GLASGOW GLORY AS SMITH OPENS 2023 CAZOO PREMIER LEAGUE ACCOUNT
Michael Smith won his first Cazoo Premier League night of 2023 by defeating Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-4 in Thursday's Glasgow final at the OVO Hydro.
The World Champion had seen Chris Dobey and Gerwyn Price claim victory in the Premier League's opening two weeks, but delighted a packed Hydro to scoop the 10,000 pound bonus and five valuable league points.
World number one Smith was too strong for Price in his quarter-final tie in Glasgow, before coming from 4-2 down to win his semi-final against another Welshman, Jonny Clayton, in a deciding leg.
However, he saved his best display for the final to average 109.42 in moving to the top of the league table.
Smith led 2-0 and 3-1 before Van den Bergh took out 86 on the bull to respond - only for the Grand Slam of Darts winner to power in a 140 finish for a 12-darter.
Van den Bergh produced legs of 13 and 14 darts to pull back to 5-4, but Smith ended his hopes on double ten to complete a memorable night in Scotland.
"I'm delighted - I just want to win nights like this," said Smith, who had to wait until Night 16 to claim a nightly win last year.
"At least I didn't have to wait until Week 16 to get my win! Apart from the Gezzy game, I felt good tonight.
"I was more nervous playing Gezzy because he won last week. He was up for it but I managed to pull through, and then against Jonny I had a 100 average.
"I had a few dodgy legs on doubles but everything else felt really good, and I had to keep believing in what I've been doing.
"Obviously I want to make the top four, I want to be in the finals night and I want to keep winning. I know I can't win every game I play, but when I'm playing well I know I can win and that's what the Premier League's about."
Van den Bergh had defeated Scotland's Peter Wright in their quarter-final tie with a 6-4 success, before producing a sensational display in the semis.
The Belgian defeated Nathan Aspinall 6-1 with a 105.73 average to thrill the Glasgow crowd, but was unable to reproduce that performance in the decider against an inspired Smith.
Wright is now the only player not to have claimed a league point yet after his winless run continued in Glasgow, where Clayton picked up his first victory as he averaged 103 in a 6-1 defeat of Night One winner Dobey.
Michael van Gerwen was the night's other quarter-final loser, with the reigning Premier League champion landing a 170 checkout as he came from 4-1 down to force a deciding leg against Aspinall, who edged the tie's 11th leg.
The Cazoo Premier League continues on Thursday February 23 with Night Four at Dublin's 3Arena, where Smith will take on world number two Wright.
Van Gerwen faces Dobey, Price meets Van den Bergh and Clayton plays Aspinall in front of a sell-out Irish crowd.
The 2023 Cazoo Premier League will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK & Ireland, through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN, Viaplay and VTM, and on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers.