Looking back at the fastest checkouts in world championship finals - The Solihull Observer

Looking back at the fastest checkouts in world championship finals

Solihull Editorial 5th Apr, 2024   0

The world-class players manage to make it look so easy! But anyone who has ever played darts knows it takes years of experience to hit just the right segment on the dartboard you’re aiming at. And once you’re at the top level in this sport, you can accumulate a lot of points with just three darts, which results in some of the fastest checkouts in the game’s history.

We discuss a few of these quick checkouts that had the fans on their feet, cheering their favourite players.

Ricky Evans — 2020

You can’t have a list of the highest checkout stories in darts history without mentioning Ricky Evans. Even his nickname alludes to how impressive his finishes have been over the years, as he’s fondly referred to as Ricky ‘Rapid’ Evans.

One of his best performances which is always worth a mention took place in 2020, when Ricky ‘Rapid’ managed to hit a total of 170 during his final checkout in the PDC World Championship. This was against his opponent McGeeney, and he did it with a T20, another T20 and then a bullseye, showcasing that one of the highest checkout plays is a classy way to finish off a championship.

Something worth noting about Evans is that fast checkouts are quite common in his games, which speaks of his skill. Another time, during the 2021 World Championships, he managed a fast 146.

That time, during a second-round game, he probably realised it was time to step it up, as his opponent at the time, Daryl Gurney, could have taken the leg, but ended up missing a dart. Ricky did not let the opportunity pass by and managed to get treble 19s twice, as well as a double 16. He may have

missed out on a game and championship win that time, but it doesn’t take away from his impressive performances during checkouts.

Michael Smith — 2023

Another fast checkout came at the 2023 World Championship final match when Michael Smith faced Michael Van Gerwen. At first, the two players put each other under immense pressure by both scoring 180. Their strategies differed a little on the second leg, with Van Gerwen getting 177, while Smith took another 180.

But on his third leg Van Gerwen didn’t get his D12 he needed to win, allowing Smith a chance to secure the championship — and Smith did not disappoint! Making it look almost effortless, he got his T20, T19 and D12 to walk away the winner thanks to an impressive nine-dart finish.

Championship finals like these prove how easily things can change for darts players. Just a few years before this, Van Gerwen himself held the title of world championship winner, as he won in 2014, 2017 and 2019. He has managed various fast checkouts, including a 170 in 2006, at the very start of his professional career.

Luke Humphries — 2024

It’s also worth mentioning fast checkouts that are part of games where players are under immense pressure. After all, the ability to hit those small segments so accurately, while the scoreboard shows you’re trailing your opponent, requires some immense mental toughness.

Luke Humphries is the prime example of how in sports, experienced players can manage these tough situations and a look at his general stats confirm this. For example, looking at Premier League data, he often tops the list when it comes to hitting a higher checkout than his opponent, managing to get this right over 60% of the time.

Darts: the importance of an expert checkout

With skilled dart players making it look easy to accumulate 100+ points with just three darts — and even as much as 170 — one can’t but wonder what it must feel like to achieve such a feat. And imagine getting it right while dealing with the pressure of playing in a world championship final!

The sense of satisfaction one sees on these players’ faces may be enough to inspire you to try your own hand at darts.


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