Smith emerges victorious at Robin Park

Michael Smith produced a stunning day of darts to earn his second title in two days at Players Championship 15 at Robin Park on Wednesday.

By Paul Kendrick
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 7:14 pm

Smith produced a nine-dart finish in his quarter-final victory over Florian Hempel, before averaging 109.95 in an 8-3 final win over Callan Rydz to back up Tuesday's first title of the year.

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Michael Smith was a big winner in Wigan this week

Smith was at his fluent best across the event, hitting 32 180s, though his day began with unspectacular victories over Glen Durrant and John Michael, before a 107.10 average saw him edge out Ritchie Edhouse 6-5.

The last 16 saw Smith come through another last-leg decider with Mario Vandenbogaerde before averaging 114.90, his highest of the day, in a 6-2 quarter-final victory over Hempel.

A 7-3 win over Alan Soutar sent Smith through to the final where a clinical 81 per cent double accuracy saw him rack up his fourteenth win in two days to pocket the £12,000 top prize.

Meanwhile, Rydz produced ton-plus averages in all but one of his six matches, including a 104.13 in the final, as he reached his first ranking final since October.

Scottish youngster Nathan Girvan also hit a nine-darter in his first round loss to Adrian Lewis, with four perfect legs hit across two days of play in Wigan.

The day before, Smith had seen off surprise package John O’Shea 8-5 in the final.

Things were starting to look ominous for Smith in the final as O'Shea got off to a flying start, taking out checkouts of 105, 50 and 120 as he moved into a 3-2 lead.

But Smith put together a superb mid-game spell, taking five of the next six legs as he moved within a leg of the title at 7-4.

With O'Shea within two, he threatened to close the gap again but six missed darts at the double proved costly as Smith pinned double two to secure the title.

Smith started his run to the title with a routine 6-3 over Tony Martinez, before seeing off Germany's Ricardo Pietreczko 6-2 in the second round.

The Premier League star then saw off Ricky Evans 6-3 with an average of 103.51 - his highest of the day.

This was swiftly followed by 6-4 victories over Martin Lukeman and James Wilson as he reached the semi-finals.

Standing in his way of the final was Australia's number one Damon Heta, who had started his day with a nine-dart finish against Keegan Brown.

However, Smith raced to the final with a 7-2 victory.

Heta's moment of perfection early in the day was one of two nine-darters at Players Championship 14, with Ross Smith striking a nine-dart leg in the first leg of his victory over Geert de Vos.

Irishman O'Shea - playing in his first PDC ranking final - started his run with a 6-4 win over Nick Fullwell, before defeating the in-form Nathan Aspinall by the same scoreline.

He then saw off Dutchman Damian Mol 6-3, before putting a stop to nine-dart hero Ross Smith's run in the last 16 with a 6-3 win.

The 46-year-old saw off Maik Kuivenhoven in the quarter-finals to continue his remarkable run, before scalping world number 13 Dave Chisnall 7-4 in the last four to set up the showdown with Smith.

The ProTour action resumes this weekend with the Gambrinus Czech Darts Open (ET8), taking place in Prague from May 13-15 - live action will be broadcast on PDCTV.