"I must have done something terrible in a past life" - Michael Smith reflects on heart-breaking loss
When it came to the crunch, Peter Wright found his doubles and 'Bully Boy' faltered.
As you watched Michael Smith turn away from the Alexandra Palace crowd and hide his face in his top, crying freely, you wished someone would have compassion and let 31-year-old leave the stage for a few moments.
Covid has hit the 2021/22 PDC World Darts Championship in a number of negative ways. On Sunday night at 'Ally Pally', you wished the organisers would have allowed even one friend or family member to get up and comfort Smith. Or if he had been allowed to take his leave to gather his thoughts.
But, no. The organisers and Sky Sports were keen to wrap the interviews and tie an official bow on a topsy-turvy tournament. And so we were left with the sight of a bawling Smith and champion Peter Wright breaking down as he saw his beaten foe clearly suffering.
"It's doing my head in now," admits Michael Smith
Having beaten some big names - Gerwyn Price, Johnny Clayton and James Wade - on his way to the final, Smith looked primed to clinch his first world championship [and first major] as he went 5-4 ahead and two legs clear of the Scot.
From then on, however, he lost nine of the next 10 legs to lose the match 7-5. Wright's three-dart average soared from 93 to 111 over those final three sets and he made double with his first dart on seven of the nine legs he won.
Put simply, Wright produced clutch darts when he needed it most. Smith could not respond when his opponent upped the ante and he was crestfallen in his post-game interview.
"I must have done something terrible in a past life, as it's doing my head in now. I’ll have a bad night tonight but I’ll definitely be back on that board and getting ready for the next one."
Peter Wright's advice for beaten Michael Smith
Far from euphoric, and more like relieved, after his second world championship triumph, Peter Wright focused a lot of his interview on Smith, and how he eventually can go on to dominate world darts.
"I just feel so bad because I know that, as soon as he gets a major, he will just trounce everybody," the Scot declared.
There was one line from Wright - meant in jest - that saw Smith place a hand over his face. He knew, as soon as Wright said it, that there was no denying it.
"And this man, he let me in today. I shouldn't have had the first set.
"And [turning to Smith] you missed... go practice your doubles, man!
"Nah, I don't mean it. I just love him to bits."
"𝐈𝐭'𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐦𝐞, 𝐢𝐭'𝐬 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐮𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐝𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐬..."
🤝 Great respect between Peter Wright and Michael Smith after an exceptional final.
📱 Live blog: https://t.co/xq5ktH7xdb
#️⃣ #LoveTheDarts pic.twitter.com/Z8DnV9ZiRM
— Sky Sports Darts (@SkySportsDarts) January 3, 2022
This was the second world championship final that Smith has lost, after coming up short against Michael van Gerwen in 2019. He has now reached the final of six majors and lost them all.
The Englishman will hope Wright's comments are true, and that he can rack up a few big wins once he gets over the hump.