St Helens ace Michael Smith marches on in world championships

Michael Smith after winning his third round match during  the William Hill World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace
Michael Smith after winning his third round match during the William Hill World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace
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Mighty Michael Smith reached the fourth round of the William Hill World Darts Championship at the Alexandra Palace, London, yesterday afternoon and his first reaction to a 4-2 triumph over Scot John Henderson was to give his young son a fatherly hug.


''Seeing him in the audience gave me a real boost when I needed it'," said the 28 year-old St Helens ace.


Third favourite to lift the coveted title, Bully Boy never scaled the heights of which he is capable, but eventually set up a meeting with long-haired Ryan Searle from Devon.


World number 10 Smith found himself trailing 2-1 early on to Henderson, the Scot landing two 116 finishes and a set-saving 161 checkout.


Smith rallied, winning set four in just 38 darts without the loss of a leg to level, and then reeled off six of the last seven legs to secure his place in the last 16.


The former World Youth Champion averaged 100.47 over the six sets and also plundered nine 180s compared to his rival's eight.


He said later:''I have not felt under pressure during the tournament and while I've not played my best so far,I keep on winning and can only get better.


''I had to dig deep to beat John who played really well.''


Smith will be back on the oche tonight (Friday) and so, too, will St Helens-born Dave Chisnall who plays Welshman Jamie Lewis - a beaten semi-finalist 12 months ago.


It's quite an achievement for two local lads to get so far in the world's most prestigious dart competition and the million dollar question is can one of them win it ?


What an achievement it would be for St Helens if this happened.