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Dublin: 7°C Sunday 18 April 2021

Michael Smith lit up the 3Arena last night with this nine-dart finish

Smith’s perfect leg was the first in the Premier League for three years.

Nine-darter helped Smith to victory over Daryl Gurney.
Nine-darter helped Smith to victory over Daryl Gurney.

MICHAEL SMITH THREW the first Premier League nine-darter for three years during his 7-5 win over Daryl Gurney in Dublin.

Smith sent the crowd into a frenzy when checking out with double 12 in the fourth leg, leading to a handshake and a hug from Northern Irishman Gurney.

It was only the ninth perfect leg in what is the 16th Premier League season.

The darts went with throw over the first 10 legs, with Smith constantly pegging Gurney back until striking a crucial break in leg 11, allowing him to complete the win and leave his opponent rooted to the foot of the table without a victory.

The raucous scenes for Smith’s nine-dart feat only just overshadowed those for the entrance of local hero William O’Connor, making his Premier League debut as one of the ‘challengers’ in this year’s event.

O’Connor, who took the Republic of Ireland to their first World Cup of Darts final in 2019, helped whip the sell-out 9,000 crowd into a frenzy as he orchestrated them in singing his walk-on song, ‘Zombie’ by The Cranberries.

There was no fairytale ending for O’Connor, though, as he suffered a 7-4 loss to world number one and five-time Premier League champion Michael Van Gerwen.

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O’Connor trailed 2-0 and 3-1 early on, but had the crowd on their feet when he drew level at 3-3, only for Van Gerwen’s class to prove the difference and see him over the line to regain the lead at the top of the standings.

Earlier in the evening, Nathan Aspinall had briefly jumped to the summit following his 7-5 victory over previously unbeaten leader Glen Durrant.

In a clash of two former world champions, Gary Anderson enjoyed a 7-5 success over Rob Cross. 

Reigning world champion Peter Wright suffered an embarrassing 7-1 defeat to Gerwyn Price, as the Welshman finally won his first game of the tournament.

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