Gurney ready to make World Grand Prix bow

Waterside darts professional Daryl Gurney is to feature live on TV as he makes his World Grand Prix debut against double world champion Adrian Lewis.

Daryl Gurney will open against double world champion Adrian Lewis.
Daryl Gurney will open against double world champion Adrian Lewis.
Daryl Gurney will open against double world champion Adrian Lewis.

The local PDC professional has qualified for the World Grand Prix, opening this week, after finishing in the top two Irish players in the order of merit, along with Michael Mansell.

Daryl takes on former double world champion Adrian Lewis in the last game on the first night of play.

Known as ‘Dude’, the darts pro’s career has already seen him impress at the PDC World Championships, including an outstanding performance against Andy Smith.

Daryl said: “I’m playing Adrian Lewis and he is someone I know well from the circuit. I’ve been playing well recently - winning tournaments back home and getting the hours of practice in but with a match against someone like Adrian you just don’t know what could happen.

“This tournament would rank up there with some of the best. It is one of the majors in the PDC so in a lot of ways it is a bit like a World Championships.”

His career stepped into another gear back in 2009 when he qualified for the 2009 BDO World Championships, beating former World Masters finalist Jarkko Komula before defeating Belgium’s Kim Huybrechts to become the first Northern Irish player to qualify for Lakeside since Mitchell Crooks in 2001. He defeated 14th seed Garry Thompson in the first round to set up a second round encounter with 2007 champion and reigning Masters champion Martin Adams. Gurney put up a brave fight, levelling the match at one set all and then two sets all before Adams’ experience paid off as he took the next two sets for a 4-2 win.

The following year, Gurney qualified again, and once more played the 14th seed in the first round, this time the debuting Scott Mitchell. Gurney won the first two sets before Mitchell levelled the match and took a 2-0 lead in the decider, hitting nine out of twelve darts at double. But Gurney eventually prevailed 4-2 with consistent scoring. He once again played Adams in the second round, and once again was defeated. Adams went on to win the title.

Last year, ‘the Dude’ entered the PDC via Qualifying school after qualifying for the 2013 Ladbrokes World Championships. At the world championships, Daryl caught the attention of the darting public with three games live on Sky Sports (and fantastic performances, including a 96+ average against the much fancied Dave Chisnall). Daryl’s last 32 placing brought him a £10,000 cheque, and the confidence to go to the following PDC Qualifying school and win his tour card on day 2 beating Paul Amos to seal his spot on the elite tour.

In his first event as a PDC ‘pro’, Daryl won through the European Tour qualifier to make the 64 man UK Masters tournament in Minehead.

Gurney takes on Adrian ‘Jackpot’ Lewis on Monday.