Michael Smith is still riding the crest of a wave since his world championship exploits, and is aiming to add the coveted Premier League crown to his growing haul of titles I The OVO Hydro, Glasgow hosts the third of 17 individual venues on Thursday, February 16
Last Updated: 08/02/23 2:24pm
Michael Smith is eager for the world darts championship hype to die down and concentrate on reaching this year’s Premier League Play-Offs.
Newly-crowned world champion Smith, who landed an astonishing nine-darter en route to victory over Michael van Gerwen in an epic final on January 3, has enjoyed an incredible last few months.
The St Helens thrower also celebrated winning the Grand Slam of Darts and US Darts Masters as well as appearing in UK Open and European Championship finals in 2022.
But now the world No 1 is looking to go one better than in 2018 when he finished as runner-up to Dutchman Van Gerwen in the Premier League.
“Hopefully I can do some damage this year. I want to get back on the practice board because I’ve not really had a chance to do so since winning the Worlds,” said Smith.
“If I put in a couple of hours a day I should be fine. I just need to get my arm back in.
Speaking about the format, the 32-year-old said: “It’s the first to 11 so it’s what we’re used to and you’ve got 16 weeks of it. I don’t think any of the players are going to win 16 times, so you’re going to win some and lose some.
“You’re going to win some nights and not other nights so you’ve just got to get on with it. It’s a long old tournament.
“You just want to play well, even if you don’t win on some nights. As long as you can get in the top four and make the Play-Offs – you don’t want to be sat at home on the seventeenth week watching four other lads play.
“You’ve got a long old slog and you’ve just got to get on with it. As long as you keep picking up the points and have a healthy leg difference then it should be fine.”
With Chris Dobey’s victory at the Masters enabling him to sneak in to this year tournament ahead of last year’s finalist Joe Cullen and fifth-ranked Luke Humphries, ‘Bully Boy’ has backed the PDC’s decision-making.
Discussing this year’s line-up, Smith added: “There’s a couple of questionable decisions but I trust the PDC and I trust the process. So long as I was in, then I wasn’t really bothered about the other seven.
“I think Chris Dobey fits the bill. He’s a nice lad, he’s young, he’s got the game and the crowd seem to love him. I wish the lad all the best.
“There were a lot of people who were close to making it but you’ve got to trust the process. It’s up to Joe and Luke to have a bigger year. You’ve got to keep reaching the latter stages of tournaments.
“It’s going to be a good Premier League this year. You’ve got the best eight players in the world playing so it should be fun.”
Smith takes on home favourite Jonny Clayton on Night Two in Cardiff with ‘The Iceman’ Gerwyn Price in action against Dobey.
The night’s other quarter-finals will see Nathan Aspinall face Peter Wright, while Van Gerwen takes on Dimitri Van den Bergh.
Night Two – Thursday February 9
Cardiff International Arena
Michael Smith vs Jonny Clayton
Nathan Aspinall vs Peter Wright
Gerwyn Price vs Chris Dobey
Michael van Gerwen vs Dimitri Van den Bergh
Smith/Clayton vs Aspinall/Wright
Price/Dobey vs Van Gerwen/Van den Bergh
2023 Premier League Schedule
|Night 3||OVO Hydro, Glasgow||February 16|
|Night 4||3Arena, Dublin||February 23|
|Night 5||Westpoint Exeter||March 2|
|Night 6||The Brighton Centre||March 9|
|Night 7||Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham||March 16|
|Night 8||Utilita Arena, Newcastle||March 23|
|Night 9||Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin||March 30|
|Night 10||Utilita Arena, Birmingham||April 6|
|Night 11||M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool||April 13|
|Night 12||Rotterdam Ahoy||April 20|
|Night 13||First Direct Arena, Leeds||April 27|
|Night 14||AO Arena, Manchester||May 4|
|Night 15||Utilita Arena, Sheffield||May 11|
|Night 16||P&J Live, Aberdeen||May 18|
|Play-Offs||The O2, London||May 25|
We’re back for more Premier League Darts action from the OVO Hydro, Glasgow on Thursday February 16 – live on Sky Sports Arena from 7pm.