DARTS: Michael Smith close to biggest career prize to date
Michael Smith is within touching distance of claiming the biggest prize in his darts career but will go into the Unibet Premier League play-offs as one of the outsiders.
The 27-year-old from St Helens, who started the tournament at odds of 55/1, qualified for the final stages at The O2, London, later this month by earning a point from a 6-6 draw against Irishman Daryl Gurney in Birmingham last night (Thursday).
He will be joined in the last four by favourite Michael Van Gerwen and world champion Rob Cross and one other player from next Thursday’s final qualifying round of the competition which will be staged in Aberdeen.
Bully Boy had to withstand a barrage of six 180s from his opponent who also needed a point to keep his hopes alive of progressing into the latter stages of the prestigious tournament but started the better of the two by racing into a 3-1 lead.
Gurney kept himself in the hunt with a 147 check out and three legs later took out a stunning 167 to level the scores at 4-4.
The pressure then mounted on Smith when he trailed 6-5, but stayed ice-cool by taking out 81 on the bull to share the spoils.
A delighted Smith said: “Daryl hit me with some good shots but I kept my head level. I knew I needed one leg at the end and, thankfully, I threw well and went out in 12 darts.”
He added: “My dad can now book his hotel for the 02.”