MICHAEL Smith set his sights on the play-offs after continuing an encouraging start to the Premier League season with a 7-4 win against Daryl Gurney, writes Andrew Simpson.

The St Helens star is one of only two players, along with Australian ace Simon Whitlock, to have maximum points after the first two rounds.

“I’m in the top-four and that’s where I want to stay – that’s the aim,” said Smith following his success in Cardiff on Thursday.

“I’m fed up with being second-best, or third or fourth, and I’m doing everything I can to win now.

“I have to in any case because I’ve a wedding to pay for!”

The former World Youth champion raced into a 3-0 lead after finishing 70 and 72 either side of a majestic 124 checkout on the bull that broke his opponent’s throw.

Gurney rallied impressively to restore parity at 3-3, although Smith missed a chance to break again in the fifth leg after missing with three attempts at double.

The rivals traded the next two legs before Smith followed up tops in the ninth leg by punishing four fluffed darts from the World Grand Prix champion to move 6-4 up.

The Irishman landed another 180 in the next leg only to miss bullseye for a 121 finish and Smith cleaned up 64.

“I’m happy, and feel I can celebrate more than I could last week," added Smith, who also won a UK Open qualifier on Sunday.

“I could have made it easier after missing three darts at double 18 in the fifth leg and I missed a couple at tops later too.

“However I might have lost as well.

“To be on four points after two weeks is great though – I’m over the moon.”

Elsewhere Peter Wright claimed a first Premier League victory over Michael van Gerwen when he edged the defending champion 7-5 in their head-to-head.

Simon Whitlock punished eight failed attempts at double by Rob Cross to inflict a 7-1 defeat on the world champion, while Gary Anderson brushed aside Welshman Gerwyn Price in front of his home crowd.

Raymond van Barneveld also maintained an unbeaten start to the 2018 season when he fended off Mensur Suljovic.

The Austrian, making his debut, takes on Smith in Newcastle next Thursday.


Unibet Premier League

Week Two

Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Michael Smith 7-4 Daryl Gurney

Rob Cross 1-7 Simon Whitlock

Michael van Gerwen 5-7 Peter Wright

Gerwyn Price 3-7 Gary Anderson

Raymond van Barneveld 7-5 Mensur Suljovic