Merseyside darter Michael Smith won his first ever Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) major trophy in the Grand Slam of Darts 2022 on Sunday (November 20). The St Helens star triumphed over Stockport’s Nathan Aspinall by 16-5 at Wolverhampton’s Aldersley Leisure Village.
Smith ended his major title duck and a run of eight consecutive defeats in major finals. The 32-year-old had already featured in three prior televised finals in 2022, having succumbed to losses at the World Championship, UK Open and European Championships.
Bully Boy averaged 96, landed nine 180s and converted half of his shots at double to seal a landmark premiere title. Smith takes home a lump sum of £100,000 to become the seventh different winner of the Grand Slam of Darts, remaining fourth in the world on the Order of Merit.
His difficult road to the final in the West Midlands included tricky ties against the likes of Raymond van Barneveld, Joe Cullen and Rob Cross. Smith was initially drawn in Group C alongside Richie Edhouse and Lisa Ashton.
Over the course of the first to 16 legs Grand Slam final, Smith emphatically outscored and outdoubled Aspinall. Key moments include wiring a dart for what would have been a roof raising 145 checkout, as well as taking out 84 in two darts during a crucial 15th leg which also saw Aspinall just miss out on a huge 138 finish.
In his post-match interview, which was broadcast live on Sky Sports, an emotionally jubilant Michael Smith joked: “I’m used to giving the runner-up speech, I was so nervous. In the first few legs I was shaking like mad, but then Nathan started to miss doubles and let me in.
“Nathan is a quality player and if he had got going it would have been a totally different game. Every time I got a shot I took it out, and then I started to find my scoring but my doubles stayed, so happy days!”
After his maiden title, Smith is aiming to not only make it back-to-back titles with the Cazoo Players Championships Finals in Maidenhead later this week, but also in December’s infamous World Darts Championship 2023. Smith said: “The hard work starts again now, nobody can take this away from me. It’s a big weight off my shoulders. I am going to enjoy this until Thursday and then on Friday it is a new event. Now I have this title, so who knows?”