Michael Smith recorded the third-highest average in the history of the BoyleSports Grand Slam of Darts as he qualified for the knockout phase of the event alongside Dave Chisnall and Gabriel Clemens on Sunday.
Smith averaged 113.62 in a brilliant 5-1 win over Nathan Aspinall as the world number three ensured his place in the last 16
Smith continued his superb start to the event, following up Saturday’s victory over Glen Durrant with a second win in as many days, meaning that the Lakeside Champion and Aspinall now face a shoot-out on Monday.
“It was a massive match and I knew I had to win, so I’m pleased to play so well,” said Smith. “Nathan said I was phenomenal and I felt I owed him one for when he beat me in Las Vegas.
“It was a big game and I’m glad I did myself proud and got the win, and I’m safe. As long as I won the match that was the most important thing for me – the record average would have been nice but records don’t win you tournaments.
“This event is a target for me because I’m desperate to win a TV title. That’s been my aim this year.”
Durrant bounced back from his opening loss to Smith with a dramatic 5-4 win over Martin Schindler, the young German who now cannot qualify.
Schindler led 4-2 but paid for missing two match darts at tops as three-time Lakeside Champion Durrant produced a pair of 84 finishes to keep his hopes alive before winning their deciding leg.
“I can still play better than this and a 90 average won’t win me the tournament, but it’s a win,” said Durrant. “Martin was scoring better than me on stage but I know Martin’s missed darts at doubles on TV before.
“I was just hoping that when he had two darts at tops that he was going to miss and he did that. I’m a proud BDO champion but I was playing for myself up there and I’m desperate to get out of my group.
“I don’t really deserve to get out of my group with the way I’ve played in those two games but there’s a really big game in me and I want to bring it out. I’ve got the experience to go on a good run in the tournament.”
Chisnall, meanwhile, ensured his qualification from Group E, defeating Rob Cross 5-3 to force the world number two into a shoot-out with Jamie Hughes on Monday night.
“I’m over the moon to win and be through,” said Chisnall, the World Grand Prix runner-up in Dublin last month.
“When you play the world number two you know you’ve got to battle and I did, it wasn’t pretty but I got the job done. I’m here to get as far as I can and it would be lovely to go one better than in Dublin.”
Hughes produced a strong display to open his account in Group E, landing four 180s in a 5-1 win over Lisa Ashton, eliminating the four-time Women’s World Champion in the process.
Germany’s Clemens continued his superb Grand Slam debut as the qualifier defeated Daryl Gurney 5-4 to secure his progression to the last 16, hitting a 12-darter in the deciding leg of a high-quality contest.
“I have no words,” said an overwhelmed Clemens. “Daryl us a fantastic player and to beat him on this stage is crazy.”
Gurney now faces a shoot-out with Brendan Dolan on Monday night, after the 2011 World Grand Prix finalist came from a leg down to defeat Richard Veenstra 5-1, knocking out the Dutchman.
Peter Wright, Danny Noppert and Ryan Harrington remain alive in Group F going into Monday’s final fixtures, with only Wales’ Wayne Warren unable to progress.
Noppert bounced back from his loss on Saturday with a strong display to defeat Warren 5-1, while Wright landed three ton-plus checkouts during his 5-2 win over Harrington.
2019 BoyleSports Grand Slam of Darts
Sunday November 10
Afternoon Session (1300 GMT)
Groups E-H Second Matches
Brendan Dolan 5-1 Richard Veenstra (G)
Danny Noppert 5-1 Wayne Warren (F)
Jamie Hughes 5-1 Lisa Ashton (E)
Glen Durrant 5-4 Martin Schindler (H)
Gabriel Clemens 5-4 Daryl Gurney (G)
Peter Wright 5-2 Ryan Harrington (F)
Michael Smith 5-1 Nathan Aspinall (H)
Dave Chisnall 5-3 Rob Cross (E)
Evening Session (1900 GMT)
Groups A-D Second Matches
Steve Lennon v Wesley Harms (B)
Darren Webster v Dave Parletti (D)
Ross Smith v Jim Williams (A)
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Mikuru Suzuki (C)
Gerwyn Price v Robert Thornton (C)
James Wade v Ian White (B)
Gary Anderson v William O’Connor (D)
Michael van Gerwen v Adrian Lewis (A)
Monday November 11 (1900 GMT
Groups E-H Final Matches
Gabriel Clemens v Richard Veenstra (G)
Michael Smith v Martin Schindler (H)
Dave Chisnall v Lisa Ashton (E)
Daryl Gurney v Brendan Dolan (G)
Peter Wright v Danny Noppert (F)
Ryan Harrington v Wayne Warren (F)
Rob Cross v Jamie Hughes (E)
Nathan Aspinall v Glen Durrant (H)