ST HELENS thrower Michael Smith and his opponent Gary Anderson will have first crack at reaching the 2020 Betfred World Matchplay Final.

Their head-to-head at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes this evening will start at 8pm, with the second semi-final between Glen Durrant and Dimitri Van den Bergh to follow.

Although the tournament continues to be staged behind closed doors as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, darts fans will be able to watch the action live on Sky Sports.

They will all be bidding for a place in Sunday night's final and the £150,000 winner's prize.

Clock Face's former St Cuthbert's High School student Smith, 29, nicknamed Bully Boy, was defeated in the final in 2019 by Rob Cross.

How Smith and Anderson have reached the semi-finals:

Michael Smith (seeded fifth):

Round One (32 entrants): Michael Smith 10 Jonny Clayton 3

St Helens Star:

All pictures by Lawrence Lustig

Round Two (last 16): Michael Smith 14 Mensur Suljovic 12

Quarter-final: Krzysztof Ratajski 13 Michael Smith 16

Gary Anderson (seeded eighth):

Round One (32 entrants): Gary Anderson 10 Justin Pipe 5

Round Two (last 16): Gary Anderson 11 James Wade 8

Quarter-final: Simon Whitlock 12 Gary Anderson 16

St Helens Star:

Any significant previous meetings?

Scotsman Anderson is a former teammate of Smith under the management of Tommy Gilmour MBE, of Dunvegan Darts, where Smith was mentored by Anderson.

They met in the 2018 Premier League play-offs, with Smith winning and progressing to the final where he lost 11-4 against Michael van Gerwen.

Were Smith and Anderson expected to get this far?

Pre-tournament winner odds with Betfred:

13/8 Michael van Gerwen

6/1 Peter Wright

13/2 Gerwyn Price

10/1 Nathan Aspinall

14/1 Gary Anderson

20/1 Michael Smith, Rob Cross

25/1 Glen Durrant

33/1 Krzysztof Ratajski, Dave Chisnall

40/1 Jose De Sousa, Ian White, Daryl Gurney, James Wade

50/1 Mensur Suljovic

66/1 Gabriel Clemens

80/1 Jonny Clayton, Jeffrey de Zwaan

100/1 Danny Noppert, Joe Cullen, Dimitri Van den Bergh, Adrian Lewis

What Bully Boy said after winning his 2020 Betfred World Matchplay quarter-final

How have they performed in the World Matchplay before?

Smith's runner-up position last year was his best effort.

He had reached the last 16 on three previous occasions, gone out in the first round three times.

Anderson, 49, won the event in 2018, bowed out in the semi-finals twice, exited at the second-round stage on six occasions, overhauled in the first round twice.

St Helens' pride, Bully Boy, honours board:

St Helens Star:


World Championship runner up: 2019

World Matchplay runner up: 2019

World Grand Prix last 16: 2015, 2019

Grand Slam semi final: 2015

Premier League runner up: 2018

European Champioship semi final: 2019

UK Open semi final: 2019

Players Championship finals, last 16: 2012, 2015, 2019

Masters runner up: 2020

Champions League semi final: 2019


PDC World Youth Championship: 2013

PDC Youth Tour England: 2012 (x5)

UK Open Qualifier: 2011, 2015, 2018

European Tour Events:

European Darts Trophy: 2014, 2015

Gibraltar Darts Trophy: 2017

International Darts Open : 2015

Players Championships:

Players Championship (SPA): 2012

Players Championship (BAR): 2018

World Series of Darts:

Shanghai Darts Masters: 2018

What's the format for tonight's semi-finals?

St Helens Star:

Best of 33 legs, each game must be won by two clear legs, with up to a maximum of five additional legs being played before the sixth additional leg is sudden-death. For example, should a Semi-Final (best of 33 legs) reach 19-19, then the 39th leg would be the final and deciding leg.

How did tonight's second semi-final come about?

Glen Durrant and Dimitri Van den Bergh set up their tantalising semi-final at the Betfred World Matchplay with gutsy victories over Vincent van der Voort and Adrian Lewis on Friday.

Durrant secured his spot in the last four for a second successive year with a memorable comeback from 10-5 down to eventually see off Van der Voort 18-16 in a tie-break.

Van den Bergh, meanwhile, held off Adrian Lewis' fightback from 8-2 down to claim a 16-12 win and reach the semi-finals on his debut in the World Matchplay.