Gurney boosted by UK Open run

Daryl Gurney (Lawrence Lustig, PDC)

Daryl Gurney is aiming to continue his resurgence by kick-starting his Unibet Premier League campaign in Liverpool on Thursday.

The Northern Irish ace won through to the Ladbrokes UK Open semi-finals in Minehead over the weekend, battling through a series of tight matches before being blown away by nine-dart star Michael van Gerwen.

Gurney will now return his focus to the Premier League and his battle to avoid elimination from the tournament on Judgement Night.

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A semi-finalist last season, he currently sits bottom of the league table with just two draws from five games, but is aiming to claim his first win of the campaign against Glen Durrant in Liverpool on Thursday.

"I haven't given up on the Premier League yet," said Gurney. "I'm playing well, I'm still getting my confidence back and hopefully in Liverpool I can get two points.

"Glen's top of the Premier League and he's going to be refreshed. He had a bad draw in the UK Open against Peter and lost on Friday but it was a high-quality game.

"He'll be ready for Thursday but I've taken some confidence from the UK Open. I struggled a bit at the back end of last year, so I'm still trying to get my feet back on the ground again and play the best I can.

"In the last few weeks I've played really well, even in the Premier League. I should have been guaranteed a draw against Michael Smith but blew that opportunity and I'm still trying to look at the positives.

"I always say that if you're in the Premier League you have to remember that it's players in the top ten of the world and whatever happens in the rest of the season happens.

"I'd love to avoid elimination, but if that happens then so be it. The standard is so good now that I have to take it on the chin - but it can turn around."

Gurney has also been on the receiving end of a nine-darter in the Premier League this season, against Smith in Dublin, and admitted that the sport's top stars are pushing each other to new heights.

"I've had two nine-darters against me in three weeks and it shows you where the standard of darts is right now," added Gurney.

"I'm glad to be a part of the PDC and it's been fantastic to be standing on the oche with these guys.

"For me, the best three players in the world right now are Gezzy Price, Michael Smith and Michael van Gerwen."

The Northern Irish ace came through deciding legs against Keegan Brown, William O'Connor and Jelle Klaasen in the UK Open, and also saw off World Champion Wright 10-6 during a strong weekend.

"The way I've been playing in the Premier League, at five-all I've been missing darts to maybe guarantee myself a draw and not got results, so I'm very happy," he said.

"I'm more proud of what I did at nine-all in those three sudden-death legs that I won.

"I've been playing well just to get to nine legs or ten legs against some great players. Keegan Brown was brilliant and I came from 9-7 down, then in the next game I was 7-1 down to Willie O'Connor.

"Against Jelle it was the same, I was behind and won. I've done well this weekend and beaten some quality players.

"Against Michael we had a good first five legs, but after that he was unbeatable to be honest. Fair play to him, he was awesome in that game and hit a nine-darter - unfortunately I got the short end of the stick!"

2020 Unibet Premier League
Night Six - Thursday March 12
M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool

Michael Smith v Peter Wright
Daryl Gurney v Glen Durrant
Gerwyn Price v Michael van Gerwen
Rob Cross v Stephen Bunting
Gary Anderson v Nathan Aspinall