Michael Smith got his Grand Slam campaign off to a good start after he defeated Lisa Ashton 5-3.

Bully Boy was expected to win this contest and he did so with a 91.21 average and a 35.7% checkout rate compared to Ashton’s 77.28 and 37.5% respectively.

Both players struggled to regularly achieve the high scores that they’re capable of. With only one 100+ score each in the leg, Ashton took the first leg in 22 darts.

Scoring-wise things improved in the second leg. Bully Boy hit a 140, 120 and a 100 on his way to levelling the match in 16 darts.

However, Ashton struck back. Within 19 darts she got another leg on the board to regain her lead.

This is where Smith turned it on and showed his vintage scoring as he averaged 106.25 in this leg before checking out. With three darts in hand, he checked out 76 by pinning double 20.

Against the throw, Smith then put together a fabulous leg. In 12 darts he smacked in 96, 123 and a 140 before accurately taking out 142 on double 16.

Ashton managed to get another leg on the board in 18 darts to level it at 3-3.

The world number four, Smith, started the seventh leg well by hitting 100 and 140. From then on he struggled to hit the big scores he’s capable of. This didn’t mean much though as he went on to win the leg in 17 darts.

In what proved to be the final leg of the match, the St Helens-born player threw a fantastic leg. Starting off with two 140s, he followed this up with a 134 prior to taking out 87 on double nine to win the match.

Smith will play his second match of Group C in the afternoon session on Sunday.