St Helens darts ace Michael Smith battles through opening round of World Grand Prix

Michael Smith
Michael Smith

Michael Smith scrapped into the second round of the World Grand Prix in Dublin last night (Sunday) and now faces Ian 'Diamond' White for a place in the quarter finals tomorrow (Tuesday).

Smith looked to be heading for the exit door in his first round clash against Aussie Simon Whitlock - the 2017 runner-up - but stormed back with some sensational late finishes to win a three-set thriller.

Whitlock came from a leg down to win the opening set 3-1 and moved 2-1 up in the second with the help of a 120 checkout, only to see 'Bully Boy' produce a huge 128 finish to save the set before double top levelled the match.

Smith then took out a huge 155 checkout - with the Wizard of Oz waiting on a double - to open the third set, and the St Helens man also led 2-0 before Whitlock hit back to force a deciding leg, punishing two missed match darts from the World Championship finalist.

However, the man from Down Under missed six starting doubles in the final leg, with Smith pulling clear before pinning double 16 at the first time of asking to grab a hard-fought victory.

"My scoring wasn't quite there but I got the win and I'm happy," Smith admitted.

"The 128 was a big shot and it saved the match, and I knew that hurt him and then the 155 killed him."

Tonight (Monday) Stephen Bunting faces Jonny Clayton and Dave Chisnall meets Gerwyn Price in the opening round and will be hoping to follow in Smith's footsteps.