Tensions were boiling at the Premier League Darts when Michael Smith demolished Peter Wright en route to his second event victory of the season.
The reigning darts world champion injected new life into his Premier League title quest after beating Gerwyn Price 6-4 in the final on Night 13 on Thursday. 'Bully Boy' looked back to his best at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, where a maximum points haul took him up to third in the standings.
But it wasn't all smiles for the 32-year-old, who was asked about Wright's reluctance to shake his hand immediately after their semi-final was settled 6-2. 'Snakebite' registered the lowest average of the evening in that loss at a little more than 80, and he made his feelings of discontent clear for all to see.
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Despite being the oldest player in this year's Premier League, the 53-year-old wasn't exactly a bastion of maturity as he offered his foe a limp hand in defeat. And Smith couldn't help but agree the incident "was a bit weird" when he was quizzed after the result.
"I even asked when I went back upstairs why did he slap my hand," Smith told reporters following his win over Price. "I didn't do nothing [wrong], didn't open my mouth, didn't say nothing.
"After the first game he [Wright] was moaning about the wind, and maybe again in the second, he was snatching a lot. And I was watching him throw – he didn't look like Peter Wright.
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"Maybe he was annoyed with himself, but he took it out on me. So that's his problem, I guess. I just had to get on with my own job, and I think I did it well."
And it appears the fans would be inclined to agree as Wright caught plenty of flak for his petulance following the result. The Scot was dubbed 'pathetic' and 'a bad loser' on social media, while one critic railed: "Acting like a baby again. Unprofessional. Take a leaf out of [Michael van Gerwen's] book. Class all the way in defeat."
Wright was likely showing his frustration in the knowledge a one-sided defeat would leave him rooted to the base of the Premier League standings. One of only two players in the competition still yet to win an event this season (with Dimitri van der Bergh), Snakebite is destined to miss out on the play-off push in 2023.
Smith, meanwhile, looks poised to reach the O2 in London for just the second time in six Premier League appearances. Bully Boy finished as a wide runner-up to Van Gerwen in the 2018 decider but could all but wrap up a place in the post-season with a second straight win at Manchester's AO Arena next Friday (May 4).
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