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Smith fired-up on Premier return

Bully Boy still fuming over Matchplay misery

MICHAEL SMITH is fired-up for Unibet Premier League glory because’s he’s still “fuming” over his World Matchplay misery.

The World No.4 faces Gary Anderson on his return to Milton Keynes on Tuesday, just a month after his mentor KO’d him in the Matchplay semis.

St.Helens star 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.

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

Smith blasted: “Even now I'm fuming about it - I felt like I didn't really turn up but I still could have won it.

“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 and I should winning these tournaments now.

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

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.

He admits: “I'm feeling good, my game's there and my scoring is. 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.

“I didn't get off to the best start when I played Glen (Durrant). 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!”

Night Seven, Tuesday August 25

Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes

Sky Sports (7pm)

Michael Smith v Gary Anderson

Michael van Gerwen v Rob Cross

Nathan Aspinall v Gerwyn Price

Chris Dobey (C) v Daryl Gurney

Peter Wright v Glen Durrant

Words: Phil Lanning

Images: Taylor Lanning


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