22 Dec 2017

'Coughgate' not an issue says NZ darts player

11:53 am on 22 December 2017

England's Justin Pipe edged through to the second round of the PDC world darts champs, but did he intentionally distract his opponent New Zealander Bernie Smith when facing a shock exit?

The 27th seed threw away a two-set lead against Bernie Smith before prevailing in a final-set decider, winning three consecutive legs to book a last-32 tie against Phil Taylor.

Pipe dropped just one leg against the New Zealander on his way to winning the first two sets, only for Smith to win the next two and move 2-1 up in the final set.

Bernie Smith and Jason Pipe salute the crowd after their match.

Bernie Smith and Jason Pipe salute the crowd after their match. Photo: Sky Sport

As Smith stood on the oche with a chance to win the match Pipe could be seen coughing heavily as Smith missed.

Pipe went on to win the leg to force a tie-break and also take the next two on his way to progressing, although the "cough-gate" incident caused plenty of negative reaction on social media.

"It looks absolutely despicable behaviour by a professional darts player," Wayne Mardle said during Sky Sports' coverage.

"That was a tactic for advantage, that was a tactic to make Bernie Smith miss and he got his way."

Smith though has dimissed the controversy telling media it was "nothing..I missed my double. I had a chance to hit my double and I missed it."