Jeff Smith reached the 2016 Lakeside final with a nail biting 6-5 victory over debutant Richard Veenstra. Canadian Smith showed nerves of steel in the final set to fight off Veenstra, something he did time and time again throughout this classic contest.
The more experienced Smith has taken the lead early on but was pegged back immediately as Veenstra began to find his feet. He threw away several guilt edge chances in the third set as Smith powered through to take regain the lead. Veenstra showed his resilience again by equalising the match for the second time after the set was once again taken to a final set.
The interval was a turning point in Smith’s quarter final against Dennis Harbour, once again this proved to be a pivotal point. He came out firing, taking the fifth set without reply. He could given himself the first two set cushion of the contest but Veenstra relentlessly fought back to leave Smith and his fans in a state of disbelief. This Lakeside debutant would just not go away, retaliating to keep a finger time in the grand final.
The pair exchanged blows once again as either player failed to establish a comfortable advantage. Smith got his nose in front for the fifth time, but as any match of this unbelievable quality should, it went to a deciding set. Favourite Smith, who had never been behind in sets, raced into two leg lead, leaving Veestra clinging on by a thread. But such resilience doesn’t get you to a Lakeside semi final for nothing. With nothing to loose and everything to gain Veenstra resurged one last time in a determined comeback. That was to be the final hurrah as Smith broke and nearly producing a sensational climax to a scintillating match-up. With Sunday’s final place almost secured, Smith hit seven perfect darts for misplaced a treble 16. However he would go on to clear up on double 10, a truly amazing way to end a fabulous contest.