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Premier League Darts: Michael Smith shows nerves of steel to bag semi-final with Sheffield victory

A tearful Michael Smith put his friendship aside to win his Premier League shootout with Nathan Aspinall and qualify for next week’s play-offs at the O2 Arena.

The 2023 world champion beat his good friend Aspinall 6-3 in the quarter-final of the final round of the league phase in Sheffield to join Luke Littler, Luke Humphries and Michael van Gerwen in London.

Smith went on to celebrate his progression in style by winning Night 16 in the Steel City after seeing off Littler in the semi-finals and Humphries in the final.

But it was job done after his opening win against Aspinall, who he recently went on holiday with, which came largely thanks to a memorable bull, bull, double 16 combination on a 132 checkout.

Smith was apologetic after ending his mate’s hopes of making the play-offs and was in tears.

“It’s a bit overwhelming,” he said after beating Aspinall. “I’m crying more than I did when I won the worlds. It must have been good.

“That 132, I knew that would have hurt him. I wanted to do cartwheels and back flips but because it was Nathan I had to keep calm and respectful.

“I apologised to him, I wanted him there with me, it’s hard. But I’m really chuffed.

“It does feel good to win, I said ahead of the semi-finals I had nothing left.”

Smith’s semi-final win over Littler will stand him in good stead for next week’s play-off semi-final between the two, but the teenager ensured he topped the league table thanks to his quarter-final win over Peter Wright.

Littler also created a new record as his points tally of 42 is the highest posted in this format of the Premier League.

Humphries will play Van Gerwen in the other semi-final next week.

Wright won just two matches in the 16 weekly nights and with his results declining over the last year, this may end up being his final Premier League campaign.

Gerwyn Price also cast doubt over whether he will play in the event again after his quarter-final loss to Humphries.

“So happy that’s done and dusted, end of the Premier League for me now,” he said on Instagram. “Looking forward to putting my full attention to ranked events from now on. Would love to say I’ve enjoyed it but I’d be lying. #nomore.”

Photo Credit: Simon O'Connor./PDC

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