Michael Smith blows big lead in Premier League draw

Michael Smith
Michael Smith

Michael Smith is heading for the exit door in the Unibet Premier Darts League and he can blame no one other than himself.

The St Helens ace, who reached last year's final, allowed a 6-2 advantage to slip from his grasp against Austrian-based Mensur Suljovic in Birmingham last night (Thursday) and even had to win the final leg to earn a 7-7 draw.

It was an astonishing turn around after Smith had looked on course to annihilate his rival following a string of 180s and the accuracy of a Wild West gunslinger.

But it was an all too familiar story for Bully Boy who has been guilty of tossing away too many chances in a competition where his overall form has been far better than his lowly position in the table suggests.

The 2018 runner-up started the campaign with high hopes, having also reached the World Championship Final, but can no longer reach the play-offs while Serbian-born Suljovic is well positioned to get to finals night for the first time

Smith, who threw seven maximums to take his league leading tally to 48 and averaged 101.25, looked odd-on to claim his fourth victory of the season before Suljovic began his comeback with a superb checkout of 120 to reduce the gap to 6-3.

A finish from 84 completed a 12-darter and two more legs followed from the on-fire Serb to square the match before a 116 checkout got his nose in front for the first time in the match.

Suljovic, who averaged 100.13 and threw three maximums, was waiting on double top when the St Helens man found double eight with his last dart.

Smith said: "I knew it was going to be hard to get into the top four and I had to win tonight, but at 6-2 I fell asleep and let him in."

"I've given up on getting through but I want to finish the season well and get my game back to where I want it to be."

The point moves Suljovic a step closer to securing a play-off place and he said: "I'm so happy. It's very good for me to come back from 6-2 behind.

"Michael played brilliant darts but I never give up and I'm in good form."