Unstoppable Smith steals the show in Manchester - Night 14 Premier League Darts review

Published on 5 May 2023 at 20:00

After playing in Leeds last time out, week 14 of this year's Premier League would take the short trip to Manchester. With a few local lads taking to the ochie and a jam-packed AO Arena, the stage was set for the best arrow-smiths in the world to put on a show.


Quarter Finals

Jonny Clayton 6 - 5 Peter Wright

After a disappointing display last week, Clayton would be looking to bounce back against bottom of the table Wright. 'Stand up if you love the darts" echoed around the arena as the pair did their practice throws, the crowd were up for it, but were the players? It was Wright who started the match better, breaking Clayton's throw in the first leg, however Clayton would break back shortly after, capitalising on some missed doubles from Wright. With both players throwing steadily, the contest would eventually go to a decider. Clayton held his nerve to win the leg on his throw and advance to the next round.

180s: Clayton 2 - 2 Wright

Averages: Clayton 91.65 - 89.21 Wright


Chris Dobey 6 - 2 Dimitri Van Den Bergh

It would be 6th against 7th in the second match of the night, where Van Den Bergh would be hoping to emulate the success of his friend and countryman, Luca Brecel, who won the World Snooker Championship earlier in the week. He got off to a flyer in the match, breaking Dobey's throw in the first leg then throwing six perfect darts in the second to go 2-0 up. However, Dobey then woke up, reeling off six legs in a row to win the match and keep his playoff hopes alive. 

180s: Dobey 6 - 3 Van Den Bergh

Averages: Dobey 102.16 - 95.02 Van Den Bergh


Michael Smith 6 - 3 Nathan Aspinall

Whilst the standout quarter final of the night on paper was Van Gerwen v Price, it was clear that Stockport's Nathan Aspinall and St Helens' Michael Smith was the local derby the crowd wanted to see. Smith, who was last weeks winner in Leeds, looked to be picking up from where he left off, winning the first three legs, two of which were against the throw. As you'd expect Aspinall fought to the bitter end and had moments of brilliance himself but 'Bully Boy' was just too much for him on the day and won the match comfortably.

180s: Smith 2 - 1 Aspinall

Averages: Smith 93.37 - 88.46 Aspinall


Michael Van Gerwen 6 - 2 Gerwyn Price

"Ohh Michael van Gerwen" had been sung by the crowd throughout the previous matches, therefore it was no surprise where their loyalties lay ahead of this encounter. MVG got off to a fast start, breaking Price's throw in the second leg with an 11-darter. He then broke again in the fourth leg and it looked like a whitewash could be on the cards. Price hadn't even played badly and was averaging well over 100 and deservedly won a few legs towards the end of the match. But the damage was already done as a rampant MVG booked his place in the semi-final.

180s: Van Gerwen 5 - 3 Price

Averages: Van Gerwen 103.10 - 104.42 Price


Semi Finals

Jonny Clayton 6 - 3 Chris Dobey

After impressive performances in their quarter final contests, it would've been tough to predict a winner between these two pre-match. Clayton started the better as he broke Dobey early with some good early checkouts.  Dobey was still playing well, and lived up to his 'Hollywood' nickname with a 170 finish in the fourth leg, only the third 'big fish' hit in this year's competition. The Geordie then managed to claw it back to 4-3, to cancel out Clayton's earlier break. Despite this, Clayton, who has the best doubling stats of any player in this year's Premier League and showcased it in the latter stages of the match. 'The Ferret' complained last week about 'gale forced winds' on stage but had no such problems this week, as he breezed through to the final.

180s: Clayton 0 - 1 Dobey

Averages: Clayton 93.93 - 96.60 Dobey


Michael Smith 6 - 4 Michael Van Gerwen

The penultimate match of the night would be a repeat of the 2023 World Championship Final and with both players in scintillating form in their quarter final matches, the winner would strongly fancy their chances in the final. In a game played at a incredibly fast pace, it was Van Gerwen who blinked first as Smith broke his throw in the second leg. However, this was short-lived as MVG broke back in the next leg. There was nothing to split the pair until the tenth leg, where Van Gerwen was 5-4 down but had the darts. He missed his 132 checkout and Smith capitalised with a sublime 116 finish to win the match.

180s: Smith 1 - 1 Van Gerwen

Averages: Smith 91.62 - 99.40 Van Gerwen



Michael Smith 6 - 3 Jonny Clayton

Last week, Smith faced Gerwyn Price in the final as the underdog according to the bookies, however this week, 'Bully Boy' was strong favourite. He showed why as he opened the match with a stunning 11 dart leg to go 1-0 up. Clayton kept up with Smith until the 5th leg where the Englishman threw eight perfect darts and so narrowly missed double 12, which would've blown the roof off the Arena. But Smith wasn't done, in the very next leg he threw two 180s again to give himself a chance at the nine. This time he unfortunately missed the treble 20 on the next visit but effectively four 180s in a row shows just the kind of form Smith is now and was reminiscent of the legendary 17 perfect darts thrown by Michael van Gerwen at the 2013 World Championships. After this, there was only one winner as Smith closed the match out for back-to-back Premier League nights won. 

180s: Smith 5 - 0 Clayton

Averages: Smith 110.05 - 96.08 Clayton



As we approach the business end of the Premier League, the table is beginning to take shape. Michael Smith has now solidified his place in the playoffs and may even overtake Van Gerwen or Price in the table, which at one point looked a two horse race for top spot. It was also a good night for Jonny Clayton who overtook Nathan Aspinall in the race for fourth spot, but only on 'nights won.' At the other end of the table, despite playing well on the night, Chris Dobey won't be reaching the playoffs in his debut season. Dimitri Van Dan Bergh also kissed goodbye to any playoff hopes, this year's Premier League has been more like a nightmare for 'The Dreammaker.'


Points won: Smith - 5

                     Clayton - 3

                     Dobey - 2 

                     Van Gerwen - 2


Night 14 Statistics

Most 180s: Michael Smith 8

Highest Checkout: Chris Dobey 170

Night's Average: 96.14

Total 180s: 32


Alistair Gordon 


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