Yates' view: All set for a Smith v Price New Year blockbuster

I don't want to be accused of stating the obvious but St Helens darting ace Michael Smith's chances of lifting the William Hill world championship have been shortened by Covid-hit players, such as three-time winner Michael van Gerwen and local rival Dave Chisnall, being forced to withdraw from the competition .

Thursday, 30th December 2021, 2:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th December 2021, 2:44 pm
Michael Smith

That is a stone cold fact but more important in my eyes has been the blistering form of Bully Boy, who is arguably producing the best darts of his career and doesn't seem to fear anyone at this moment in time when stepping up to the oche.

Defending champion Gerwyn Price, however, is likely to prove a different kettle of fish and will go into the New Year's Day shoot-out as slight favourite, even though he has been far from his best in the tournament to date so far.

At the same time, he appears to lift his game at crucial times when the chips are down but hopefully Smith will find the answer - like he has so far in the last couple of weeks.

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HOW would you fancy a dip in the sea along the North Wales coastline at this time of the year?

Perish the thought, but it was part and parcel of Saints' pre-season training last week as they prepared for the defence of their Betfred Super League title and lift a a fourth successive crown.

What the newly-arrived overseas players thought about it is anyone's guess after being 'pampered' in past years Down Under by a different climate.when training.

It was also an opportunity for the squad to get to know each other better and if it helps in any way to continue the club's current success the demanding fans will have no complaints whatsoever.

As one leading light said: "The training session was brr- brr-illiant. ''