Michael Smith turns attention to team championship after another Premier League defeat

Michael Smith
Michael Smith

''When one door closes another will open'' is a famous quote attributed to Alexander Graham Bell - the inventor of the first practical telephone - and it's something Michael Smith will take on board after his disappointing performance in the Unibet Premier Darts League.

The St Helens ace, who was runner-up in the 2018 competition and reached the world championship final a few months ago, finished in the lower reaches of the table which culminated with an 8-3 defeat against Daryl Gurney in Leeds last night (Thursday) and now can only watch as holder Michael Van Gerwen, Rob Cross, James Wade and Gurney battle for the title at the O2 Arena, London on Thursday in front of the Sky TV cameras.

But Smith will take solace from the fact that another big prize is now in his sights - the BetVictor world team championship which will be staged in Germany next month.

Bully Boy will join forces with 2018 world champion Rob Cross as England's representatives in the competition and their first opponents will be Lourence Ilagan and Noel Malicdem of the Philippines.

By then Smith will be hoping to overcome his lack of finishing power which was apparent in the premier league programme and reared its ugly head again when he face Irishman Gurney.

A high-quality start saw the pair share the opening four legs with three 12-darters and a 13-dart finish before Gurney pulled clear to lead 5-2.

Smith finished 100 for a second ton-plus check out of the game, but missed doubles in the next leg which allowed Gurney back in before the Northern Irish ace completed victory with an average of almost 102.

"I'm delighted," said Gurney. "I knew I had to win tonight and I was probably the most focused I've ever been.

"It was a quality game and I took out a couple of importance finishes.Under the circumstances, I think I played beyond my expectations, so I'm happy with that.

"Now I'm in the Play-Offs I'll do my best to win the title."