Michael Smith is out of the Grand Slam despite winning two of his three group matches; Smith lost to James Wade on Monday after Ryan Searle got the Wolverhampton crowd on their feet with a nine-darterlive coverage continues on Tuesday from 7pm on Sky Sports Arena
Last Updated: 13/11/23 11:06pm
Michael Smith’s Grand Slam of Darts title defence is over after he crashed out of the tournament with a 5-1 defeat to James Wade on a night in Wolverhampton that saw Ryan Searle land a nine-darter.
World No 1 Smith’s run of 18 consecutive group game wins at the Grand Slam of Darts, which stretches back to 2017, came to an end as he could only take a leg off a ruthless Wade.
Smith failed to win a leg after the match was level at 1-1, missing several darts at double top in the following legs. Wade’s reward is a last-16 spot against Chris Dobey, who eliminated Jonny Clayton in another winner-takes-all match.
Group Stage: Groups A-D Final Matches
|Gerwyn Price||5-1||Gian van Veen (D)|
|Josh Rock||5-1||Berry van Peer (B)|
|Gary Anderson||5-1||Steve Lennon (C)|
|Luke Humphries||5-1||Dirk van Duijvenbode (C)|
|Nathan Rafferty||3-5||Ryan Searle (D)|
|Krzysztof Ratajski||5-1||Nathan Girvan (A)|
|Michael Smith||1-5||James Wade (A)|
|Jonny Clayton||3-5||Chris Dobey (B)|
Despite winning his opening two matches, Smith goes out due to having a worse leg difference than Wade and Krzysztof Ratajski, who crucially saw off Nathan Girvan 5-1, to force the world champion into an all-or-nothing situation against Wade.
“He wasn’t on his game to be fair but I’m James Wade and I do what I do. I think I dealt with the pressure a little bit better than he did,” Wade told Sky Sports.
“I wasn’t good enough to be here last year. Darts is a simple equation. If you’re good enough to be there, you’re there, if you’re not, you’re not and last year I wasn’t.
“This year, I squeaked by, by losing in the final of a European Championships and I dealt with the pressure, Michael had a lot of misfortune and onwards and upwards for me.”
The other big story of the night was from Searle at the end of his match against Nathan Rafferty. Rafferty had just got the crowd going with a 161 finish to be 4-3 behind but Searle landed a brilliant nine-darter to win in style.
It’s the first time Searle has qualified for the knockout stages of the Grand Slam and he will play Luke Humphries, who beat Dirk van Duijvenbode 5-1 on Monday.
“I don’t know how the double went in. I was off balance and everything. I just threw it and luckily enough it went in!” said the player nicknamed Heavy Metal.
“I’m moving house at the moment, so not a lot of practice!”
Live Grand Slam of Darts
November 14, 2023, 7:00pm
What happens on Tuesday at the Grand Slam?
Group Stage: Groups E-H Final Matches
|Dave Chisnall||vs||Stowe Buntz (E)|
|Nathan Aspinall||vs||Ricardo Pietreczko (H)|
|Michael van Gerwen||vs||Martijn Kleermaker (G)|
|Andrew Gilding||vs||Haruki Muramatsu (F)|
|Danny Noppert||vs||Brendan Dolan (F)|
|Peter Wright||vs||Stephen Bunting (E)|
|Rob Cross||vs||Fallon Sherrock (G)|
|Damon Heta||vs||Beau Greaves (H)|
The final round-robin games take place on Tuesday. The top two players from each group will progress to the knockout stage, with the last-16 action beginning on Wednesday and running through to the semi-finals and final on Sunday.
Watch the 17th staging of the Grand Slam of Darts all week at the Aldersley Leisure Village. Stream your favourite sports and more with NOW