Michael Smith into the final after absolute thriller against Nathan Aspinall 11 months ago

Michael Smith into the final after absolute thriller against Nathan Aspinall

What a game of darts.

Michael Smith is the first man through to the 2019 World Darts Championship final after a truly thrilling encounter with Nathan Aspinall in which both men through the darts of their lives.

Smith began like a house on fire and his explosive beginning made Nathan Aspinall look like a rabbit caught in headlights in the opening stages of this World Darts Championship semi-final in Alexander Palace, London.

But then the rabbit took off and left the headlights for dead.

Trailing by two sets and staring at an uphill battle, the Asp, who was priced at 750/1 to win the whole thing out less than two weeks ago, settled into a rhythm and began to do what he's been doing this tournament long.

The fresh faced Stockport native began reeling off 180s like it was as easy as topping an egg and he gobbled up any doubles that came his way like a hungover mouth would a fried one.

Two sets apiece. Half an hour of scintillating darts. Game absolutely on.

And then like two heavyweights slogging it out in a 12 round slug-fest, the Englishmen went dart for dart, 180 for 180, double for double.

Aspinall, a qualified accountant, took the lead in the fifth set, breaking Bully boy's throw in the first leg of it, but Smith fired straight back.

He didn't let Aspinall get comfortable there, broke back and went onto win the third set, closing it out with a clinker of a 93.

Aspinall kept piling on the pressure but Smith was ready for it and he was well able for it. One of the smoothest throwers in the game, he kept on hitting the high scores and by the end of the game he had thrown a record seventeen 180s (breaking MVG's sixteen) for a World Darts Championship semi-final.

He went onto win a cracking game by six sets to three and he's now waiting for either Gary Anderson or Michael Van Gerwen in the final.

What was very noticeable afterwards and indeed all the way through the game, however, was the respect between both the players. Aspinall looked relaxed throughout and he constantly congratulated his opponent on some exceptional throwing. Afterwards they embraced and congratulated each other.

That's dignity, it's respect.

The stats from the game were something otherworldly.