BURNHAM-ON-SEA’s Gary Anderson threw away a 5-1 lead to slip to a shock defeat against Michael Smith in his Premier League opener in Dublin last night.

The 47-year-old lost six straight legs and hit just 19% of his attempts at doubles across the match as he struggled for consistency against a player he mentored when Smith was in his younger years.

Anderson initially looked comfortable enough, firing in an early 180 on his way to winning the opening leg, but Smith hit back with an 11-dart leg.

The Scot survived a let-off in the third leg, with Michael Smith trapped in the madhouse on double one – Anderson was able to win it despite going six darts without hitting a treble.

The Burnham resident checked out 86, 85 – finishing with a bull - and 105 in the next three legs to take what looked a commanding 5-1 lead.

It should have been 6-1 when Anderson left himself with three darts to finish 28, but he missed two at double 14 and the last at double seven – Smith made him pay to reduce the deficit.

A second successful attempt at bull would again have put Anderson within one leg of victory, but this time he slipped into the outer ring as Smith pulled it back to 5-3, and the momentum continued to move towards the Englishman over the course of a dramatic ninth leg.

Anderson took an unconventional approach to his checkout and ended up stuck on double one – having bust his first two attempts with his first dart, he then missed high three times and Smith, after some wastefulness of his own, eventually finished on double 10 to pull it back to 5-4.

From then on Anderson -  who averaged 82.46 - didn’t even get a shot at a double, as Smith took control to win the final three legs with a minimum of fuss and seal a superb comeback to Premier League action.

Anderson, who again looked to be struggling with the bad back which has been hampering him all year, will look to bounce back against Gerwyn Price next week in Cardiff.

Elsewhere on the opening night, Michael van Gerwen showcased his intent with a comfortable 7-2 win over world champion Rob Cross, while Simon Whitlock defeated Mensur Suljovic 7-5.

Raymond van Barneveld fought back to draw 6-6 against Daryl Gurney, while Peter Wright and Gerwyn Price also shared the spoils.