Anderson wins nerve-racking semifinal via Smith extension


The first semifinal of the ‘corona edition’ of the World Matchplay was a poster to die for with the duel between Gary Anderson and Michael Smith. Two natural talents and close acquaintances, since The Flying Scotsman mentored Bullyboy a few years ago, swords crossed and the ‘tutor’ was the one who started the game the strongest. Anderson placed the first break and was able to add an extra ‘stolen’ leg just before the second break.

With that 7-3 lead in his pocket, the Scot switched back. That was the sign for Smith to turn right: he took four legs in a row and narrowed the gap to one leg. At that moment, the game that was hoped for in advance unfolded. An 127 finish by Anderson was followed by a great leg with high scores from The Bullyboy, where ‘Ando’ went one step further and this time brushed 128 off the board. That was a good time, as he packed another leg against the darts and led the Scots 11-9.

Nervous closing phase

That finish had the potential to be the decision in the race, especially when Anderson expanded his margin to 14-9 and the final was really within reach. At that point, however, the Scottish engine stalled and Smith was able to return again. In fact, after six consecutive legs, Bullyboy took the lead for the first time in the game (15-14) and needed only two legs to win. However, the Englishman did not reach the match point and that was due to a firm final sprint from Anderson. He woke up just in time and knocked Smith ‘on the line’: 18-16.

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