2024 Premier League: Michael Smith Reflects on Cardiff Wins Over Price and Littler

Michael Smith emerged victorious on the opening night of the Premier League in Cardiff. Facing formidable opponents, including teenage sensation Luke Littler and hometown hero Gerwyn Price, Smith navigated the challenges with finesse. In a post-match interview with SportsBoom, Smith shared intriguing insights into the crowd dynamics and the surprising favouritism the young sensation received over the local hero, Price.

2024 Premier League: Michael Smith Reflects on Cardiff Wins Over Price and Littler
Louis Hobbs

Written by: Louis Hobbs

(Senior Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Wade McElwain

(Senior Sports Writer)

Last updated: 2024-02-02

5 minutes read

Bully Boy Overcomes the Odds

In a night of darting drama in Cardiff, Michael Smith emerged as the triumphant force on night one in the Premier League, conquering formidable opponents, crowd dynamics, and showcasing the true spirit of a champion. 

 

Smith's journey began with a formidable clash against the renowned Michael van Gerwen, where he demonstrated unwavering determination and skill, securing a significant victory. The semi-final saw Smith facing rising star Luke Littler, who enjoyed spirited support from the crowd. Undeterred by the lively atmosphere, Smith showcased his mettle, navigating the match and securing a spot in the final.

 

The ultimate challenge awaited him in the form of hometown hero Gerwyn Price, with the Welsh crowd passionately rallying behind their favourite. However, Smith, unperturbed by the crowd dynamics, swiftly shifted the momentum with rapid-fire 180 visits, establishing control. 

The Hometown Hero, Luke Littler?

In a post-match reflection with SportsBoom, Smith acknowledged the crowd's fervour for Littler and Price but downplayed its impact on his performance. He emphasised that Price's gameplay ultimately determined the atmosphere, revealing, "I thought I was playing Gezzy [Price] when I was playing Luke [Littler]. The crowd was giving it large for him, there were a few whistles, but that's part and parcel with the game. He [Price] didn't play well enough, so the crowd didn't really affect me; they were pretty tame even for my 180s."

 

Smith's revelation that he felt like he was facing Gerwyn Price when playing Littler underscores the impact the teenager has had on capturing the crowd's imagination and support. This emphasises the unique ability of Littler to captivate and garner admiration, transcending geographical boundaries and making him a crowd favourite even in the stronghold of a seasoned player like Gerwyn Price.

 

2024PL1SF_Smith05.JPG

Teenage Sensation Sets the Standard

Addressing his recent form, Smith dismissed concerns about being unfavoured, boldly declaring, "I've not played well for eight months; I don't deserve to be favoured, but I am a world champion of one." Reflecting on the broader context of the tournament, he remarked, "Michael van Gerwen was the third favourite tonight, and since Phil Taylor's retired, there's been no better player. We're not bothered who's seen as the favourites, let Littler take all the pressure, it will only favour us."

 

Despite his youth, Littler has swiftly emerged as a frontrunner, not just in terms of skill but also as a leader within the sport. The teenager's meteoric rise and ability to command attention has altered the traditional hierarchy, placing him in a position where even experienced champions acknowledge his impact. As he shoulders the expectations and pressure, Littler's influence is poised to reshape perceptions of leadership and excellence in the sport, ushering in a new era where age is no barrier to influence and success.

Darts or Horse Racing

Subsequently, as Smith secured victory against both crowd favourites, Littler and hometown hero Price, he drew a parallel to a horse race, noting, "Everyone's got a favourite. It's like a horse race. There's a favourite going into it. But they can always fall in the first hurdle." Smith's triumph not only showcased his prowess on the oche but also affirmed his status as an established champion, setting the stage for an exhilarating and unpredictable season ahead.

 

Image credit: Professional Darts Corporation (PDC)

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Louis Hobbs

Louis Hobbs

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.

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