In a Darts Show Podcast exclusive, the Players Championship winner looks ahead to Alexandra Palace extravaganza
By Brian Barry
Last Updated: 07/12/18 10:26am
Daryl Gurney says he has addressed his double troubles and is hitting form just at the right time ahead of the World Darts Championship.
Only once has ‘SuperChin’ recorded multiple wins at a World Championship. That came two years ago when he reached the quarter-final before falling to Michael van Gerwen 5-1.
Given that we’re talking about a multi-major winner, Premier League player who is fifth in the Order of Merit, it’s fair to say that Gurney is yet to really fulfil his potential on the grandest stage of them all.
Seeded fourth, last year’s second-round defeat to John Henderson was the standout shock of the tournament up to that point, and he will be eager to avoid a similar fate this month.
There is every reason to believe that he can go further than ever before. Gurney picked up the second major title of his career last month when he beat MvG 11-9 in the final of the Players Championship Finals and is hitting form at just the right time.
“As you could see when the bullseye went in, I was shocked,” he told The Darts Show Podcast.
“I was starting to get a bit tired before I played Michael. I knew straight away I can’t match him leg for leg. But if I can always stay in front of him, I should have a chance. Then obviously if he breaks me, I can always go at him, try and break back next leg. Thankfully it worked out. I didn’t wish it was that close to be honest!”
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Gurney values that triumph higher than his Grand Prix title of 2017, stating that the orthodox format rewards the better thrower, rather than the double-in tournament.
“Obviously you can win the Grand Prix probably slightly easier if someone is missing their doubles,” he mused. “If someone is using three darts, they get away on their last dart whereas you’ve done it first straight away, you’re ton-plus in front. Whereas every leg in the Players Championship is straight-in, full attack.
“You can’t get an advantage at the start. You’re beating them properly.”
That win over the world’s top player in a major final is an indication that Gurney is primed to take the next step in his career.
However, the 32-year-old doesn’t feel that much has changed, other than the fact that he is holding his nerve when faced with doubles: “I had been playing the way I’d been playing in the Players Championship but just missing my chances. The last couple of TV tournaments, I’ve missed doubles. I think I was playing Simon Whitlock and missed seven darts at 5-5. previous tournaments I was 4-2 up and I lost 6-4 where I missed darts in every single leg.
“So I’m playing the exact same way, just not missing my opportunities this time. If it continues the way it has been through the Players Championship into the Worlds, I’m a heavy hitter and I can score well, I could be there in the last few days anyway.”
Given his woes on doubles, Gurney elected to seek outside help and turned to Colin Lloyd.
“I was always falling at the last hurdle,” Gurney commented. “I thought I needed a bit of advice. No better man because I was good friends with Colin anyway. So I went and I spent two or three days with Colin. It was a great learning experience.
“They were little baby steps he was showing me that ended up being massive steps.”
“Daryl was already talented, he was a class player,” added Lloyd. “He’s a proper darts player. He’s a heavy-hitter, but [now] his finishing is spot on.”
With focus now turning towards the World Championship, Gurney knows through experience just how dangerous every player in the field can be at the Ally Pally, and isn’t going to get carried away.
“I won’t look past my first opponent because every game is dangerous. Everyone raises their game.
“If you want to play darts, you want to play at the Ally Pally. It’s the best tournament in the world, best atmosphere. Everyone turns up and they want to play their A-game.
“If I start worrying about opponents, [thinking] ‘I’d rather have him over him’, I think it’s a stupid, naive way of playing. I’ll only concentrate on my own game, and whenever I get up there, hopefully I play 110%.”
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Attention now switches to the World Championship with 16 days of coverage, kicking off with a live preview show from Alexandra Palace at 6pm on Thursday, December 13 right through until the final on New Year’s Day.