Smith Off and Running With Whitewash Win

Michael Smith began his bid for the coveted Sid Waddell Trophy with a whitewash win over Northern Ireland’s Nathan Rafferty at the 2022/23 Cazoo World Darts Championship on Friday night.

Fourth seed Smith put down a marker on Day Two at Alexandra Palace, winning nine straight legs to secure his place in round three with a 96 average, three 180s and finishes of 114 and 130.

Friday’s action also saw two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis impress in his opener, while William O’Connor produced a classy display to defeat teenage trailblazer Beau Greaves.

However, Smith – who lifted his first televised ranking title at last month’s Grand Slam of Darts – continued his fine form to confirm his post-Christmas return.

The St Helens star took out 114 in claiming the opening set without reply, and the second set followed a similar pattern, as Rafferty toiled on the outer ring.

Smith upped the ante in the closing stages, firing in six perfect darts to threaten the first nine-darter of this year’s showpiece, before producing a majestic 130 finish on the bull to triumph in style.

“Nathan struggled up there and I had to take advantage of that,” reflected the two-time World Championship runner-up.

“I’m playing well and I think everyone knows if I continue to play well, it’s going to take someone special to beat me.”


Images: Taylor Lanning / PDC

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