking out an 87 finish on double nine.
2-2 - Wright hits double 16 to force a deciding leg for the fourth set running.
2-3 - Smith holds advantage of throw but Wright kicks-off the leg with two 140 scores to take command. Smith leaves 62 after 12 darts, but Wright takes out a 116 finish to level.
Fifth Set 0-1 - Wright holds throw on double four to edge ahead.
1-1 - Smith wastes three chances to level, only for Wright to miss two darts of his own at doubles, allowing his opponent to hit double ten and draw level.
2-1 - Smith hits back-to-back 180s and takes out 60 in two darts, after Wright misses two darts at double 12.
3-1 - The St Helens ace hits a 180 but that effort is bettered by Wright as he lands two of his own to leave 41 - but Smith produces a brilliant 136 checkout to stun his opponent and claim the set.
Sixth Set 0-1 - The brilliance of the previous leg eludes both players as Wright misses four darts at doubles, only for Smith to fail with five chances in allowing his opponent back in to take the leg on double two.
0-2 - Wright holds throw on double 16 to take command of the set.
1-2 - Smith hits double 14 to convert an 88 finish.
1-3 - Smith posts a 180 but Wright wraps up the set in style with a clinical two-dart 82 finish.
Seventh Set 0-1 - Wright hits double 16 to convert a 95 finish.
0-2 - One missed dart at tops for a 116 finish is costly for Smith, as Wright takes out 84 in two darts.
0-3 - Smith hits a tenth 180 but scores of 140, 140, 105 see Wright pull ahead, and though he misses one dart at tops for a 116 finish he has enough cushion to return and hit double ten.