Smith dominates in Leeds to win his second Premier League night.
On Thursday, Michael Smith won his second night of the Cazoo Premier League for the season, rekindling his Play-Off hopes with a superb 6-4 victory over league leader Gerwyn Price in Leeds.
After losing to Price in the quarterfinals last Thursday in Rotterdam, Smith dropped out of the top four spots for the first time since Night Two. However, on Night 13 at the First Direct Arena, he responded forcefully.
The World Champion easily defeated Chris Dobey and Peter Wright, losing only three legs in the process, to advance to his fifth weekly final of the season.
In his 6-1 victory over Dobey in the quarterfinals, Smith averaged 105, hitting five 180s and threatening a nine-darter.
The 2018 runner-up then overcame a lacklustre performance to defeat Wright 6-2 in the semifinals, crashing in another five 180-degree shots and securing his advancement with an incredible 164-yard checkout.
This brought about a matchup with league leader Price, but Smith avoided suffering his third straight loss to the Welshman by putting on an outstanding performance to win the £10,000 winner’s bonus in West Yorkshire.
The world number one sailed into a 2-0 lead in legs of 13 and 11 darts, and while Price halved the deficit in legs three with a 12-dart hold, Smith maintained his two-leg cushion with subsequent holds.
Price made a simple 148 combination on tops to cut the deficit to 4-3, but the St. Helens star remained unfazed and finished off 13 and 14-dart legs in the closing stages to secure a valuable five points.
“This was a big night for me,” reflected Smith, who averaged 104 to topple Price and move four points clear of fifth-placed Jonny Clayton.
“If I had lost against Chris tonight, I think my top four chances would have been a bit bleak, so to come to Leeds and get five points, it feels massive.
“I just hope I can play like this every week. I only seem to do it when I need to. This is a learning curve for me.
“Three or four years ago I wouldn’t have done that tonight. Now I’m able to fight and battle which you have to do when you’re playing the best players in the world, like Gezzy.
“I showed what I can do. I had to fight for everything and luckily that got me over the line.”
With victories over Clayton and Nathan Aspinall, Price increased his lead at the top and advanced to the seventh nightly final of 2023, moving four points ahead of Michael van Gerwen, who was in second place.
In their all-Welsh quarterfinal matchup, the 38-year-old was dominant against Clayton, averaging nearly 111 to rout to a 6-2 victory that knocked 2021 champion Clayton out of the top four.
Price continued his run by exacting revenge for losing to Aspinall in last Thursday’s Rotterdam final by taking advantage of the Stockport star’s doubling difficulties to win in a close match.
Wright and Aspinall, who both advanced to the semifinals, left Leeds with two points each after winning their respective quarterfinal matches against Van Gerwen and Dimitri Van den Bergh.
In his eighth match against Van Gerwen, Wright put on arguably his best performance of the year, reeling off three straight legs to defeat the Dutchman 6-3 and snap a four-match losing streak.
Night 12 winner in other places For the second week in a row, Aspinall defeated Van den Bergh by crashing in four maximums and converting a pair of ton-plus finishes to win 6-4.
2023 Cazoo Premier League
Night 13 – Thursday April 27
First Direct Arena, Leeds
Michael Smith 6-1 Chris Dobey
Peter Wright 6-3 Michael van Gerwen
Gerwyn Price 6-2 Jonny Clayton
Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Michael Smith 6-2 Peter Wright
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Nathan Aspinall
Michael Smith 6-4 Gerwyn Price
Night 14 – Thursday May 4
AO Arena, Manchester
Peter Wright v Jonny Clayton
Chris Dobey v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Michael Smith v Nathan Aspinall
Gerwyn Price v Michael van Gerwen