St Helens ace Michael Smith edged out in Vegas final

Michael Smith
Michael Smith

Michael Smith's run of near misses in major darting events this year continues.

The St Helens ace, who was beaten in the world championship final by Dutchman Michael Van Gerwen earlier this year, fell at the last hurdle during the US Masters on Friday.

He went down 8-4 in Las Vegas to Nathan Aspinall - the Stockport arrow smith gaining sweet revenge for his semi-final setback at the hands of Bully Boy in the 2018-2019 world championships at the Alexandra Palace, London.

Smith had been bidding to follow up last July's Shanghai Darts Masters triumph with a second World Series title, but was overpowered by Aspinall's super-show in the final.

"It's nice to have reached the final but Nathan was too good there," said his magnanimous opponent.

"I was chasing the game from the start.

"Nathan played really well but I got myself back into it at four-all and that was my chance. Then my first dart started dropping low and as a result I was chasing doubles.''

Aspinall said: ''Growing up, you want to play in front of the biggest crowds in the biggest arenas in the best countries. The UK Open was massive for me and I wanted to make a good show of myself coming to Las Vegas - it was the top seven players in the world and me!

"To come out on top and win the whole thing is brilliant. I'm enjoying life, loving my darts and reaping the rewards for the hard work I've been putting in.''

Aspinall produced his best performance in the final, where he overcame Smith in a fast-paced and heavy-scoring contest with a 107 average.

He won the opening leg with a brilliant 10-dart finish, and landed two 180s in the second before Smith took out 130 to level.

Aspinall finished on 70 and 120 to move 4-2 up as he maintained an average of over 111.

Smith responded with finishes of 118 and 87 to level at 4-4-, but the Stockport star edged the ninth leg on double 18 and pulled clear with checkouts of 85 and 80 and then landed tops to seal a sensational triumph.

"It's absolutely fantastic for me," said Aspinall, who will celebrate his 28th birthday next week..

"I played really well in the semis but the way I started in the final was superb.

"I've never had a performance like that on stage and to do it in the final, makes me a very happy man.''

Quarter final results:
Michael Smith 8-6 Michael van Gerwen
Gerwyn Price 8-6 Gary Anderson
Nathan Aspinall 8-5 Rob Cross
Peter Wright 8-6 Daryl Gurney

Michael Smith 8-4 Gerwyn Price
Nathan Aspinall 8-7 Peter Wright

Nathan Aspinall 8-4 Michael Smith