Gary Anderson’s defending his crown at the Champions League of Darts this weekend in Leicester – but it could’ve all been very different if he hadn’t hit a huge, momentum-swinging checkout in his final group stage match with Mighty Michael van Gerwen last year.
After losing his first game to Daryl Gurney – despite averaging over 111 points in the match – and then cruising past Dave Chisnall on day one, the Flying Scotsman needed to take-off against the three-time World Champion…
“I was well in front of Michael van Gerwen and I started making a mess of things.”
“Sometimes you’re that far in front your mind can drift. Your foot will come off the gas, which it should never do really, but we all fall into the same mistake now and again, it’s only natural.”
“And then Michael came back.”
“Before I know what’s happening, he’s missed darts to beat me!”
“But then I took out the 140 – and on double ten as well – I hate double ten! I was planning treble 20, double top, double top, but the way the first treble went in I thought ‘I’ve got to go there again’. And then the double ten went in, thank you very much!”
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) September 23, 2018
“I’d been 7-3 up on him, but then he came back and I started to muck about and nearly paid the price. It was only the group stage but it got me through – if I hadn’t hit it I would’ve been out.
“I played well against Mensur Suljovic and then did the same against Peter in the final.”
“So that 140 won me the tournament. I’d have been out without it.”
“After being off the tour for six months because of my back this year I find that I’m a wee bit nervous again now when I’m on stage. I used to be terrible for nerves on stage at the start of my career. I used to be off at the side throwing up before I’d go on to play.”
“You just get used to being on there after a while. Things like the Premier League help, because you’re constantly on the stage, week in and week out with big crowds, so you just don’t think about it as much. It becomes part and parcel of being a pro.”
“But after having that break I feel a bit twitchy about it. It’s like learning again.”
We're giving £100,000 to the CROWD if there's a 9 Darter in the Paddy Power Champions League of Darts!
Shame nobody told the players…
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) March 21, 2019
“I’m looking forward to trying to hit a nine-darter at the Champions League this year though and winning that £100,000 prize for the crowd. It’d be great for the punters to hit it, I’d love to do it – I got to seven darts last year.”
“I think you might see one this year.”
“Maybe more than one.”
“All the boys will be trying for that though. Everyone’ll want to hit those darts and set it off.”