Danny Smith retains Portsmouth Men’s Darts League Individual KO title after seven-leg final drama

Danny Smith retained the Portsmouth Men’s Darts League Individual KO trophy after a roller-coaster final against Justin Hughes.

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 9:23 am
Danny Smith with former world champion Scott Mitchell after the former won the 2018/19 Portsmouth Men's League Individual KO trophy. In a much delayed 2019/20 final, Smith defeated Justin Hughes to retain the silverware. Picture: Keith Woodland

In the much-delayed 2019/20 final, Smith took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven encounter at the Northcote Hotel, Southsea, but then had to win the last two legs after Hughes had battled back to lead.

Smith started the final with scores of 134 and 100 in the first leg and 140 and 100 (game shot) in the second.

Smith then threw a maximum in the third leg, but Hughes - with throws of 140 and 137 - got off the mark.

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Hughes levelled with a 140 and a 92 game shot and took the lead after starting the fifth leg with 100 and 125.

Smith, though, was in no mood to accept defeat - starting the sixth leg with two scores of 140 and a 100 with his fourth visit to the oche.

Smith then held his nerve to win the decider, helped by a 137.

Both Smith and Hughes had cruised through their best-of-five semi-finals by 3-0 margins.

Smith defeated Mike Symes helped by scores of 100 (x 2), 130, 128, 134,140 and 121.

In the second leg, Symes threw 100, 60, 140, 100 and 45 - but still lost as Smith, throwing first, produced a 17-dart leg (a feat he repeated in the third).

Hughes reached the final with a 3-0 victory over Phil King, throwing 123 and 100 in the second leg and 118 and 100 in the third.

In the best-of-three quarter-finals, eventual winner Smith had been forced to come from behind to beat Shane Williams.

Williams (100, 140) won the opening leg but Smith levelled in a second leg where he twice threw 140. Smith produced a 17-dart third leg, including two 100s and a 134, to progress after Williams had opened with 140.

Symes (100, 112 game shot, 140) beat Charlie Hymers (100) 2-0 and King (100 x 3) defeated Lloyd Walker (145) by the same score.

Hughes overcame Dan Jafkins 2-1 helped by scores of 100 (x 3), 105 and 135. Jafkins threw 120 and 100 in the last leg but Hughes checked out on 36.

Symes came from 2-1 down to beat King in the third place play off.

A stunning 14-dart leg from Symes - 100, 125, 100, 136, 40 game shot - gave him the advantage.

But King hit back to lead thanks to 140 and 138 in the third leg.

Symes then stepped up a gear, levelling with a 16-dart leg (81, 41, 85, 100, 180, 14 game shot) and winning with another 14-dart leg (100, 59, 180, 105, 57 game shot).

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