By all accounts, Michael Smith had a successful 2018 season.

As well as winning two tournaments on the floor, Smith prevailed at the Shanghai Darts Masters. He became a Premier League finalist, two years after bombing out on debut. A run at the World Series Finals ended in despair, with missed match darts in the final. To top it off, Smith made it to the biggest game of them all. But in the World Championship final on New Year’s Day, it would be Michael van Gerwen who took home the Sid Waddell Trophy. Now one of the PDC’s established top guns, Smith has more belief than ever.

“I’m glad I played well especially after my performances in my previous Premier League. I always believed I’ll win on TV and I know I won in Shanghai which gave me a mini boost but my time will come and I’m 100% sure of that,” he told Josh’s Dartistry.

“I’ve not practiced at all, I’ve just put my darts away and forgot about them. It’s the only time I’ve had to myself without looking at a treble or double; it’s been great.

“I’ve not had any time to reflect on what I’ve done last year and the Worlds. I’ve not been able to sit down and look at the trophy because it still makes me depressed.”

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Stability

Smith has become a much more stable figure on the oche than in his early days. He cites his family as the main inspiration for calming down. Having married long-term partner Dagmara in January, and with children to support, the 28-year-old has found it necessary to mature.

“I have two kids, a wife now and a zoo at home and they’re expensive to keep so I can’t afford to be a baby while playing,” he mused.

“At this moment I’m happy because I’ve had four weeks with them and now its work time and I’m always ready to go and play but in a month or two I’ll want to be at home.

“But Junior is mad on the darts so that gives me confidence in that I have to win or he won’t let me come home!”

Progression

The Masters officially kicked off the season. But Smith’s 2019 campaign begins in earnest on Night One of the Premier League in Newcastle. On Thursday he faces van Gerwen, who pipped him to the World Championship title. Despite that, the watchword for Smith isn’t revenge, but progression.

“I’m just looking forward to getting back on the grind and getting as many wins as I can,” said the Bully Boy.

“Everyone has targets and every year mine is to do better than last year. If I don’t make sure you don’t give up and fight for what you deserve and want.”

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

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Author: Ed McCosh