Grand Slam of Darts: Michael Smith dazzles to seal second-round spot
Written by News on 10/11/2019
Michael Smith served up the display of the tournament so far to beat Nathan Aspinall and book his place in the knockout stages of the Grand Slam of Darts.
On an afternoon of tungsten tension, Smith was one of three players to book their place in the second round with a game to spare, Dave Chisnall and Gabriel Clemens joining Bully Boy while results mean that on Monday night there will be three shootouts to decide who joins them.
Smith, who fell one dart short of a nine-dart finish on Saturday, raced into a 4-1 with an average of 118 and was staring at a new tournament record, only to fall agonisingly short.
Phil Taylor’s 114.65 is the Grand Slam’s high watermark and a missed dart at double four cost Bully Boy a chance of beating it but at 4-1 in front, he mopped up on double two to claim the win and a place in the second round.
It meant Smith’s average dropped to the third highest in the competition’s history while Aspinall, who averaged 104 and went six darts of the way towards a nine-darter of his own in that final leg, is left facing a shootout against Glen Durrant.
Duzza was forced to dig deep to see off Martin Schindler, a 5-4 win for three-time BDO world champion Durrant, which means the winner of his showdown with The Asp will join Smith in progressing.
At 4-2 down, back-to-back 84 finishes brought Durrant level and as he survived missed match darts from Schindler, he was handed a chance of a priceless win which he took at the fifth time of asking.
Another shootout awaits in Group E, after Chisnall beat Rob Cross to advance and leave Voltage with a winner-takes-all contest against Jamie Hughes, who beat Lisa Ashton to end her hopes of moving on in her Grand Slam debut.
Chizzy and Cross traded big scores and missed darts at double in a quickfire affair but it was Chisnall who kept his nose in front throughout to seal a 5-3 win.
In the group’s other game it wasn’t to be for Ashton, who slipped 3-0 down before frittered chances from Hughes allowed the four-time BDO women’s champion to get on the board and find her range.
Inspired, she fired in her first 180 of the contest only to see Hughes hit back with his third maximum and a clinical 41 finish to establish his three-leg lead and then close out the match for a 5-1 victory.
A fearsome display of finishing put Peter Wright in pole position to qualify from Group F with a 5-2 win over Ryan Harrington his second victory of the weekend.
Having averaged close to 100 in a 5-2 win over Wayne Warren, Snakebite averaged 101 and took out three 100+ finishes in a hugely impressive win over the world No 95 Harrington, who had stayed in touch until a game-changing 124 finish in the sixth leg of the contest.
Harrington, son of two-time Matchplay champion Rod, still has a chance a major televised last-16 spot but he will need to beat Warren on Monday night while Snakebite still needs a win himself to progress.
Wright will face Danny Noppert who picked up his own first win of the tournament, beating Warren 5-1 – a defeat that means Warren’s hopes are hanging by a thread and only a heavy win against Harrington will give him any chance of advancing.
In Group G, Gabriel Clemens became the first player to book his place in the last 16, beating Daryl Gurney to leave Superchin facing a shootout against Brendan Dolan on Monday night.
The German Giant, 48th on the Order of Merit, came out on top in a high-quality contest against the world No 6 who had looked to have weathered an early storm.
Clemens had got himself into the lead with a brilliant 106 the high-point of a 3-2 advantage abut Gurney, averaging close to 110, turned things around to lead 4-3. A nerveless 77 allowed Clemens to break and then a superb 12-dart hold gave him the match and a place in the knockout stage.
Gurney now faces a must-win contest against Dolan, after the History Maker recovered from a 5-1 defeat to Clemens himself to beat Richard Veenstra 5-1 – a result that means the BDO No 2 cannot qualify for the second round.
Veenstra took his first leg of the tournament to open the match but Dolan reeled off five on the bounce to secure the win.
Follow the conclusion of the group stages on Monday, with the final matches in Groups E-H – coverage is underway on Sky Sports Action and Main Event from 7pm and via our live blogs at www,skysports.com/darts
(c) Sky Sports 2019: Grand Slam of Darts: Michael Smith dazzles to seal second-round spot