St Helens darts ace Michael Smith moves up world rankings as he prepares for Price re-match

Michael Smith
Michael Smith

Michael Smith has leapfrogged his mentor, Scotland's Gary Anderson, and moved to third spot in the current PDC Order of Merit.

It follows last weekend's results at the German Unibet European Championship in which the local ace reached the last four and means that his total earnings from the sport during the period in question totals £554,500.

Fellow son of St Helens, Dave Chisnall, lies 10th in the order of merit (£376, 250) and Stephen Bunting 18th (£233,000) but out in front is Dutchman Michael van Gerwen (£1,560,750) followed by Rob Cross (£998,750).

The top 32 players featuring in the order of merit on November 30 will automatically qualify as seeds for the 2019-20 William Hill World Championship which starts in late December.

Smith reached the final of the 2018-19 blue riband event at the Alexandra Palace, London, where he was beaten 7-3 by world no.1 Michael van Gerwen, and will be hoping to go one better this time around.

But before then he will be keen to erase the bitter memories of his 11-7 defeat in the semi-final of the Unibet European Championship in Germany on Sunday as quickly as possible.

By a strange twist of fate, he has been drawn against his conqueror, Welshman Gerwyn Price, in the opening round of the £70,000 Jack's Casino World Series of Darts which will be staged in Amsterdam on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and screened by ITV 4.

Eight players, which don't include Smith and his compatriot, Chisnall, will be exempt from the first round due to their record in the World Series Order of Merit but like Bully Boy the world's no. 10 faces a tough first round test against Aussie Simon Whitlock.

If both local lads clear the demanding first hurdle, another equally severe examination lies ahead in the next round - Smith taking on Van Gerwen and Chizzy facing Cross, who won the German event at the weekend.

First round draw in full: Smith v Price, Kyle Anderson v Mensur Suljovic, Wayne Jones v Jonny Clayton, Krzysztof Ratajski v Nathan Aspinall, Ricky Evans v Ian White, Danny Noppert v Jeffrey de Zwaan, Jermaine Wattimena v Gabriel Clemens, Dave Chisnall v Simon Whitlock.

Second round: Van Gerwen v Smith/Price, holder James Wade v Jones/Clayton, Damon Heta v Kyle Anderson/Suljovic, Daryl Gurney v Ratajski/Aspinall, Gary Anderson v Noppart/De Zwaan, Raymond van Barneveld v Wattimena/Clemens, Cross v Chisnall/Whitlock.