Template - Date: Gibraltar Darts Trophy ET5

Smith, who was playing in his first final since the Austrian Darts Open last June, put in a solid display in the final as he claimed the £25,000 title to follow up his trio of previous wins in 2014 and 2015.

The 26-year-old averaged 96.33 and hit 50% of his attempts at double to overcome battling Austrian ace Suljovic at the Victoria Stadium. Smith raced into a 3-0 lead, including a 108 checkout, to take immediate control of the match.

Suljovic then produced a spirited fightback to break the throw of Smith twice and level the match, before holding throw to move in to a 4-3 lead. The Englishman then took out 81 on double 12 to level the contest, and it was the ninth leg that would prove to be decisive.

With Suljovic sat on 56 to hold throw and move within a leg of the title, the 26-year-old produced a breathtaking 132 finish on the bullseye to break the throw and edge 5-4 up. A miss at tops for the title in leg ten from Smith allowed the Austrian a dart at double 15 on a 110 finish to take the encounter to a decider.

Suljovic’s effort, though, was just inside the wire, allowing Smith to step in and seal the victory on double ten and secure the £25,000 top prize. “It’s a great feeling – I’m so chuffed,” said Smith. “I’d forgotten what it felt like to win a tournament and it feels like I’ve just won my very first tournament again.

“This year I’ve made two finals and I thought I was going to blow it again. The 132 to go 5-4 up won me the game, it was absolutely huge. I didn’t fancy the game going five-all because Mensur is amazing ”

Smith had to work hard to book his place in the final, requiring 11th leg deciders in each of his previous four matches in the tournament, starting with Saturday’s narrow defeat of Christian Kist. Sunday’s challenge began with a hard-fought win over Dimitri Van den Bergh, with Smith hitting a key 180 in the deciding leg as a 14-darter sealed his quarter-final spot.

In-form Rob Cross waited in the last eight where once again Smith required a last-leg maximum to give him the chance to take out 81 for a spot in the semi-finals. In-form world number three Peter Wright, a winner of three of the four European Tour events held so far in 2017, was Smith’s semi-final opponent.

Yet again Smith needed a deciding leg, and as with the previous two matches the world number 11 hit a 180 to put himself in control of the final leg before eventually going on to pin double ten for the win. Suljovic’s began Sunday with a 6-3 win over Cristo Reyes to claim a quarter-final spot, finishing six doubles from 11 attempts as mid-range checkouts of 76, 61, 86 and 64 helped seal his victory.

A scrappy 6-3 win over Sweden’s Magnus Caris – appearing in his first European Tour quarter-final – followed, as the number two seed moved in to the semi-finals to face Daryl Gurney. In a tight battle, The Northern Irishman missed four match darts in the deciding leg before Suljovic eventually hit tops to claim a spot in the final.

Wright fell at the semi-final stage in his bid to claim a fourth European Tour title of the year, and he now sets his sights on the Betway Premier League Play-Offs at The O2 in London on Thursday. Gurney’s run to the last four was his best finish on the European Tour so far this year, as he saw off Simon Whitlock and James Wilson on Sunday before losing out to Suljovic.

Cross reached his third European Tour quarter-final of the year as he continues his impressive start to live on the professional circuit, while Johnson and Caris were appearing in the last eight for the first time on the European Tour after battling through from Friday’s first round.

The next PDC European Tour event will be the HappyBet European Darts Matchplay from June 9-11 at the edel-optics.de Arena in Hamburg, Germany. For tickets, visit www.pdc-europe.tv.

2017 Gibraltar Darts Trophy

Schedule of Play

Friday May 12th

First Round

Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time, 12pm-4pm BST)
84.88 Jeffrey de Zwaan 4-6 Alan Tabern 90.35
86.05 Jonny Clayton 6-5 Justin Pipe 87.38
90.61 Richie Corner 4-6 Darren Webster 94.70
79.37 Matthew Dennant 1-6 James Richardson 85.83
79.05 Justin Broton 3-6 Matt Clark 85.05
85.09 Martin Schindler 6-4 Callan Rydz 83.08
85.29 Magnus Caris 6-1 Dyson Parody 82.01
84.15 Paul Nicholson 5-6 Chris Quantock 84.20

Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time, 6pm-10pm BST)
75.74 Mario Robbe 0-6 Rob Cross 84.28
82.54 Rene Eidams 4-6 John Henderson 86.19
87.04 Ritchie Edhouse 3-6 Krzysztof Ratajski 90.79
99.29 Steve Beaton 6-4 Mike De Decker 86.94
89.35 James Wilson 6-1 Dylan Duo 71.63
85.30 Christian Kist 6-4 Ronny Huybrechts 86.58
73.00 Manuel Vilerio 1-6 Darren Johnson 92.89
86.17 Dimitri Van Den Bergh 6-2 Anthony Lopez 76.78

Saturday May 13th

Second Round

Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time, 12pm-4pm BST)
96.66 Cristo Reyes 6-5 James Richardson 90.42
92.01 Daryl Gurney 6-3 Darren Webster 89.56
88.43 Alan Norris 6-5 Matt Clark 89.01
83.53 Benito van de Pas 6-1 Martin Schindler 80.35
94.78 Stephen Bunting 6-4 Chris Quantock 91.06
88.08 Jelle Klaasen 3-6 Magnus Caris 95.59
99.91 Michael Smith 6-5 Christian Kist 92.10
91.94 Joe Cullen 5-6 Rob Cross 93.83

Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time, 6pm-10pm BST)
92.84 Gerwyn Price 3-6 Darren Johnson 94.96
103.94 Mensur Suljovic 6-4 Alan Tabern 98.71
86.46 Dave Chisnall 6-4 Jonny Clayton 91.16
98.20 Peter Wright 6-3 Krzysztof Ratajski 94.47
94.36 James Wade 5-6 Dimitri Van Den Bergh 95.24
93.43 Kim Huybrechts 4-6 James Wilson 89.13
93.85 Ian White 6-3 John Henderson 86.51
102.21 Simon Whitlock 6-1 Steve Beaton 86.32

Sunday May 14th

Third Round

Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time, 12pm-4pm BST)
98.02 Peter Wright 6-0 Stephen Bunting 83.66
90.87 Darren Johnson 6-3 Alan Norris 81.59
98.00 Dimitri Van den Bergh 5-6 Michael Smith 94.32
99.05 Dave Chisnall 2-6 Rob Cross 97.50
93.39 Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Cristo Reyes 89.69
90.00 Benito van de Pas 2-6 Magnus Caris 86.42
94.70 James Wilson 6-3 Ian White 90.93
98.94 Simon Whitlock 4-6 Daryl Gurney 98.08

Quarter Finals

Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time, 6pm-10pm BST)
101.01 Peter Wright 6-5 Darren Johnson 99.33
99.46 Michael Smith 6-5 Rob Cross 99.93
93.11 Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Magnus Caris 89.63
82.83 James Wilson 3-6 Daryl Gurney 85.48

Semi-Finals

92.35 Peter Wright 5-6 Michael Smith 93.84
94.11 Mensur Suljovic 6-5 Daryl Gurney 86.88

Final

96.33 Michael Smith 6-4 Mensur Suljovic 99.00