“No one can say that I’m a bottle job. They can’t take this away from me now.”
MICHAEL SMITH finally won his first major title at the NINTH attempt with Grand Slam glory.
The World No.4 beat Nathan Aspinall 16-5 to end his final hoodoo in Wolverhampton on Sunday night.
Smith, 32, threw himself onto the stage in tears after the winning dart before picking up £150,000 as the winner.
He admitted: “I don’t even know how to celebrate, I’m only used to giving the runner-up speech!
“I’m like a cat, I’ve finally saved my ninth life to win the trophy. I don’t know what to do.
“No one can say that I’m a bottle job. They can’t take this away from me now.
“I did play well, Nathan let me off in the final. My doubles just went in. If I don’t score I find my doubles, every time I got a chance I checked it. Happy days.
“I was nervous playing Nathan. In the first few legs I was shaking like mad, I hit 11 and 26. But he started to miss doubles and let me in.
“If he had got going tonight it would have been a completely different game.
“Nathan’s a quality player and hopefully I’m going to get 16 weeks with him in the Premier League next year and we have fun.”
It had been an excellent unbeaten week for Smith. He roared through the group stages with wins over Lisa Ashton, Joe Cullen and Ritchie Edhouse.
Smith then overcame a tight battle with Rob Cross before producing the most vital comeback from 15-13 down to beating Joe Cullen 16-15 and move into the semi-finals.
On the final day he battled past a stubborn Raymond van Barneveld before the dominant final display to defeat Aspinall.
Story by Phil Lanning