DARTS
Debut: Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Daryl Gurney chats with Alex Moss ahead of his debut in the Betway World Cup of Darts tonight

Northern Ireland have had plenty of success in recent years in the Betway World Cup of Darts, but this weekend the new pairing of Brendan Dolan and Daryl Gurney head to Frankfurt with their country’s highest ever seeding in the competition.

Alongside previous partners John MaGowan and Michael Mansell, Dolan and the Northern Irish team have been seeded sixth.

Now with Derry high flyer Gurney, Northern Ireland are the fourth seeds and are among the nations who could cause an upset against the leading pack.

“Brendan is still well up in the rankings and I’ve done well this year,” Gurney said.

“It’s good to see that the three countries in front of us are the top three in the world, and that’s England, Scotland and Holland.

“So it just shows we are good players and the only ones who are beating us in the rankings are your world champions, world number ones and the best players about.

“We’re going to be up there trying to fight against these top nations.

“Whenever somebody says we’re the fourth seeds then me and Brendan are obviously doing something right in the rankings. It’s a proud stat to be number four, just behind the top three in the world.”

Since fully switching over to the PDC and winning his tour card at Q-School in 2013, Gurney has been a player who many predicted would have a bright future.

In the last 12 months the 30-year-old, nicknamed Super Chin, has seen his results start to match his undoubted potential.

After reaching two semi-finals in the Players Championship floor events, Gurney continued that momentum to knock out both Kim Huybrechts and Gary Anderson in the Players Championship Finals to progress to his first major quarter-final on the PDC circuit.

Anderson would get his revenge on the Northern Irishman with a 4-1 win in the second round of the World Championship at the Alexandra Palace, in a match which Gurney had chances to win the second and third sets.

That disappointment on the big stage was forgotten about in February this year when Gurney got to the final of the Dutch Masters, his first PDC final.

Currently ranked 28th in the Order of Merit, and catching up with Dolan in 21st, Gurney is eager to succeed.

“I’m pleased with how the year has gone so far,” he said. “But there’s still room for improvement.

“I’m still trying to get another couple of percentage on my throw and trying to throw even better than I am.

“I still want to improve. I’m 28th in the world but I’d rather be in the top 16, or even higher.”

Gurney makes his debut in the PDC’s World Cup tonight when he partners up with Dolan to take on Japan in the first round.

“I’m 28th in the world but I’d rather be up in the top 16, or even higher”

The two nations have met once before, with Dolan and Mansell getting the better of Japan 2-0 in the second round two years ago.

Haruki Muramatsu and Keita Ono make up the Japanese team this year, and both have experience playing on the big stage, which means Gurney is not expecting to ease through his debut tonight.

“It’s a long time since I played pairs,” he admits. “It’s probably been a year.

“I need to get into the swing of it quickly because we’re playing a good team in Japan.

“I’ve never played in a televised pairs tournament before so it’s all going to be new to me.

“Hopefully me and Brendan can get through a few rounds and see where we go from there.

“It’s just the same as every other competition in that the first round is always the hardest.

“You never know what’s going to happen after that. The aim is to get past the first round and then move on from there.

“If we can beat Japan we can get more confidence playing together and play better, and hopefully go deep in the competition.”

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