Unicorn star Michael Smith should be back in the top eight in the world next weekend.

He enjoyed a terrific run to the semi-finals of the Dutch Darts Masters in Maastricht and will claim his spot back in the elite at the German Darts Grand Prix in Mannheim.

The St Helens man was left counting the cost of missed doubles as he lost out to eventual winner Michael van Gerwen, who won his home tournament for a fourth straight year. 

Van Gerwen beat Smith 6-2 and then overwhelmed Steve Beaton 6-1 in the final. It was the Dutchman's first tournament after taking a month off following the birth of his daughter. 

Smith actually led 2-0 against the World No.1 but then proceeded to miss several key doubles as he allowed Van Gerwen to get back and then take control. 

The St Helens man had beaten Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-2, then won the all Unicorn clash with Joe Cullen by the same score and he edged out Robert Owen in a last leg decider in the quarter-finals. 

Kyle Anderson looked in great nick. He averaged 109 in beating Justin Pipe 6-4 in a high quality 1st Round match. He followed that with an average of 100 as he saw off Mervyn King, but the Aussie ace then ran into an inspired Van Gerwen. The Dutchman winning 6-1 with a 108 average. 

Elsewhere, Ian White and Kim Huybrechts lost in round two against John Henderson and Christian Kist respectively, while Ronny Huybrechts went out in the 1st Round to Henderson. 

And a special mention for Unicorn's young German starlet Nico Blum. He played superbly on the big stage in Maastricht but was edged out 6-4 by Beaton.....however, more evidence of what is to come from Blum.

By STUART PYKE 

Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PC