Smith gets Premier League place

Michael Smith is back in the Premier League!

He is joined by Unicorn stablemate Gary Anderson in a new look Premier League for 2018.

New World Champion Rob Cross is one of four new faces in the 10 man field. Mensur Suljovic, Daryl Gurney and Gerwyn Price are the other debutants.

Raymond van Barneveld. Simon Whitlock, Peter Wright and Michael van Gerwen complete the classy line-up.

Remember Smith missed match darts to beat Cross in the last 16 at the Alexandra Palace!

“I am surprised and delighted,” said the 27-year-old. “Thanks to the PDC and Barry Hearn for having the faith in me again and I won’t let them down.”

Smith played in the 2016 Premier League but finished 10th in the table. Of course, Anderson is aiming for a hat-trick of Premier League titles.

But the name dominating the world of darts at the moment is Rob Cross. What a story and what an astonishing achievement. To win the World Championship on debut and to do it in such style demolishing Phil Taylor 7-2 is a fairytale finale to an incredible tournament.

Taylor didn’t get a look in. Cross is now No.3 in the world after winning the Sid Waddell Trophy and £400,000 and his life will now change forever. 12 months ago, he was sat on his sofa watching the tournament. Now he is World Champion.

In the final, he was ruthless and relentless. He raced into a 3-0 lead as he nailed finishes of 167 and 153 to take two of the sets. Taylor actually wired D12 for a 9 darter! But Cross was way too good. He won it in some style with a brilliant 140 check-out.

Cross finished with an average of 107.67, hit 11 x 180s and was brilliant on the doubles with a 60% check-out success rate. He won 21 legs to Taylor’s 10 in the final.

The Premier League starts on February 1 in Dublin.

Story from STUART PYKE

Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC