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My confidence levels are on the up in bid to become world champion, claims Gurney after second round win



Top man: Daryl Gurney is congratulated by opponent William O’Connor

Top man: Daryl Gurney is congratulated by opponent William O’Connor

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Top man: Daryl Gurney is congratulated by opponent William O’Connor

Daryl Gurney feels powered-up to mount a festive PDC World Championship challenge after rediscovering his form in yesterday's hard-fought victory over Limerick's Willie O'Connor at Alexandra Palace.

The Northern Ireland number one is heading home for Christmas after booking his place in the last-32, managing to keep his cool in the deciding set to see off the battling O'Connor.

Gurney said: "I feel so much more confident and my scoring has come back. I've always been a big scorer and I need to be hitting trebles to feel confident up there."

He added: "I've been working so hard at home to prepare for this World Championship.

"I needed to put the work in to get myself up to speed because I feel like the standard in the PDC is moving on and I don't want to get left behind.

"I have been awful recently by my own standards. I knew it would be a tough game so I'm pleased to get through it."

Gurney looked to be in cruise control in his opening match of the £2.5m tournament - which had fans present on Tuesday's opening night but is now being played behind closed doors due to new coronavirus lockdown restrictions - when he stormed into a two-set lead, dropping just one leg thanks to an average of over 100 in the first-to-three encounter. A 121 checkout included a bullseye finish as the Londonderry arrow ace sparkled.

Gurney then missed four match darts in the third set and O'Connor fired back to win the next two sets. But the man affectionately known as Superchin stayed calm to break O'Connor's throw in the opening leg of the decider, which he clinched 3-0 with two further quickfire legs.

The 34-year-old - who has two Major triumphs to his name thanks to his 2017 World Grand Prix success and 2018 Players Championship victory - will face England's Chris Dobey in the third round, which starts on December 27.

O'Connor had a convincing 3-0 first round victory over Dutchman Niels Zonneveld, while Gurney's No.11 ranking put him straight through to the second stage.

Mickey Mansell is the next local player in action, the Tyrone man facing New Zealand's Haupai Puha this afternoon in a first round encounter, the winner taking on No.32 Ricky Evans on Wednesday.

Brendan Dolan is straight into round two thanks to his No.30 ranking and now knows he will tackle Japan's Edward Foulkes, who had a 3-0 victory over Belgium's Mike de Decker. The Northern Ireland No.2, from Belcoo, steps up to the oche on Tuesday.

Belfast Telegraph