”I feel nice and relaxed. I’ve played well this week and hopefully I can continue that into the Euros”
ROSS SMITH produced an outstanding ProTour win as preparation for his European Championship defence.
The Dover thrower hit a nine-darter and then beat Damon Heta 8-6 in the final in Barnsley.
Smith will now travel to Dortmund in a confident mood as he prepares to open his Euro Championship title on Friday night against Ricardo Pietreczko.
He said: “I’m going in as a winner. I’m the reigning champion and the winner of this, so I’m really happy.
“I know I’ve got a hard game there, but I’m going to keep working hard on and off the board and do my best. That’s all you can do.
“I’m playing really consistent darts. It’s not often I feel like I drop below a 95 average and this week has been probably more 100-pluses than not.
“I feel nice and relaxed. I’ve played well this week and hopefully I can continue that into the Euros”
In the final, Heta dominated the opening, following a 12-darter with a 13-dart break on his way to a 4-1 advantage.
The next four legs went with throw to leave the Australian 6-3 up, but Smith’s comeback began as he followed a 13-darter to hold with legs of 14, 12, 12 and 13 darts as he sealed the title.
Smith ended the final with a 104.68 average – which he bettered in his second round defeat of Knops, landing a nine-darter in leg five, and his fourth round win over Niels Zonneveld.
The European Champion also averaged over 100 in wins over Robert Owen and Ricky Evans, saw off Nathan Rafferty in round one and came from 5-2 down to win his semi-final with Dom Taylor in a deciding leg.
He added: “I felt like I played really well all day but in the semi-final against Dom I was a bit nervy. I’m glad to get through that one and I dug deep.
“Damon took quite a bit of a lead [in the final] and maybe I relaxed a little bit instead of thinking about winning and maybe complicating it.
“I just thought about throwing and obviously it paid off there but Damon let me in.”
Words by Phil Lanning.