Michael Smith wins sudden death thriller at World Matchplay
Mighty Michael Smith is once more left flying the flag for St Helens in the world of darts.
The ice-cool 30-year-old reached the last eight of the Betfred World Matchplay before a captivated audience at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, last night (Wednesday), defeating Portugal's Jose De Sousa 13-11 in an 'extra-time' thriller, and then slammed those people who had written him off pre-match.
''I'm no longer a kid and I've learned how to grind out a win,'' said Bully Boy, who was runner-up in the 2019 event.
He added: ''A few years ago I would have lost that match but I'm still here and looking forward to the next game.''
De Sousa started the brighter and won the opening two legs but Smith bounced back by winning the next five until his rival levelled matter at 5-5.
It was anybody's game at this stage but when the Portugese landed two double 20s in an 80 finish to regain the advantage, he looked narrow a favourite and then at 10-8 it seemed as if Smith was heading for the exit door.
But the St Helens ace dug deep and eventually squeezed over the line and now meets former world champion Peter Wright tomorrow (Friday) for a place in the semi-final.
St Helens' other two entries, Stephen Bunting and Dave Chisnall lost in the first and second round of the competition which carries a first prize of £150,000