Lakeside 2016 : Mens Championship Match Reports - Final
Scott Waites 7-1 Jeff Smith
Scott Waites secured his second World Championship title with an emphatic 7-1 victory over Jeff Smith at the Lakeside on Sunday evening. 

Waites, who also secured his maiden World title with a 7-1 victory over Tony O’Shea in 2013, replicated such heroics in defeating the valiant Canadian at a packed house at Frimley Green.

Both men made a strong start to the contest, but it was Waites who secured an early lead, taking out 72 for a 15-dart hold, after posting D20. However, Smith delivered an instant riposte, completing a two-dart 62 kill on D16 to draw level.

‘The Silencer’ capitalised on an indifferent leg from Waites to secure a precious break of throw, pinning D10 for a 17-dart leg. Yet, the Canadian was unable to close out the set, despite posting his first maximum.

Waites posted a tremendous visit of 177 to leave 24 after 12 darts, and after Smith was unable to take out 120 to clinch the set, Scott returned to pin D12 for a 13-dart leg to wrestle back the advantage. The Yorkshireman made no mistake in the fifth and decisive leg, posting D20 for a 13-darter, to seal the opening set.

Waites’ finishing was imperious in the opening set; he didn’t miss a double. Nevertheless, he squandered a wonderful opportunity to break Smith’s throw in the opening leg of the second set. 

The 2013 Champion missed six darts at D20, D10 and D5 respectively, enabling Smith to hold throw on D8 in 23-darts. However, Waites rectified matters moments later, holding throw via D2.

Jeff had started the contest strongly, but his scoring power was beginning to diminish, and ‘Scotty-2-Hotty’ capitalised in the third leg; converting a majestic 102 finish (S20, Bull, D16) for an accomplished 15-darter and a crucial break. 

Scott had the throw to establish a two-set cushion, and he made the perfect start, by posting his first maximum to kick off the leg. Jeff’s scoring struggles continued, and Waites pinned D18 for a 17-darter to double his lead.

Waites maintained his dominance in the opening stages of the third set. The ninth seed recorded his second 180, but Smith responded with a magnificent 171. Yet, the unseeded 40-year-old wasn’t afforded an opportunity at double. Waites took out 95 in effortless fashion (Bull, S13, D16) to confidently hold throw.

Despite this, Smith is a tenacious campaigner who doesn’t tend to panic under pressure. As Waites threatened another break, Smith produced a fine ton-plus checkout of his own, converting a clinical 102 finish on D18 to draw level in set three.

This finish appeared to galvanise the New Brunswick star, to produce a strong scoring leg to pressure the Waites throw. Jeff left 136 after 9 darts, but he was again denied by the clinical Yorkshireman, who took out a 65 finish culminating on D20, for a 14-darter. 

Scott wired the bullseye for a 126 checkout which would have clinched the set, but he returned to nail D8 for a commanding 3-0 lead at the first interval. 

Waites re-emerged from the interval in a rather lacklustre manner, and Jeff enjoyed a rare comfortable hold, hitting D10 for an 18-dart leg, with Waites yet to have left a finish. 

The second-leg was evenly contested. Scott missed D18 for a 115 checkout, whereas Smith also missed D18, for a 104 checkout. However, Waites didn’t spurn another opportunity, pinning D9 with his last-dart in hand to restore parity in the set.

Smith was handed a major reprieve in the third leg, as Waites squandered three darts at double to break, but the former Champion forced a fifth and decisive leg by virtue of a clinical 13-darter, culminating on D12.

‘The Silencer’, who had been subdued for the vast majority, seemed poised to register his first set of the final, before Waites posted a timely maximum to set up 43 after 12 darts. Smith was unable to conjure up an inspired 144 checkout, and Scott hit D8 with his last dart in hand, to establish a 4-0 advantage.

This was a crushing blow for the Canadian, but he bounced back admirably to break Waites in the opening stages of the fifth set. Jeff wired D20 for a 118 checkout, but Scott missed three clear darts at D20, affording Smith another opportunity at D20, which he didn’t pass up on this occasion.

Nevertheless, Smith was unable to sustain any momentum, and after Waites wired D11 for a majestic 142 checkout, Jeff spurned three clear darts for a 2-0 lead in the set. Waites gratefully pounced upon his opponent’s profligacy, before holding throw emphatically in the third leg; following up a fantastic visit of 159 by nailing D16 with his first dart.

Jeff held throw comprehensively in the fourth leg, pinning D8 for a 17-dart leg, but he was still searching for his elusive first set. ‘The Silencer’ produced a mediocre leg, leaving 100 after 15 darts, and Waites hit D18 with his last-dart, as Smith’s search for his elusive opening set continued.

However, Smith finally opened his account by virtue of winning the sixth set without reply. He posted D20 for a solid 16-darter in the opening leg, before punishing a poor leg from Waites to break throw on D2. 

The requisite trebles evaded Jeff at a crucial stage and the 38-year-old Yorkshireman appeared poised to break straight back. However, Smith opened his account in magnificent style, producing a stunning 161 checkout (T18, T19, Bull) to reduce the arrears to 5-1 and send the Lakeside crowd into raptures heading into the second intermission.

Smith’s mini-surge continued after the break. He broke throw with a fine 15-darter via D8, before extending his lead with another 15-darter, courtesy of a classy 76 checkout, culminating on D20. However, the Canadian surrendered his advantage with a sequence of pedestrian legs, which included missing four set darts in the third leg.

Waites capitalised on this reprieve, and in the fifth and decisive leg of the set he produced a tremendous leg of darts, recording successive visits of 140, 140 and 121 to leave 100 after 9 darts, before ‘Scotty-2-Hotty’ eventually sealed the set on D20 in 14-darts.

Smith endured double-trouble in the opening stages of the eighth set, but at the seventh time of asking, he converted D6 to hold throw. The second leg followed a similar pattern, with both men spurning chances, although D6 was again hit, this time by Waites.

Smith was still battling valiantly, and moved to the cusp of claiming his second set, by posting D9 for an emphatic hold. Jeff posted his sixth maximum of the encounter to set up 49 after 12 darts, but he wasn’t afforded an opportunity. Waites produced a quite magnificent 156 checkout to hold throw and force a fifth and decisive leg in the set.

Smith had the throw to reduce the deficit to 6-2, but Waites recorded his fifth maximum to seize the initiative. He also recorded a fine visit of 145 to leave 41 after 12 darts, with Smith well adrift. Scott made no mistake, pinning D16 with his first-match dart, for a fabulous 14-darter and the Lakeside title.

It was an extremely professional performance from Waites. He wasn’t at his vintage best, but he illustrated his class by producing some of his best darts in the critical stages of the contest. That’s the hallmark of a champion.

He now joins a coveted list consisting of the likes of Raymond van Barneveld, Martin Adams and Ted Hankey, in players who have won multiple World Championship titles, which is an incredible feat.

However, Jeff Smith also deserves immense credit. In his two Lakeside appearances, he has reached the semi-finals and the final, which is a remarkable record, especially given the fact that Smith has been unseeded on both occasions.

He has delivered some astounding displays over the last week, and this evening’s score-line perhaps wasn’t a fair reflection of how competitive Jeff was. In terms of total legs, Waites triumphed by a score-line of 21-15, which isn’t nearly as comprehensive as the 7-1 sets result may indicate.

The Canadian has now guaranteed his spot in next year’s World Championships, where he’ll be hoping it will be third-time lucky.
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