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Leeds-born marksman hits the spot in Auckland

Mark McGrath in action against Michael Smith.  Picture: Raghavan Venugopal / www.Photosport.nz 2018
Mark McGrath in action against Michael Smith. Picture: Raghavan Venugopal / www.Photosport.nz 2018
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Leeds-born thrower Mark McGrath has created history in the Auckland Darts Masters.

McGrath, who emigrated to New Zealand in 1981, became the first Kiwi to defeat a top PDC player in the four-year history of the World Series event with a 6-4 success over Premier League runner-up Michael Smith.

Mark McGrath celebrates his win over Michael Smith at the Auckland Darts Masters. Picture: Raghavan Venugopal/www.Photosport.nz 2018

Mark McGrath celebrates his win over Michael Smith at the Auckland Darts Masters. Picture: Raghavan Venugopal/www.Photosport.nz 2018

The 50-year-old - who has previously qualified for both the PDC and BDO World Championships - will play Raymond van Barneveld in Saturday’s quarter-finals.

“It’s the biggest win of my career, but I hope there’s more to come,” said McGrath, nicknamed “Cowboy”.

“I’m stoked - it’s going to take a little while to sink in.”

Smith, a former World Youth champion was punished for only hitting 21 per cent of his shots at doubles as McGrath progressed in to the quarter-finals.

The pair exchanged holds of throw until the sixth leg where McGrath broke to take a 4-2 lead.

A 78 checkout from Smith in the next leg saw him break back before levelling again.

A scrappy ninth leg ended with the man from New Zealand pinning double one after a 26-dart leg and McGrath then delighted the New Zealand crowd, pinning tops to seal the victory.