Michael Smith is hanging on to the shirt tails of world number one Michael Van Gerwen as they jockey for top spot in the Unibet Premier Darts League.
The St Helens ace is lying second in the table two points adrift of the deadly Dutchman as they prepared for next Thursday’s Judgement Night in Liverpool after which the competition will be reduced from 10 to eight players.
Smith ensured the early exit of bottom of the table Gerwyn Price in Belfast on Thursday night (March 29), thrashing the Welshman 7-2 to notch his sixth victory in eight matches and while still considered an outsider for the title will be a dangerous animal.
Price - without a win in the tournament to date - started brightly and shared the first four legs.
But then Smith produced a stunning four leg burst, beginning with a 13 dart leg and also featuring an160 check out to pull 6-2 clear before sealing his win following double top.
He said: “I don’t think it was my best performance but I got the job done and winning two point was all that mattered.
“I was trying not to watch Gerwyn because I knew he was under great pressure.
“I am trying to fight to win every match that I can because I’m playing well away from the Premier League without producing the same kind of form on the big stage.”