Ross Smith sealed the European Championship last weekend and in doing so became the first champion since 2015 who needed less than 100 darts at double en route to sealing it.
The Kent thrower defeated Michael Smith 11-8 to complete a remarkable comeback on stage after becoming so fed up with darts that he quit the sport in 2017 and never returned.
In order to advance to Sunday’s final day of play, he had defeated Joe Cullen, the winner of the Masters, in the first round, as well as Dimitri Van den Bergh, the winner of two World Series tournaments this year.
In the quarterfinals, he overcame World Champion Peter Wright 8-3, and in the semifinals, he defeated Chris Dobey 11-9 to win the $120,000 top prize.
“I think I’m dreaming,” Smith told ITV4 as he held the trophy tightly on stage.
“It hasn’t sunk in and it probably won’t do for weeks. I’ve never won a Euro Tour, so no words can describe it.”
The 33-year-old from Dover produced a 101.32 average in his first TV final, hitting eight 180s and pinning 50% of his double attempts in an impressive performance.
In a top-notch final, Michael Smith also averaged over 100 and hit eight 180s, but he was never able to overtake an unyielding Ross Smith for the lead.
Ross Smith got things rolling quickly with a 133 checkout in the first leg.
Then, while his nameake was having a difficult time keeping up, he produced a 121 finish on the bull and was never challenged.
Although Michael Smith did tie the score at 3-3, “Bully Boy” couldn’t get any closer than that.
Ross Smith won the seventh leg and kept his St Helens opponent at arms length from that point, averaging 101.32 with a 50 per cent return on the doubles.
Both players hit eight 180s in a high-quality contest.
“I’m going to keep my feet on the ground and probably go to the gym tomorrow,” said the new champion.
“I’ll just keep plugging on and work my way up the Pro Tour rankings and the Order of Merit.”
Michael Smith, the world No 4, produced memorable wins over Josh Rock, Luke Humphries and Dirk van Duijvenbode to reach the final but was once again left wondering what might have been!