A broken bone in his throwing hand threatened Daryl Gurney’s participation in this week’s World Grand Prix in Dublin but the Derryman has recovered and hit a rich vein of form at just the right time.
“I broke it in a go-karting accident six weeks ago,” Gurney told RTÉ Sport ahead of his first-round match against Mensur Suljovic this evening.
The injury kept the 30-year-old out of a number of PDC events but his return to action this week, where he narrowly lost out on a first ranking Pro Tour final place, couldn’t have gone much better.
“It was a surprise,” he admitted. "I’ve only being playing about four days [since the accident]."
But attention now turns to the Grand Prix at Citywest where he faces last year’s surprise semi-finalist Suljovic in the double-in, double-out format tournament, an aspect that he concedes probably doesn’t suit his game.
“It’s something that can definitely frustrate me ‘cos I’m more of a big scorer,” he says.
“I hit a lot of 180s, and sometimes if you don’t get started you can be a throw behind and you need a big score to get back into the game.”
“We’ve played twice and it’s one each. Mensur is a very good player.
“He looks very slow on TV because we’re a lot faster than normal people but he’s not actually that slow to play.
“But he’s a very good scorer and he’s one of the best finishers in the PDC.”
All of the other Majors have regular straight starts so the Dublin tournament, which Phil Taylor has won 11 times, with a double required to start off is regarded as a leveller, where lower-ranked players can make an impact.
That certainly rang true last year with the unfancied Robert Thornton beating world number one Michael van Gerwen in the final.
And five years ago, Brendan Dolan, a team-mate of Gurney with Northern Ireland, became the 'History Maker' when he hit the first Grand Prix nine-darter before going on to lose the final to Taylor.
It’s something that gives Gurney encouragement.
“For sure,” says the man known as Superchin. “I think the only people you could say who get to the semis every year is Michael van Gerwen or Gary Anderson.
"Anyone other than that is definitely beatable. It’s a totally different game with double-in, double-out.
“I wouldn’t mind matching what Brendan has done in his career.”
Dolan and Mick McGowan are also in first-round action tonight, taking on Peter Wright and James Wilson respectively.
Meanwhile, there were upsets on opening night with defending champion Thornton beaten by Stephen Bunting, and James Wade losing out to Terry Jenkins.
World champion Gary Anderson beat Jamie Caven, while Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld came through their first-round battles.
Monday’s schedule of play
Dave Chisnall v Robbie Green
Mick McGowan v James Wilson
Mensur Suljovic v Daryl Gurney
Michael Smith (8) v Alan Norris
Joe Cullen v Simon Whitlock
Phil Taylor (4) v Steve West
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Steve Beaton
Peter Wright (5) v Brendan Dolan