Smith celebrated alongside St Helens' Rugby League stars at civic reception

Michael Smith (PDC)

Michael Smith’s World Championship success was celebrated alongside St Helens’ World Club Challenge triumph in a civic reception at St Helens Town Hall on Monday.

The ceremony – which precedes Smith receiving the Freedom of the Borough later this year – saw the world number one and St Helens’ Rugby League stars recognised at the town hall event for their historic achievements in 2023.

Smith claimed the sport's top prize with a memorable 7-4 victory over Michael van Gerwen at Alexandra Palace in January, in a contest which generated global headlines.

The 32-year-old produced the performance of his life to scoop the £500,000 top prize, landing a stunning nine-darter in a leg dubbed the greatest of all-time, after Van Gerwen had also missed double 12 for perfection moments earlier.

Meanwhile, Lewis Dodd’s golden-point drop goal catapulted Saints to World Club Challenge glory back in February, courtesy of a famous 13-12 victory against back-to-back NRL premiers Penrith Panthers.

Michael Smith & St Helens Rugby League squad

St Helens Borough Council Leader, Councillor David Baines, said: “We were delighted to welcome Saints and Michael Smith to the Town Hall for a very special civic reception - a celebration of their achievements over recent years.

“Both are obviously World Champions - they’re both the best at what they do, they’re the best of St Helens and the best in the world, so we’re delighted to be able to celebrate them and honour them in this way.

“We’ve got a town hall full of young people from community clubs - whether it’s rugby league or darts academies locally - who are seeing these people achieve things on the world stage that they hope to do one day, so it’s inspiring the next generation.

“It was fantastic to celebrate Michael Smith and his incredible World Championship victory, and what a guy he is as well. 

“He’s got so many good qualities that people can look up to and aspire to in terms of overcoming adversity, never giving up and you become champion of the world - what a story that is.”

Monday’s event - hosted by Sky Sports’ darts and rugby league commentator Stuart Pyke – also saw Women's Series star Eleanor Cairns and disability darts player Michael Callaghan recognised for their exploits.

“It means a lot. It’s nice, just to be recognised for the achievements I’ve had,” said Smith, who will be aiming to add the Cazoo Premier League title to his trophy haul at next Thursday’s Play-Offs.

“This is not only for myself, but for my town, my family, my friends as well.

“They’ve been all been on board and especially on a night like this, it does feel good.”