Michael Smith claims his third nightly win of the Premier League season by defeating Jonny Clayton in Manchester The Utilita Arena, Sheffield hosts the 15th of 17 individual venues on Thursday, May 11 with the Play-Offs returning to The O2 in London on Thursday, May 25
Last Updated: 05/05/23 1:07am
Michael Smith wired a nine-dart attempt on his way to sensationally defeating Jonny Clayton in Manchester, cementing his position in the Premier League Darts top four.
World champion Smith saw off local hero Nathan Aspinall, reigning champion Michael van Gerwen and Welsh star Clayton to complete back-to-back Premier League night wins with a remarkable display.
Premier League – Night 14 in Manchester Results
|Dimitri Van den Bergh
|Michael van Gerwen
|Michael van Gerwen
After seeing off Aspinall 6-3 in their quarter-final, Smith then landed six doubles from 11 attempts to overcame Van Gerwen 6-4 in a repeat of January’s World Championship final.
He then raced to glory in the final to seal the £10,000 winner’s bonus, saving his best display of the night for the decider as he missed double 12 for a nine-darter and landed five 180s in a stunning performance.
Clayton took out 72 and 121 to establish a 2-1 lead early in the final, but ‘Bully Boy’ turned on the style in a stunning four-leg burst to take command.
He firstly missed double 12 for a nine-dart finish, taking leg four in 10 darts, before landing six perfect darts in the next as a 12-darter moved him ahead, before he took the next two – including a 100 checkout – to lead 5-2.
Clayton punished a missed match dart from Smith to hit back in the eighth leg, but Smith sealed his second successive nightly triumph in the next leg on double 13.
Smith ended the final with a season’s best average of 110.05, and crucially opened up a six-point buffer over Clayton and Aspinall in the league table.
He said: “Beating Michael, I think I’ve beaten every player in the Premier League.
“I’m starting to come good, I won night three in Glasgow, struggled for seven or eight weeks just picking up the odd points.
“Now it’s starting to come good at the right time and the O2 is in three weeks and I’ll hopefully lift that title going into the Matchplay with the perfect run and the triple crown.
The 32-year-old added: “It’s twice now I’ve missed a double (for a nine-darter) in the last few weeks, but if I hit that I might have got involved with the crowd a little bit, not played as well so I’m glad I missed and a bit disappointed I
didn’t hit it, it happens but as long as I got the victory, that’s all that matters.
“It’ll happen again I know it will but for now I keep putting it on the wire, I’m not a million miles away but keep coming close.”
Clayton’s run to the final moved him back into the top four in the race for Play-Off spots, as he defeated Peter Wright and Chris Dobey.
Van Gerwen ended a run of five successive defeats against Gerwyn Price with a superb 6-2 win in a high-quality quarter-final, with both players averaging over 103 and the Dutchman landing six doubles from 10 attempts.
Defeats in the quarter-finals for both Wright and Dimitri Van den Bergh saw their feint hopes of being able to qualify for the Play-Offs ended, as both relinquished a 2-0 lead before losing out to Clayton and Dobey respectively.
Despite landing a second 170 finish of the Premier League season Dobey also cannot now reach the Play-Offs in his debut season, sitting 10 points adrift of the top four with two league nights remaining, with Clayton and Aspinall certain to meet on Night 16 in Aberdeen.
Where are we heading next?
Night 15 in Sheffield: Thursday, May 11
|Gerwyn Price vs Nathan Aspinall
|Chris Dobey vs Peter Wright
|Michael van Gerwen vs Michael Smith
|Jonny Clayton vs Dimitri Van den Bergh
The Premier League roadshow heads to the Utilita Arena, Sheffield on Thursday, May 11 for Night 15 of the league phase.
Van Gerwen takes on Smith in another repeat of the World Championship final, while Price takes on Aspinall.
Dobey faces Wright and Clayton squares up to Van den Bergh.
2023 Premier League Schedule
|Utilita Arena, Sheffield
|P&J Live, Aberdeen
|The O2, London
We’re back for more Premier League Darts action from the Utilita Arena, Sheffield on Thursday, May 11 – live on Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Main Event from 7pm.