Smith hoping hard work pays off in Unibet Premier League restart

Michael Smith (Michael Cooper, PDC)

Michael Smith is hoping that hard work on his finishing during the summer break can aid his challenge in the Unibet Premier League ahead of next week's restart of the event.

Smith sits in third place in the Premier League table following the six rounds played earlier in 2020, having won three games and drawn another.

Ten nights will be played across the next fortnight in Milton Keynes as the Premier League stars battle for places in the Play-Offs, with Smith in a strong position in a congested league table.

The former Shanghai Darts Masters champion has been practising with Ian White during the summer break, and believes that his hard work on the finishing aspect of his game can pay dividends in the Premier League race.

"I'm feeling good, my game's there and my scoring is," said Smith. "I've been practising my doubles with Whitey, and it feels like my doubles have been better than ever.

"Hopefully I can do it again on the big stage, put it all together into six straight matches."

Smith opened the season with a 7-3 reverse to debutant Glen Durrant and then drew with Gerwyn Price, but swept past Challenger Jonny Clayton in style in Cardiff with a 105 average to claim his first win.

That was followed by wins over Daryl Gurney and Michael van Gerwen, before Peter Wright took a 7-4 win in their Night Six meeting before the enforced break in the event.

"I didn't get off to the best start when I played Glen," he added. "I went into that match thinking it was his first time, it's going to be a walkover, he'll get nervous - and I tried too hard.

"The game against Jonny I played well. I threw it away against Gez, nearly threw it away against Michael. Hopefully going back next week I can keep winning, keep in that top four and hopefully get to The O2 - if we are at The O2!"

Smith was defeated by Anderson - his former mentor - in the World Matchplay semi-finals last month, when he came from 8-3 down at one stage to lead 15-14, only to eventually lose out 18-16 in a tie-break.

Anderson went on to lose the final to Dimitri Van den Bergh, with Smith conceding that he still looks back on the event as a golden opportunity to claim his maiden TV ranking title.

"Even now I'm fuming about it - I felt like I didn't really turn up but I still could have won it," admitted Smith.

"Then I had to watch the final. He didn't play like that against me - it took him 24 legs to hit his first 180 and that's what annoyed me.

"It's one of those new learning curves, hopefully I can put it right for the Premier League. When I first started I was annoyed that I could never make a quarter-final.

"Now if I do make the quarters or the semis, I'm annoyed because where I'm at now in my mind, I should be making the finals and I should winning these tournaments now.

"It's been too long and hopefully I'll get one soon."

Star On The Big Screen!
Be part of the action when the Unibet Premier League resumes on Tuesday August 25.

Whilst the action will not include a live audience, following the success of involving fans in the action at the recent World Matchplay there will be the opportunity to provide videos and pictures to be displayed on a giant screen inside the arena during the events.

Fans are encouraged to share their videos and pictures with the PDC through this link.

Fans from cities where the Premier League would have originally visited during that period - Birmingham, Rotterdam, Berlin, Belfast and Leeds - are encouraged to wear the colours of their city or even send in videos & photos by local landmarks!

Download The 180 Card!
Fans can also download the Unibet Premier League 180 Card to print at home - use this to write on messages for your pictures, or simply use at home during the events!

Click here to download the Unibet Premier League 180 Card.

Buy A Programme!
The official Unibet Premier League event programme can be purchased now for just £1+P&P from Curtis Sport.

Click here to buy a Unibet Premier League programme.