St Helens darts ace Michael Smith off the mark in the Premier League

Michael Smith
Michael Smith

Michael Smith shrugged off the effects of needing surgery to haul himself from the bottom rung of the ladder in Thursday's Unibet Premier League clash with five-times world champion Raymond Van Barneveld at Westpoint, Exeter .

Earlier in the week, the St Helens arrow smith required an operation after an abscess worsened.

"I'm not sure how I will be," said Smith on the eve of round four.

"I'm on painkillers and antibiotics. I've got strapping round my leg and groin which has to be changed every day to protect it from further infection."

It didn't, however, seem to worry last year's runner-up as he defeated the Dutchman 7-4 and dumped his rival on the basement of the table.

Five-times world champion Barneveld took a 3-1 lead before Smith won three successive legs to go in front, only for the fans' favourite to halt Bully Boy in his tracks and draw level at 4-4

That was as good as it got for the former Premier League champion as injury-hit Smith battled through the pain barrier to land a 90 checkout to go 6-4 up, before finding his favourite double top in the following leg to end his winless start to the season.

Smith added: "It has been a tough start to the Premier League and my leg hasn't really helped to be honest.

"It has been there for six weeks and bugging me a bit and stressing me out. I should have just got it checked earlier. I was just being a bloke and not getting it checked, thinking it will heal itself."