Darts player slammed for 'disgusting' act of 'cheating'

Sam Goodwin

A British darts player has been slammed for a 'disgusting' and 'deliberate' act of sabotage that helped him win his match at the World Championships.

As you can see in the video above, Justin Pipe was staring down the barrel of defeat against New Zealander Bernie Smith on Thursday when he resorted to one of the lowest acts of unsportsmanlike behaviour you're ever likely to see.

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With Smith leading the match 2-1 and throwing for victory in the third set, TV cameras caught Pipe coughing loudly in the background, in an apparent attempt to throw his opponent off.

Whether or not the tactic was intentional remains to be seen, but Smith missed his shot at victory and Pipe went on to win the set, before completing his comeback with a 3-2 victory.

Was this deliberate? Image: Sky Sports

Pipe advanced to a second-round match-up with darts legend Phil Taylor, but Sky Sports commentator Wayne Mardle slammed Pipe and called for an investigation by the Darts Regulatory Authority.

“It didn't look good, did it? Every time I see it I think, 'How desperate are you?' It looks absolutely despicable behaviour by a professional darts player," Mardle raged.

“As we saw on the second VT (video tape), Bernie Smith is there and Justin Pipe moves in to get closer... then he lets out the cough.

“I have been around darts so long and this sort of thing has been going on for years, where someone tries to talk somebody out of the game – but that has gone, what the likes of Peter Manley used to do.

Deliberate or innocent? Image: Sky Sports

“What was allowed on a football pitch in the 1970s is not allowed now and it's exactly the same up there (in darts) now.

“If Justin Pipe needed to cough, he made no effort to turn away. That was a tactic for advantage, that was a tactic to make Bernie Smith miss.

“He got his way – whether Bernie heard it or not is absolutely irrelevant. The intent is there and the DRA (Darts Regulatory Authority) have to do something.

“If Phil Taylor did that, it would be reported on the back page of every newspaper. That was disgusting.”

Pipe in action against Smith. Image: Getty

Fellow commentator and three-time world champion John Part agreed.

“The point is that when you feel the need to cough, you go for the water. There was no effort to go for the water there," he said.

“Bernie kind of paused. He might have heard it. If he did, he was very diplomatic.”

Pipe later issued a statement through the Professional Darts Corporation denying any gamesmanship.

"I'm bitterly disappointed with the comments made on Sky Sports and it's not nice for me and my family to hear," he said.

Smith didn't make a fuss after the incident. Image: Getty

“I would never do something to put another player off and Bernie didn't say anything to me on the night. As far as I'm aware there is no issue from his side and this has been blown out of all proportion.

“My focus is on preparing for my game against Phil. It is an honour to be playing him in his final tournament and I just want to concentrate on that match.”

Meanwhile, Australia's Simon Whitlock booked his place in the second round at the expense of Martin Schindler, but not before a comical sequence of events.

Commentators were left in hysterics as both players struggled to hit a double to win the third set, with a whopping 22 attempts between them before Schindler finally won it with a double 1.

It certainly has been an eventful week in UK 'pub sports'.

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