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World of Sport

02nd Jan 2019

Michael Smith shows what he’s about with response to crowd’s boos for MVG’s match dart

Niall McIntyre

It wasn’t the only time they booed.

It wasn’t the only time Michael Smith told them to shut up.

Granted that, when you’ve no real affinity with either team or with either player, it doesn’t matter what sport it is because all every neutral is looking for is a game and some excitement.

Every single darts fan in Alexander Palace on Tuesday night respects Michael van Gerwen, any of them that doesn’t hasn’t a clue about the great game.

But with the mighty Dutch man holding a 4-0 lead and with the World Darts Championship staring down the barrel of a painful and potentially damaging hammering for Michael Smith, as well as a bore, one-sided matter of time, it’s no surprise that the onlookers were rooting for the Englishman, at least for a while, at least for his own pride.

And then he responded.

Then he went out and thrown the darts he knew he could and we knew he could and before any of us knew it but after quickfire checkouts of 127, 124 and 124, we had a darts match and the momentum and the crowd were with Smith.

And then they just got carried away. The excitement is so audible and so intense in the London arena that it seems fairly easy to get taken away by it all.

So with the crowd roaring Smith on every time he toed the oche and responding to his doubles like they’d just seen a nine darter, it may have seemed like the natural thing for them to hope Michael van Gerwen didn’t land his.

That doesn’t excuse their booing of the darting legend that is MVG, but the likelihood is that there was no malicious intent in their groans.

What must be commended, however, is Michael Smith’s reaction to it all. On the biggest stage of his career to date, the 28-year-old St Helen’s native showed his class, on more than one occasion, it’s worth nothing, by wagging his fingers and crossing his arms at the crowd’s boos.

That was his response a couple of minutes earlier and he was similarly sporting with van Gerwen lining up his match dart.

Watch the footage from the crowd here.

In a tournament where James Wade crossed the line and men like Gerwyn Price got a little bit too carried away by the emotion of it all, Smith’s refreshing coolness in the heat of battle goes a long way.