Brilliant debut sets Gurney up for World Championships


Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney has been drawn against Jamie Lewis in the first round of the William Hill World Darts Championships.

The 29-year-old Derry man goes into the tournament on a high after reaching the last four of the Cash Converters Players Championships in Minehead at the weekend.

Brendan Dolan to take on Kyle Anderson in first round.

Brendan Dolan to take on Kyle Anderson in first round.

Fermanagh’s Brendan Dolan faces Kyle Anderson in the first round of the sport’s biggest tournament which sees 72 players converge on London’s Alexandra Palace from December 17-January 3 as they compete for a record £1.5 million in prize money and the coveted Sid Waddell Trophy.

Gurney had a fantastic debut in the Players Championship beating Kim Huybrechts and then causing a huge shock by knocking out holder and world champion Gary Anderson 10-6. The ‘Dude’ then won through to his first major televised semi-final with a 10-5 defeat of Benito van de Pas.

Van de Pas has also impressed in reaching his first quarter-final, but saw Gurney’s mid-game surge of four successive legs prove crucial in turning the game around.

After van de Pas took the opening leg on double 18, Gurney capitalised on a missed double ten to level before moving 2-1 up, only for the Dutchman to hit 180s in the next two as he edged 3-2 ahead.

Gurney landed a 180 in a 14-darter to level, and bounced back from five misses in leg seven by hitting 180 and 140 to open the next as a 13-darter levelled at four-all.

Gurney then finished double four, a two-dart 96 finish and double six to extend his run to four straight legs as he moved 7-4 up, and after van de Pas hit back on tops he added another 13-darter to move 8-5 up.

Double eight extended the lead to four legs, and Gurney then sealed his semi-final spot against van Gerwen on double nine.

Against Mighty Mike, Gurney hit back from an early 2-0 deficit to level, landing three 180s in the opening four legs and finishing 80 and a 14-darter to stay in touch with the world number one.

Van Gerwen landed a 180 in a 14-darter to edge back ahead, and took out 84 on the bull and 74 to take charge, despite two further 180s from Gurney, at 5-2.

Van Gerwen hit 180s in the next two legs as tops and double 18 moved him 7-2 up, before three missed doubles from Gurney proved costly as double eight gave him a six-leg lead.

Gurney landed a 180 in the 11th leg, but double nine moved van Gerwen into a 9-2 lead, before he punished a missed bull from the Northern Irish ace to win a tenth leg, and the killer blow came with a spectacular 170 checkout to seal the win.

The Dutchman has dominated the past month with some brilliant displays as he won the European Championship, Grand Slam of Darts and World Series of Darts Finals titles, and he scooped the £65,000 winner’s prize at the Butlins Minehead Resort by beating Adrian Lewis 11-6 in the final.

Full William Hill World Championship draw:

Preliminary Round Draw

Michael Rasztovits (Austria) v Rob Szabo (New Zealand)

Keita Ono (Japan) v Alex Tagarao (Philippines)

Warrick Scheffer (South Africa) v John Michael (Greece)

Qiang Sun (China) v Mick McGowan (Ireland)

Aleksandr Oreshkin (Russia) v Paul Lim (Singapore)

Kim Viljanen (Finland) v Sven Groen (Netherlands)

PDPA Qualifier Runner-Up v Per Laursen (Denmark)

Thanawat Gaweenuntawong (Thailand) v Rene Eidams (Germany)

First Round Draw

Michael van Gerwen v Gaweenuntawong/Eidams

Gary Anderson v PDPA Qualifier Runner-Up/Laursen

Phil Taylor v Ono/Tagarao

Peter Wright v Keegan Brown

Adrian Lewis v Jan Dekker

Robert Thornton v Alan Norris

James Wade v Scheffer/Michael

Michael Smith v Jeffrey de Zwaan

Ian White v Dimitri van den Bergh

Simon Whitlock v PDPA Qualifier

Terry Jenkins v Darin Young

Kim Huybrechts v David Pallett

Dave Chisnall v Rowby-John Rodriguez

Mervyn King v Oreshkin/Lim

Vincent van der Voort v Loz Ryder

Raymond van Barneveld v Dirk van Duijvenbode

Stephen Bunting v Jyhan Artut

Brendan Dolan v Kyle Anderson

Jelle Klaasen v Joe Cullen

Justin Pipe v Christian Kist

Mensur Suljovic v Jermaine Wattimena

Mark Webster v Sun/McGowan

Jamie Caven v Rasztovits/Szabo

Benito van de Pas v Max Hopp

Steve Beaton v Koha Kokri

Wes Newton v Cristo Reyes

Andy Hamilton v Joe Murnan

Andrew Gilding v Gerwyn Price

Dean Winstanley v Ronny Huybrechts

Kevin Painter v Viljanen/Groen

Jamie Lewis v Daryl Gurney

John Henderson v Darren Webster