Michael Smith clinched his second nightly victory of this year’s Cazoo Premier League on Thursday, reigniting his Play-Off aspirations with a superb 6-4 success against league leader Gerwyn Price in Leeds.
Smith slipped out of the top four places for the first time since Night Two following his quarter-final defeat to Price in Rotterdam last Thursday, but he delivered an emphatic riposte on Night 13 at the First Direct Arena.
The World Champion breezed through to his fifth weekly final of the campaign in comprehensive fashion, relinquishing just three legs in dispatching Chris Dobey and Peter Wright.
Smith averaged 105 in his quarter-final demolition of Dobey, landing five 180s and threatening a nine-darter before wrapping up a 6-1 success.
The 2018 runner-up then punished a below-par display to rout Wright 6-2 in the semi-finals, crashing in another five 180s and sealing his progression with a spectacular 164 checkout.
This set up a showdown against league leader Price, but Smith avoided a third straight defeat against the Welshman, producing a stellar display to scoop the £10,000 winner’s bonus in West Yorkshire.
The world number one fired in legs of 13 and 11 darts to race into a 2-0 lead, and while Price halved the deficit with a 12-dart hold in leg three, Smith maintained his two-leg buffer with successive holds.
Price conjured up an effortless 148 combination on tops to reduce the arrears to 4-3, although the St Helens star was undeterred, rounding off 13 and 14-dart legs in the latter stages to secure a precious five points.
“This was a big night for me,” reflected Smith, who averaged 104 to topple Price and move four points clear of fifth-placed Jonny Clayton.
“If I had lost against Chris tonight, I think my top four chances would have been a bit bleak, so to come to Leeds and get five points, it feels massive.
“I just hope I can play like this every week. I only seem to do it when I need to. This is a learning curve for me.
“Three or four years ago I wouldn’t have done that tonight. Now I’m able to fight and battle which you have to do when you’re playing the best players in the world, like Gezzy.
“I showed what I can do. I had to fight for everything and luckily that got me over the line.”