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Michael Smith can build on Ally Pally performance

Bully Boy should have too much for Suljovic

Michael Smith ran Rob Cross close at Alexandra Palace
1 of 1

First-round matches
ITV4, 7pm Friday

No one came closer to halting the Rob Cross juggernaut at Alexandra Palace than Michael Smith, who can take the positives from that near-miss into the first tournament of 2018.

Bully Boy missed match darts against Cross in the best contest of the second round at the William Hill World Championship.

Smith was outstanding in defeat against Voltage – he averaged just over 103 with 13 180s – and would have beaten pretty much anyone else on that showing.

For a big bloke, however, Smith has a fragile temperament and self-belief can drain from him quickly. Surely that effort against Cross on the biggest stage of all is a reminder to him that he’s a potential top-five player.

He should outscore Mensur Suljovic in round one of the Masters, and if the doubles fly in the re-energised Smith can progress.

Alan Norris can land the handicap bet at the very least against Peter Wright, a player with a poor record in Milton Keynes and still reeling from a sorry showing at the worlds where he wasn’t well.

Recommendations
M Smith
2pts Evens Betfair, Paddy Power
A Norris +3.5
2pts 11-10 Betfred


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Surely that effort against Cross on the biggest stage of all is a reminder to him that he’s a potential top-five player
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