William Borland of Scotland reacts to a nine dart finish during his First Round match against Bradley Brooks of England during the William Hill World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace on December 17, 2021
The PDC World Darts Championship never fails to provide excitement, drama and quality and the 2022 edition of the event was no different.
Records were broken and fans were treated to some epic darting action from the very start right through to the final stages.
In a tournament that saw unlikely upsets, memorable head-to-heat battles and three nine dart finishes it is difficult to narrow down the event to just five fixtures.
Everyone will have different opinions but here is NationalWorld’s top five matches from the 2022 PDC World Darts Championships:
5. Peter Wright v Michael Smith (Final)
Our list starts where the competition ended with the fantastic final that saw Peter “Snakebite” Wright win his second world championship.
This match probably didn’t get the credit it deserved as “nervy” would be a better description than “thrilling”.
The importance of the occasion combined with neither player racing into a lead of more than two sets made for two hours of nail-biting action.
Across the 12 sets there were 41 combined 180s and five 100+ checkouts as Smith and Wright kept each other on their toes only for the Scotsman to claim the title with a final sprint as the match approached a dramatic conclusion.
4. Gary Anderson v Peter Wright (semi-finals)
Wright had to overcome countryman and World Cup winning partner Gary Anderson in the semi-finals and he did it in expert fashion.
The match went the way that many pundits predicted, Wright raced into a 3-0 lead which inevitably proved too much for Anderson to claw back despite a typically class performance from the 51-year old.
The Flying Scotsman did his utmost and managed to pull back to 3-2 and then 4-3 in sets but Wright was able to keep a hold of his lead and secure the 6-4 win.
It provided exactly the quality that was expected as two of the very best went head-to-head and Wright was a deserved winner against a quality opponent who he has now joined as a two time world champion.
3. Gerwyn Price v Kim Huybrechts (Round 3)
An absolute epic encounter saw the reigning champion and tournament favourite taking on an experienced and accomplished opponent in Kim Huybrechts.
Price was the heavy pre-match favourite but the Belgian brought his A-game to face the number one ranked player in the world which made for a fantastic watch.
It was the only match of the tournament to go all the way to not only a deciding set but a sudden death leg as Price won 7-5 to take set seven and win the match 4-3.
There were even words exchanged mid-match between the pair which added another element to the already hugely competitive nature and further increased the atmosphere inside the Palace with the crowd firmly behind Huybrechts.
2. Willie Borland v Bradley Brooks (Round 1)
Early in the tournament and with so many potential heavyweight ties ahead, it can be hard for a Round 1 match to stand out when the draw is made.
It’s safe to say that nobody expected great things when Bradley Brooks, one of the games brightest young prospects, was drawn against the little know William Borland.
The match followed on from an absolute snooze-fest between the legendary Paul Lim and Joe Murnan which would probably top the list of worst matches from this year’s tournament.
For anyone that turned off during or after that game they missed something truly incredible as Borland and Brooks put on an exhibition of world class darts.
There was little to separate the two youngster until the very end when Borland raised the roof at the Alexandra Palace with a nine dart finish to win the deciding set 3-2 and create a moment that he and the fans in attendance will look back on for years to come.
It seemed unlikely even so early in the tournament that such a brilliant encounter could be surpassed, it would take something special to do it and our number one entry was just that.
1. Michael Smith v Jonny Clayton (Round 4)
Any number of superlatives could describe this epic fourth round encounter by two of the world’s top ten players but the most appropriate would simply be “excellent”.
This match was nothing short of an all time great, the kind of match that will be shown on replays of “Darts Gold” for years to come and probably the best that the Alexandra Palace has seen since Michael van Gerwen and Rob Cross played out their incredible semi-final in 2018.
It looked for all the world that it would be headed the same way as Price v Huybrechts (to sudden death) with the two tied at 3-3 in legs and 4-4 in sets.
However, Smith managed to just get his nose in front at the finish line to overcome the in-form Welshman.
Clayton hit 14 180s (a tournament high at that point) and averaged 102.48 which is incredible statistics for a player to rack up and NOT win.
This match was edge of the seat drama with neither player really dropping in quality at any point as they both played to the very top of their game, treating the live crowd and spectators at home to an absolute masterclass.
It was incredibly difficult to narrow such a brilliant tournament down to just five matches and although the following did not make the list they deserve a shout out:
- Peter Wright v Callan Rydz (quarter-final) - The young Geordie was the breakout star of this year’s competition and pushed the eventual winner all the way as he lost 5-4.
- Gerwyn Price v Michael Smith (semi-finals) - The second semi final was another closely fought contest with little to separate the players but was sadly marred by a crowd who showed no respect to the players on the night.
- Gary Anderson v Rob Cross (quarter-final) - Two former world champions provided exactly what was expected, a quality encounter.
- Rob Cross v Daryl Gurney (Round 3) - Gurney pushed Cross all the way but the former champ secured the 4-3 win.
There were plenty other fantastic matches as well in what was a brilliant instalment of the annual darts showcase and here’s hoping that the 2023 event is as exciting if not more so - if that’s even possible!
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our email newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.