Darts: Kiwi Mark McGrath overcomes injured opponent at world championship

New Zealand's Mark McGrath.
New Zealand's Mark McGrath. Photo credit: BDO Darts

New Zealand's Mark McGrath is through to the last 32 at the British Darts Organisation (BDO) world championship, after beating Adam Smith-Neale 3-0 in his preliminary qualifier in unusual circumstances.

Smith-Neale was the talk of darts at Lakeside in England on Monday (NZ time), when he played his match with crutches and in a moon boot.

The 25-year-old only just made it to the event, after breaking his right leg in three places, while in Italy in November.

He underwent a successful operation, wherehe had 20 pins and five plates put into his leg, and was only able to put weight on his leg in the last 10 days.

Smith-Neale vowed to make his debut championship, saying: "I'll make Lakeside if it kills me."

While you don't throw darts with your legs, they're an important part in your throwing stance to keep balanced as you throw.

As Smith-Neale is a right-hand thrower, he was putting his body weight on his broken leg, which hindered his performance.

Smith-Neale struggled in the match with a 66 average, compared to McGrath's 81.

McGrath, who lives in Palmerston North, won all three sets 3-0 and admitted after the match that it was tough seeing his opponent struggle on stage.

"It was difficult to play Adam and a lot of hard work," he told the BDO's website.

"Everything before the game was difficult as well. You can see him hobbling up the stairs and you know he’s in a lot of pain, so mentally to prepare for the game and play the darts you want to was very hard”.

McGrath famously beat PDC world championship finalist Michael Smith at the New Zealand Darts Masters last year in the first round.

He will now face two-time defending champion Glen Durrant in the last 32.

The BDO was the original ruling body in darts, before players formed the World Darts Council, which later became the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), as they wanted more tournaments to be staged to help grow the game.

Most of the current stars in the PDC started their careers in the BDO, including Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's Cody Harris missed out on a PDC tour card, after four days at the European Qualifying school in Germany.

Harris finished 64th out of more than 250 competitors in the event, but tour cards were only awarded to the daily winners, while more will be awarded based on the order-of-merit standings after the UK qualifying school.

The 33-year-old will likely contest the PDC Challenge Tour again in 2019, where he competed last year.