Pipe controversially forces his way through to the next round where he faces Phil Taylor.

Justin Pipe releases statement denying gamesmanship after cough in Bernie Smith match

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Justin Pipe has released a statement defending his actions after the darts player was accused of coughing to deliberately put off his second round opponent Bernie Smith.

In the tense 3-2 victory, New Zealander Smith was distracted by Pipe, who coughed as Smith lined up two darts at double 10 to win the match when he led 2-1 in the deciding set.

Former lumberjack Pipe issued a statement last night through the Professional Darts Corporation denying outright any gamesmanship or dark arts.

He maintained: “I'm bitterly disappointed with the comments made on Sky Sports and it's not nice for me and my family to hear.

"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 proportion.

"My focus is on preparing for my second round game against Phil Taylor on Saturday. It's an honour to playing him in his final tournament and I want to concentrate on that match."

Television replays, however, showed the 46-year-old moving in to cough and put Smith off during the vital throw.

Pipe's critics have included Sky Sports analyser Wayne Mardle, who called for Pipe to be investigated by the Darts Regulatory Authority.

Watch the controversy, if you haven't already seen it, below.

He raged: “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."

Smith's lack of reaction to Pipe's supposed gamesmanship was hailed as 'diplomatic' by the co-commentator.

Somerset-based Pipe will be looking for his first premier tournament victory after reaching the semi-final of the Players' Championship three times and the World Grand Prix once.

Pipe plays Phil 'The Power' Taylor in the next round of the World Darts Championships this Saturday, albeit in controversial circumstances. 

Phil Taylor

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