Life can be tough at the top of the darts tree as Michael Smith discovered when he bowed out of the Cazoo Masters against Georgie pal Chris Dobey at Milton Keynes over the weekend.
The recently crowned world champion cleared the first two hurdles at the expense of namesake Ross Smith (10-7) and Danny Noppert (10-5) but didn’t seem to be at the races as he fell at the penultimate hurdle to Beddington’s deadly Dobey who claimed his first-ever TV title.
The St Helens ace of the oche had clearly left his best form at home but after a winning streak in the early part of the year maybe fatigue had set in and when one considers the mileage top darts players clock up in the course of 12 months, it is hardly surprising.
His two St Helens rivals, Dave Chisnall and Stephen Bunting, both cleared the first obstacle against Ryan Searle (6-5) and Nathan Aspinall (10-9) respectively but it turned out to be the end of the road for the local duo. Chizzy went down 10-7 to two-times world champion Peter Wright and The Bullet lost 10-7 against Dutchman Noppert .