Smith wins Euro thriller!

It is a first European Championship quarter-final for Unicorn star Michael Smith.

But he had to dig deep to finally see off Benito van de Pas in a last leg decider and he will now face Rob Cross on Sunday for a spot in the semi-finals. 

Smith led 6-2 and 8-4 and missed match darts before getting over the line in Hasselt on Saturday night. 

"It was a real battle," he said. "In the end it was all about sticking at it. I have managed to learn a lesson or two this year about keeping my head in deciding legs and now I have to use this as a platform to keep winning."

It looked like the St Helens star was on his way to a comfortable win against the Dutchman. From 2-2, Smith reeled off four legs on the spin to take control. Van de Pas kept in it but when Smith nailed a superb 90 finish to move 8-4 in front, it looked all over. 

However a few nerves set in as Van de Pas edged his way back into the match. The 16th leg was vital. Smith missed three darts at D5 then his opponent blew three darts to make it eight legs apiece, before Smith nailed a huge D2 to make it 9-7.

A fourth 180 gave Smith a chance and he narrowly missed D11 for a 124 check-out to win it 10-7. Van de Pas won the leg. Then the Unicorn man missed a dart at 'tops' to win 10-8 to allow the Dutchman to force the deciding leg. 

Van de Pas had the throw in that last leg, but Smith hung on and then produced a magnificent 118 finish to win it in dramatic fashion!

It is only Smith's 5th 'Major' TV quarter-final.....hopefully he can make it through to a second TV semi-final. 

Saturday 2nd Round results:

Michael Smith 10-9 Benito van de Pas

Rob Cross 10-7 Dave Chisnall

Stephen Bunting 6-10 Daryl Gurney

Peter Wright 10-8 Jonny Clayton

Sunday Q/Finals (best of 19 legs):

Kyle Anderson v Mensur Suljovic

Michael Smith v Rob Cross

Michael van Gerwen v Simon Whitlock

Peter Wright v Daryl Gurney 

By STUART PYKE in Hasselt 

Photo courtesy PDC