Michael Smith makes Joe Cullen bye joke after Premier League success

Michael Smith finally ended his long wait for a Premier League night win as he rounded off the league campaign with victory in Newcastle.

Smith recorded impressive wins over Michael van Gerwen and Gerwyn Price at the Utilita Arena, before defying a late fightback from Jonny Clayton to scoop the £10,000 winner’s bonus. While Bully Boy was already out of play-off contention, it did move him up to sixth in the table, above Price.

It was a big relief for the World Championship finalist, who travelled to the north-east as the only player not to have secured a night win since the season began back in February.

“To finally get that win and get over the line was massive. Sadly I didn't make the top four, but I ended on a high and a positive,” said Smith. “It was only me on zero wins in the Premier League, so I was playing for that, and luckily enough I fell over the line against Jonny."

The final play-off spot went to Smith’s pal, Joe Cullen, who defeated Peter Wright in their make-or-break quarter-final showdown and will join Clayton, Van Gerwen and James Wade at the play-offs in Berlin on June 13.

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Smith is delighted for Cullen but couldn’t resist a joke about how The Rockstar has benefited from two quarter-final byes during the tournament when Price and Wade had to pull out of nights due to injury and illness.

“Mr ‘I get a bye’ Joe Cullen’, that’s what I’ve been ripping with over the last couple of weeks,” Smith told Online Darts TV. “No, he deserves it, he’s been playing some really good darts when he’s had to pull it out. Fair play to the guys who made the top four.”

On his own form throughout the Premier League, Smith added: “I don’t think I’ve played that bad. I’ve had two or three dodgy games, but I’ve been averaging 97/98. It’s not been bad, it’s just that everyone seems to love playing their best game against me.”

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