History was made on the Alexandra Palace stage on Tuesday night as Michael Smith hit a nine-darter on his way to a 7-4 defeat of Michael van Gerwen in the PDC World Darts Championship final.
It was a first victory in the decider at the third time of asking for the Englishman after he lost the 2019 and 2022 deciders.
However, even the seemingly indispensable van Gerwen could not handle Smith’s high-scoring and clinical finishing as he claimed four of the last five sets to deservedly take the title and a £500,000 pay-day.
The game was lit up in the second set in what has been described as the greatest leg the sport has ever seen.
With both players lying on potential checkouts after their first two turns, a first perfect leg of the tournament was on the cards for an expectant Alexandra Palace crowd.
Van Gerwen was up first as he came agonisingly close to taking out 144, but his attempt at double 12 missed by the width of the wire.
Smith then stepped up to the oche and did what his opponent could not as he followed up another treble 20 with a treble 19 and a brilliant double 12.
Cue wild scenes in the North London venue as the thousands packed inside the famous arena rejoiced at the closest thing to perfection ever witnessed in a darts game.
Smith levelled by winning the set, and the pair exchanged the next next four sets to leave an enthralling and high-quality affair finely poised.
Van Gerwen could not kick on from there, however, as he faced a relentless barrage of trebles and excellent combination finishing.
‘The Bully Boy’ reeled off three consecutive sets to stand on the edge of glory, but van Gerwen showed his true character in the face of adversity by refusing to accept defeat as he struck back to go into the final break 6-4 behind.
The St Helens man responded in the next set though, and celebrated wildly with his family after he took out double 8 to win the biggest prize of them all and his second TV major of the year.
For van Gerwen, the wait for a fourth world title continues with his last victory coming in 2019 against Smith.
While there is a busy schedule in the coming weeks, all eyes will quickly turn to the Premier League which begins on February 2nd in Belfast.