MICHAEL SMITH admits he wants BetFred World Matchplay glory after tears flowed from his “worst feeling” a year ago.
The St.Helens star came back from 9-0 down against Rob Cross in the final to force a tense finale reducing the deficit at one stage to just two legs.
But it was too little too late and Cross held on to lift what is the regarded as the second biggest trophy in the sport.
It was another final bitter pill to swallow for Bully Boy, just seven months after breaking his hand on a toilet door in frustration midway through the World Championship final defeat to Michael van Gerwen.
But Smith, 29, bites back at any suggestion he has a final hoodoo less than a month before a Matchplay return.
He revealed: “That was the worst feeling even more than the Premier League and the World Championships. There were tears, a few, to say the least.
“It was a tournament that I wanted to win. The Matchplay is so close to home, just a 40-minute drive.
“In the World Championship final I had Michael. When I went into that match I knew I was playing the better darts than him. That’s why I ended up breaking my hand at three-nil down.
“Same against Rob, going into that match. I went nine-nil down, came back to 13-11 and that’s what hurt the most.
“What got me the most in the press room at the end of it, I was OK for the first three people asking me questions. The fourth and fifth people asked the exact same questions ‘how does it feel’.
“When the fifth person asked I replied ‘how do you think I feel?’
“I’d just got beaten it was not nice I keep getting asked that same question.
That’s when I just lost it and got upset.”“”
Smith’s undoubted natural ability is ready to surface after final appearances in the Worlds, Matchplay, Premier League and Masters, losing out to Peter Wright in Milton Keynes earlier this year.
The Matchplay is likely to end up on that same Marshall Arena stage on July 18. But Smith is quick to point out he has won TV tournaments including the Shanghai Masters and PDC Youth Championship on the big stage.
He added: “I know I’m going to get a runner-up again, but I don’t want to see that again.
“It would be nice to get this Summer Series out the way and look forward to the Matchplay. I’m hoping there will be a bit of a crowd but we’ll see what happens.
“I don’t need to get any monkey off my back.
I have won TV tournaments, that’s what is annoying me.
“People say you’ve not done this and you’ve not done that. I don’t have that monkey on my back, I just want a ranked one. It would be nice to shut this talk down once and for all.
“You can look at the doubles I’ve missed for the Masters. It wasn’t like I bottled it, they were pretty close. It just wasn’t my time. I just need to keep waiting and my time will come.”
Pictures by Taylor Lanning