Michael Smith has almost certainly done enough to book his spot at the Premier League play-offs in London.

Despite losing 7-1 to Michael van Gerwen in Manchester, the Unicorn star thrashed Peter Wright by the same score earlier in the night and is now on 18 points which looks like being enough to reach the O2.

One more point would guarantee it, but his far superior leg difference should mean it’s job done, barring a darting miracle from Daryl Gurney!

But Gary Anderson missed the chance to secure his qualification for the semis as he slipped to a disappointing defeat against already eliminated Simon Whitlock.

Smith was sensational as he thrashed Wright in the opening match of the night. He hit a maximum in each of the first four legs as he raced into a 4-0 lead. The Unicorn ace started with 11 and 13 dart legs and also took out a superb 128 before his opponent got on the board.

Smith wasn’t finished with the big finishes and a 126 on the bull took him to the verge of victory, before a cool 69 check-out clinched the 7-1 win....an average of 105 and 7/10 on the doubles.

In complete contrast though, the St Helens star couldn’t buy a double against Van Gerwen and that cost him.

But Anderson fluffed his lines. In the end a draw would have been enough to book that ticket to Finals Night at the O2. He was below par. There were key missed doubles, a miscount and an average of only 94.

He was 0-2 and 2-4 down but hit back to level. Anderson though missed three darts to break for the lead. The Aussie cashed in to move 6-4 up. Gary then took out a brilliant 135 on the bull to stay alive.

He had the darts in the decider but missed one dart at ‘tops’ for a 111 finish to snatch the all-important point and Whitlock nailed the same target to win it.

Anderson plays Van Barneveld and Van Gerwen over the next fortnight with some work still to do.

Manchester results:

Peter Wright 1-7 Michael Smith

Daryl Gurney 6-6 Michael van Gerwen

Simon Whitlock 7-5 Gary Anderson

Raymond van Barneveld 6-6 Rob Cross

Michael Smith 1-7 Michael van Gerwen

PL Table:

1 - Michael van Gerwen 21pts

2 - Michael Smith 18pts

3 - Rob Cross 18pts

4 - Gary Anderson 17pts

5 - Daryl Gurney 14pts

6 - Raymond van Barneveld 13pts

7 - Simon Whitlock 12pts

8 - Peter Wright 11pts

Story from STUART PYKE in Manchester


Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC