Michael Smith won the Grand Slam of Darts (Picture: Taylor Lanning/PDC)
Michael Smith won the Grand Slam of Darts (Picture: Taylor Lanning/PDC)

Darts results: Michael Smith beats Nathan Aspinall to win his maiden major title at the Grand Slam of Darts

Michael Smith got so tired of knocking on the door, he just decided to kick it off its hinges instead.

The world of darts has been waiting for Bully Boy to win any of the sport's biggest prizes ever since bursting onto the scene as the 2013 World Youth champion, but despite possessing such immense talent, he suffered the heartache of losing all eight of his major finals dating back to his 2018 Premier League defeat to Michael van Gerwen.

Two of his previous final setbacks came on the World Championship stage against MVG in 2019 and Peter Wright at the start of this year, when he received yet more widespread encouragement that his moment of glory was just around the corner.

Much had been made of his improving mental strength, which helped him overcome Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton in epic matches during his Ally Pally run, but the agonising nature of his 11-10 defeat to Danny Noppert in this year's UK Open final made people question whether those battle scars are proving to be painful to heal, especially as it was the third time he'd lost a deciding leg in a final.

It didn't take him long to bounce back with four more other titles - including revenge over Noppert in the Dutch Darts Masters and a second World Series crown at the televised US Darts Masters back in June, where he defeated van Gerwen 8-5 in the final.

The 32-year-old, who was tipped on these pages pre-tournament at 12/1, then earned another crack at a maiden major when reaching last month's European Championship final but despite being the overwhelming favourite against first-time finalist Ross Smith, he had to play the role of the gallant loser once again.

This time it was different.

In his ninth major final at the Cazoo Grand Slam of Darts, he punished Nathan Aspinall for a sluggish start and never looked back.

By the time the finishing line arrived, he was simply too far ahead for any last-gasp jitters and pinned match dart at his first attempt to run out an emphatic 16-5 winner and become the seventh different player to get their hands on the Eric Bristow Trophy.

The popular St Helens thrower, who was also runner-up at the 2020 Masters, 2019 World Matchplay and the 2018 World Series of Darts Finals, collapsed to the floor in sheer relief before Aspinall got him back to his feet and raised his arm aloft.

In truth, Smith didn't have to be anywhere near the standard we saw him produce against Joe Cullen in the quarter-finals or Raymond van Barneveld's in Sunday afternoon's semi-finals, when he averaged in excess of 100 and threw a combined 31 maximums across both matches.

Aspinall, who was beaten in last month's World Grand Prix final by Michael van Gerwen, couldn't get going and after pulling a leg back to trail 8-5, he'd only attempt six more darts at a double as Bully Boy won eight legs on the trot to get his hands on the trophy and a cheque for £150,000.

“I don’t know how to feel, I am used to the emotion of losing,” joked Smith, who averaged 96, landed nine 180s and converted 50% of his attempts at doubles. “I have arrived now, I have got my first title under my belt and no one can say, ‘Michael Smith hasn’t won a title’.

“I have finally got one under my belt and it is time to step up. I knew when I went in at 15-5 it was just one more, even I couldn’t have messed that up.

“It is hard when I’m the only person in the top 10 not to win a title, I have been there for seven years and it’s just a pain in the a***. You keep trying to say you will win one and you keep getting beaten. Now I don’t have to tell myself I’ll win one.

“Now it is my time. It is time to be greedy now and get more and that is what I want.”

Smith, who will aim to make it back-to-back titles at next week’s Cazoo Players Championship Finals in Minehead, earlier told Sky Sports: "The hard work starts again now.

“Nobody can take this away from me now. It’s a big weight off my shoulders. I’m going to enjoy this until Thursday and then on Friday it’s a new event, and now I’ve got this title, who knows?”

The floodgates may well open for Smith if he follows in the footsteps of the current world champion.

Snakebite, who also inflicted an agonising 11-10 defeat on Smith in the 2020 Masters when surviving three missed match darts, said after the World Championship final back in January: "Michael is the future of darts, I feel for him tonight because I've been in his position."

Indeed, Wright lost his first five major finals before triumphing against Price at the 2017 UK Open and although he did go on to lose his next seven in a row, he has now won six of his last seven dating back to his maiden world title.

Aspinall agreed, saying: “I love Michael to bits. I’m so proud of him. It’s hard to get over the line, and he’s finally done it.

"I said to him before the match, as soon as he wins one he is going to dominate, and I’m really sorry to the rest of the Tour Card Holders, because we’re all in trouble now!”

As for his own run to the final, the Asp said: "From where I came from in January, I’m really proud to reach two major finals in three tournaments.

"I just couldn’t find it. It was just one of those nights, but if I’m going to lose to anyone I’m glad it’s Michael, and hopefully we will play together at the World Cup in June."

Michael Smith 16-5 Nathan Aspinall: Match Stats


  • Smith: 96.94
  • Aspinall: 90.94


  • Smith: 9
  • Aspinall: 1

Checkout Percentage

  • Smith: 50% (16/32)
  • Aspinall: 33.3% (5/15)

100+ checkouts

  • Smith: 0
  • Aspinall: 0

Michael Smith's Televised PDC finals

Scroll down for tournament results and stats

Semi-final round up

Bully Boy beat the legendary Dutchman 16-12 in Sunday afternoon's semi-final in Wolverhampton to make it through to a ninth career final in which he will bid to end a run of eight successive defeats.

Three of those have been in 2022 - including the World Championship at the start of the season - but he will be confident of breaking his duck later on Sunday evening after a fine performance against Barney, who had been rolling back the years this week.

Smith surged into a 5-0 lead in the first to 16 before Van Barneveld battled his way back, eventually levelling at 10-10.

But the St Helens was not prepared to let this opportunity slip and with the tie poised at 12-12, rattled off the final four legs to book himself another final spot.

Smith averaged an impressive 104.10 and fired in 17 180s while crowd favourite van Barneveld heads home with a lot of pride having reached his first major televised semi-final since the 2017 World Championship.

If Smith is to get his hands on some silverware he will have to beat Nathan Aspinall in the final.

Aspinall, who was runner-up at the Grand Prix in Leicester last month, beat Luke Humphries 16-12 in the other semi-final.

It was a tight game which was tied at 11-11 until Aspinall hit the gas, claiming victory with a stylish 121 checkout.

Grand Slam of Darts: Group stage standings and results

  • Scoring System: Each competitor played each other once in a best-of-nine legs match, with two points going to the winner. The top two from each group progressed to the knockout stages.

Group A

  • Dave Chisnall 3-5 Raymond van Barneveld
  • Gerwyn Price 5-1 Ted Evetts
  • Dave Chisnall 5-2 Ted Evetts
  • Gerwyn Price 4-5 Raymond van Barneveld
  • Raymond van Barneveld 5-0 Ted Evetts
  • Gerwyn Price 5-4 Dave Chisnall
Final standings in Group A
Final standings in Group A

Group B

  • Simon Whitlock 5-2 Mensur Suljovic
  • Danny Noppert 5-4 Christian Perez
  • Mensur Suljovic 5-2 Christian Perez
  • Danny Noppert 5-2 Simon Whitlock
  • Simon Whitlock 5-3 Christian Perez
  • Danny Noppert 5-4 Mensur Suljovic
Final standings in Group B
Final standings in Group B

Group C

  • Joe Cullen 5-1 Ritchie Edhouse
  • Michael Smith 5-3 Lisa Ashton
  • Ritchie Edhouse 5-2 Lisa Ashton
  • Michael Smith 5-1 Joe Cullen
  • Joe Cullen 5-3 Lisa Ashton
  • Michael Smith 5-1 Ritchie Edhouse
Latest standings in Group C
Latest standings in Group C

Group D

  • Dirk van Duijvenbode 5-4 Martin Schindler
  • Rob Cross 5-2 Adam Gawlas
  • Martin Schindler 5-3 Adam Gawlas
  • Rob Cross 3-5 Dirk van Duijvenbode
  • Dirk van Duijvenbode 5-3 Adam Gawlas
  • Rob Cross 5-4 Martin Schindler
Final standings in Group D
Final standings in Group D

Group E

  • Nathan Aspinall 4-5 Alan Soutar
  • Peter Wright 5-1 Fallon Sherrock
  • Nathan Aspinall 5-1 Fallon Sherrock
  • Peter Wright 5-4 Alan Soutar
  • Alan Soutar 5-2 Fallon Sherrock
  • Peter Wright 2-5 Nathan Aspinall
Final standings in Group E
Final standings in Group E

Group F

  • Damon Heta 2-5 Jermaine Wattimena
  • Jonny Clayton 5-0 Leonard Gates
  • Damon Heta 5-4 Leonard Gates
  • Jonny Clayton 5-0 Jermaine Wattimena
  • Jermaine Wattimena 5-1 Leonard Gates
  • Jonny Clayton 2-5 Damon Heta
Final standings in Group F
Final standings in Group F

Group G

  • Ross Smith 4-5 Luke Woodhouse
  • Michael van Gerwen 5-2 Nathan Rafferty
  • Ross Smith 5-2 Nathan Rafferty
  • Michael van Gerwen 5-1 Luke Woodhouse
  • Luke Woodhouse 4-5 Nathan Rafferty
  • Michael van Gerwen 4-5 Ross Smith
Final standings in Group G
Final standings in Group G

Group H

  • Ryan Searle 5-4 Josh Rock
  • Luke Humphries 5-2 Scott Williams
  • Josh Rock 5-4 Scott Williams
  • Luke Humphries 5-1 Ryan Searle
  • Ryan Searle 3-5 Scott Williams
  • Luke Humphries 3-5 Josh Rock
Final standings in Group H
Final standings in Group H

Grand Slam of Darts: Knockout results

Wednesday November 16 (7pm)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports
Second Round (Best of 19 legs)

  • Raymond van Barneveld 10-8 Simon Whitlock
  • Michael Smith 10-8 Rob Cross
  • Danny Noppert 8-10 Gerwyn Price
  • Dirk van Duijvenbode 4-10 Joe Cullen


Thursday November 17 (7pm)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports
Second Round (Best of 19 legs)

  • Nathan Aspinall 10-6 Jermaine Wattimena
  • Jonny Clayton 8-10 Alan Soutar
  • Michael van Gerwen 10-8 Josh Rock ROCK HITS A NINE-DARTER
  • Luke Humphries 10-8 Ross Smith


Friday November 18
Evening Session (1pm)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports
Quarter-finals (Best of 31 legs)

  • Michael Smith 16-15 Joe Cullen
  • Raymond van Barneveld 16-13 Gerwyn Price


Saturday November 19
Evening Session (7pm)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports
Quarter-finals (Best of 31 legs)

  • Alan Soutar 12-16 Nathan Aspinall
  • Michael van Gerwen 10-16 Luke Humphries


Sunday November 20
Afternoon Session (1pm)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports
Semi-finals (Best of 31 legs)

  • Raymond van Barneveld 12-16 Michael Smith
  • Nathan Aspinall 16-12 Luke Humphries

Evening Session (7pm)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports
Final (Best of 31 legs)

  • Michael Smith 11-5 Nathan Aspinall


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