If the UK Open is comparable to the FA Cup, then Danny Noppert’s win this past weekend is even bigger than Portsmouth’s unlikely victory in 2008.
The Dutchman enjoyed a favourable run to the final in Minehead and needed all 21 legs to best ever-the-bridesmaid Michael Smith in a thrilling final.
Noppert is now in the world’s top 16 and Michael Smith is up to fourth, but “Bully Boy” is now the only player inside the top 12 without a notable title to his name.
Danny Noppert wins last-leg thriller
Wins over Ryan Meikle, Devon Peterson, Dirk van Duijvenbode, Damon Heta, William O’Connor and Michael Smith saw Danny Noppert claim his maiden major PDC title this past weekend.
The Dutchman was solid if not spectacular over the Butlins weekend and benefitted from favourable draws, not facing a top ten player until the final.
Noppert looked a little out of his depth in the final but after a slow start was able to punish Michael Smith’s poor finishing and weak scoring.
Noppert is now up seven spots to 12th in the world following his weekend win and the 31-year-old will be eyeing up deep runs in the rest of 2022’s majors.
Seventh time unlucky for Michael Smith
After defeat in six previous major finals, it was a case of deja vu at the UK Open as Michael Smith fell at the final hurdle yet again.
“Bully Boy” looked disconsolate on the stage after losing a last-leg decider to a player who is ranked well below him.
Smith should take positives from his recent form – reaching the finals of the World Championship and UK Open already in 2022 – but he’s reluctant to be known as one of the nearly men on the darts tour following in the footsteps of Terry Jenkins and Dave Chisnall.
The St. Helens man will be looking to get straight back on the horse this Thursday as the Premier League returns to Brighton.
Michael Smith’s Finals Record:
– 2018 Premier League: LOST 4-11 v Michael van Gerwen
– 2018 World Series of Darts Finals: LOST 10-11 v James Wade
– 2019 World Championship: LOST 3-7 v Michael van Gerwen
– 2019 World Matchplay: LOST 13-18 v Rob Cross
– 2020 Masters: LOST 10-11 v Peter Wright
– 2022 World Championship: LOST 5-7 v Peter Wright
– 2022 UK Open: LOST 10-11 v Danny Noppert
Peter Wright is new world number one
Following a 6th Round run at the UK Open and Gerwyn Price falling at the quarter-finals, Peter “Snakebite” Wright is now the world number one.
The Scot tops the standings for the first time in his career as he continues to add to his trophy cabinet on the PDC Tour.
“Snakebite” is the reining two-time world champion and also has wins at the World Matchplay, UK Open, European Championships, Masters and Players Championship Finals, with the Grand Prix, Grand Slam and Premier League the only three notable trophies he is yet to claim.
Wright currently tops the standings in this season’s Premier League and has accrued €1,190,250 in prize money over the last two years.
Premier League’s new format a success
There were a few eyebrows raised following this season’s Premier League darts revamp, but four weeks in it’s safe to say that the format has been a huge success.
The seven-match quarter-final, semi-final, final format enables an outright winner each week and also means that every match means something rather than previous seasons of dead-rubbers.
The eight players involved this season are all capable of winning weeks and the guaranteed competitive nature has breathed new life into the weekly competition.