Michael Smith loses against Gerwyn Price as Premier League hopes fade

Michael Smith suffered defeat in Cardiff
Michael Smith suffered defeat in Cardiff

Michael Smith's hopes of reaching the Unibet Premier Darts League play-offs are receding fast.

The St Helens star of the oche is still rooted at the foot of the table and will need to rely on one or two of his fellow opponents to hit a bad patch if he is to reach the London finals for the second successive year.

He came up against an inspired Gerwyn Price who, playing in front of his home fans in Cardiff last night (Thursday), defeated Smith 8-5 - a match in which both players hit back-to-back 170s.

Bully Boy set the tone for a pulsating match by landing a 12-dart finish but the Welshman hit back and produced a 170 check out of his own, milking the applause of the crowd and, sportingly, the acknowledgement of his rival to level the scores.

Twice more the St Helens lad edged in front, only for the former Welsh Rugby Union star to regain parity at 4-4

Then came an astonishing and mind-boggling leg which included four successive 180s, and although Price's attempts at a nine darter ended on his eighth throw, he returned to finish in 11 after Smith spurned two at tops.

The Iceman kept his cool from that moment on and raced to victory, leaving Smith regretting the number of crucial doubles he has spurned during the competition.

Not for the first time his average of 99.11 was greater than his opponent but Price's finishing was far superior as he converted eight of his 17 attempts as the St Helens man blew 13 of his 18.

The Welsh wizard said: ''I'm thrilled to get a win and especially in Cardiff. The crowd were fantastic and helped me through. It means a lot to me and I thought I played some decent, too.

"I never feel pressure but early in that game I was up against it. I settled down and I'm glad I got over the line. The 170 was crucial and a big shot in the game.

"Michael stuck to his guns and played pretty well but thankfully I got the win. I'm targeting the top four and I think it's possible but I want to keep winning."