Michael Smith received a brutal pep-talk from his sons before his vital Premier League triumph in Leeds.

The world champion headed to West Yorkshire with his hopes of reaching the play-offs hanging in the balance. With Gerwyn Price and Michael van Gerwen all but assured places in the top four, the race is hotting up for the two other spots.

A quarter-final exit to Price in Rotterdam last week, fresh from five days of living it up in Las Vegas, was a major blow to his hopes, making week 13 in Leeds absolutely vital. And in a display befitting of a world champion, Bully Boy rose to the occasion, beating Chris Dobey 6-1, Peter Wright 6-2 and then gaining revenge over Price in the final, winning 6-4.

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As a result, he collected five points to move up to third in the standings, a point clear of Nathan Aspinall in fourth and four ahead of Jonny Clayton, the first player outside the play-off zone. After his triumph, Smith revealed he was given a pep-talk by one of his sons – and it clearly did the trick.

“This was a big night for me, playing here,” he said. "If I would have lost to Chris Dobey, I think my top-four chances would have been bleak. To come here to Leeds and get the five points is massive.

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“Before I left the house, my sons put me under pressure. They said, ‘if you get beat, you’re not qualifying!’ I knew, coming here, it was a big thing for me.”

Smith will play Price again in Manchester next Thursday but this time first up in the quarter-finals. The St Helens thrower added: “I just hope I can play like this every week. I only seem to do it when I need to. It’s a learning curve but I’m sure I’ll get over it.”


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