Premier League: Rise of Michael Smith set to continue in Newcastle

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It might not have been the welcome into Premier League Darts that Michael Smith will have hoped for last week, but ‘Bully Boy’ looks in great shape to bounce back in Newcastle this week.

The 25-year-old played twice in Leeds as a result of Gary Anderson’s illness, suffering heavy defeats to Peter Wright and Adrian Lewis on his debut in the event.

However the St Helens resident is undoubtedly a bright spark in the world of darts and his stock is only going to rise, potentially starting on Thursday when he takes on Robert Thornton.

The aforementioned Anderson is not only the defending champion but has also taking Smith under his wing in a mentor capacity, and believes the youngster can go all the way to the top.

“There won’t be many people who teach him a few lessons on the oche,” Anderson said before last week’s opener.

“You talk about your Van Gerwens – this boy is different class. He’s not actually shown it yet.

“You think he’s good now – I know what he’s like off the stage. Nine-darters come for fun for him,” the Scot declared.

After the disappointment of his double defeat last week Smith took in the UK Open Qualifiers over the weekend and looks to be coming into the next round of fixtures in excellent form.

He reached the quarter-finals on the day, picking up 6-0, 6-1, 6-3 and 6-4 victories along the way, the latter providing a small amount of revenge over Adrian Lewis.

But it was the opening fixture that looks to have pleased the man himself most.

Those figures translate into an three-dart average of a whopping 132, one that would undoubtedly stand him good stead against the world’s biggest players.

Smith is looking to use the big scoring weekend as a spring-board to success in the coming months.

He has reached the quarter-finals in both the World Championships and The Masters in the past 12 months and a deep run into many other tournaments this term is surely on the cards.

The 2013 PDC Under 21 World Champion is 6/1 to reach the semi-finals in the Premier League in his maiden year in the event, but victory against Thornton at the Metro Radio Arena will be needed if he is to stand a chance.

But with a 3-1 head-to-head record against the Scot, who himself was on the end of a humiliating defeat last week (7-0 to Dave Chisnall), Smith can continue to rise up the ranks starting with his first win on the Premier League stage.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.