Michael Smith looks ahead to Cazoo Masters after missing out on Nordic darts title

Bully Boy will be back on the oche this weekend in the second round of the Cazoo Masters.

Michael Smith is human after all! The St Helens world darts champion was beaten 11-8 by Peter Wright in the semi-final of the Viaplay Nordic Masters in Copenhagen at the weekend.

It was only his second defeat in 20 matches and came after he had claimed the top title in the sport, the Bahrain Masters, the Grand Slam, and also being elevated to No.1 in the world.

A whirlwind last few months may have caught up with Bully Bull after a tiring and exhausting schedule, both on and off the oche, and he didn’t have the guile and momentum to topple his Scottish rival who beat him in the 2002 world championship.

Despite Smith going into this one in a rich vein of form, it was Snakebite who raced into an early lead, picking up each of the first four legs.

A lapse in concentration from Wright, missing the big seven, saw him only get a single dart at double for a 5-0 lead, one which he couldn’t take to leave Smith to mop up and get on the board.

A 12-dart break of throw finished on 99 restored Wright’s four leg lead after the resumption but the St Helens lad came roaring back, reeling off the next four legs to end the second session back on level terms at 5-5.

A flurry of breaks of throw to begin the third session came to an end with Wright the one to hold throw and gain the advantage.

The former world champion finished the session with a 9-6 lead and went on to clinch a 11-8 victory.

Smith will be back on the oche this weekend when he faces either Aussie Damon Hela or Ross Smith in the second round of the Cazoo Masters at Milton Keynes on Saturday but two of his local rivals will be in action on Friday in round one.

Dave Chisnall takes on Ryan Searle and Stephen Bunting locks horns with Nathan Aspinall. The three-day tournament will also be available on ITV 4.

Smith’s unbelievable form in recent months means that he is an automatic qualifier for the Premier League which starts next month, along with Peter Wright, Michael van Gerwen and Gerwyn Price.