World number 8 Michael Smith produced an astonishing 132.62 average during his second-round tie against Jermaine Wattimena in the third UK Open qualifier at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan on Sunday afternoon.
Smith produced an extraordinary sequence of legs; securing a whitewash victory in 12, 11, 11, 11, 12 and 11 darts respectively, using just 68 darts in total. The news of this exquisite display only filtered through on Sunday evening, after Smith referenced his second-round exploits on his twitter account.
Although this average is yet to be officially recorded, this display constitutes the third highest average in the history of darts. Kyle Anderson recorded an astonishing 134.84 average against Terry Jenkins in a Players Championship event last April, whilst Gary Anderson, Smith’s mentor, averaged 133.35 in a 6-1 rout over Arron Monk back in 2011.
However, Smith’s performance this afternoon narrowly beats his previous best of 132.50, which he recorded on the PDC Youth Tour against Michael van Gerwen, but this was only recorded over three legs, which makes this particular feat far more impressive.
Smith was eventually beaten in the quarter-finals of Sunday’s qualifier, losing 6-4 to Mark Webster, but ‘Bully-Boy’ has enjoyed a fine weekend, having also reached the quarter-finals in Friday’s first UK Open qualifier. Smith has now amassed £4,250 on the UK Open Order of Merit and is in pole position to enter the UK Open in round three.
‘Bully-Boy’ enjoyed a breakthrough 2015, winning two European Tour events and reaching his first ever major semi-final, losing to Michael van Gerwen in the last four of November’s Grand Slam. Smith also reached the World Championship quarter-finals where he was edged out in a last set tie-break by Raymond van Barneveld.
These performances saw Smith deservedly rewarded with a Premier League debut, although his campaign got off to a difficult start last week, as he lost heavily to both Peter Wright and Adrian Lewis. Smith was forced to play twice, following a late illness which ruled Gary Anderson out of action, and this inevitably handicapped the debutant.
Nevertheless, Smith possesses incredible natural ability, and performances like this underline his quality and limitless potential. This will provide him with enormous self-belief heading into this week’s crunch Premier League clash against Robert Thornton, but Smith deserves immense credit for his record-breaking feat.