Snooker star Mark Allen taking World Championship inspiration from Michael Smith

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Michael Smith inspired Mark Allen with his magical World Championship win (Image: PA)
Michael Smith inspired Mark Allen with his magical World Championship win (Image: PA)

Snooker star Mark Allen was inspired by new darts world champion Michael Smith as he plots to finally conquer the Crucible.

'Bully Boy' hit a sensational nine-dart finish in the greatest leg in darts history as he toppled Michael van Gerwen 7-4 in a world final for the ages at Ally Pally. Underdog Smith realised his darting dream as he downed three-time world champion van Gerwen with a sublime display of relentless scoring and ruthless finishing.

The St Helens man claimed his maiden Sid Waddell trophy in his third showpiece final, sealing a £500,000 cheque and becoming the world number one for the first time.

And Smith's incredible performance has transcended darts, with Northern Irishman Allen directly motivated to replicate his success on the green baize.

“Michael Smith was phenomenal. I sent him a message on Twitter because it was phenomenal to watch and he’s someone I really like,” Allen told The Sportsman.

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"That leg where he and Van Gerwen were both on nine darters was incredible, it’s actually hard to imagine how good that is in top level sport, especially in a world final.

"He just gets on with it, he scores heavy. He got a bad rep for a couple of years about being a nearly man and not hitting the doubles when he needed to.

Snooker star Mark Allen taking World Championship inspiration from Michael SmithSmith was known as the nearly man in darts before his victory at the Grand Slam in November (Getty Images)

"He’s put paid to all of those sorts of questions and I can see him going on to achieve huge things in the sport because he’s hard to stop when he gets going.

"It’s been a long time coming for him because he’s been tipped to be the future of darts for a long time and I think he will be now. He’s gone a bit further than me and won a world title and I’m not quite there yet.

"He’s just got to world number one as well and they’re still goals that I want to achieve."

Smith overcame his demons to end a run of eight major final defeats at the Grand Slam of Darts in November, the catalyst for his magical triumph on Tuesday night.

Snooker star Mark Allen taking World Championship inspiration from Michael SmithAllen wants to replicate Smith's success in snooker (PA)

And world no.5 Allen has also been reaping the rewards of his own hard work at his craft after a dark period behind the scenes that included bankruptcy, a divorce and child maintenance disputes.

Allen has now shed almost six stone in a remarkable body transformation and is the player of the snooker season so far. He defended his home Northern Ireland Open title on October and completing a stunning comeback victory over Ding Junhui to win the UK Championship just a month later.

But a world title still eludes the Antrim potter and a player of his elite stature has an abject World Championship record at the Crucible.

Snooker star Mark Allen taking World Championship inspiration from Michael SmithUK champion Allen wants to learn from Smith's perseverance on the oche (PA)

The 36-year-old is widely considered one of the best players to never lift a world title, but has managed to reach the quarter-finals only once at the iconic Sheffield theatre since 2011.

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And he is hoping to channel Smith's fortitude on the oche as he bids to cement his own legacy as a great in his sport when he returns for his latest Crucible tilt in April.

"If I can take something out of his perseverance, dealing with the setbacks because he’s lost eight finals in a row, then I'll be doing well," Allen added.

"To show the mental strength to come through that and win a major at the start of this season and then win the worlds at the end of it; he’s doing really well. If I can learn from that then I’ll go in the right direction."

Ben Parsons

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