Andrew Gilding insists he has nothing to fear, as he continues his bid for a second televised title of 2023 at the BoyleSports World Grand Prix on Friday.
Gilding will take on world number one Michael Smith for a place in the semi-finals, having already broken new ground in this year’s double-start showpiece.
The UK Open champion has been nowhere near his relentless best in Leicester, despite accounting for two former World Champions in the shape of Rob Cross and Gary Anderson.
Gilding overcame Cross in a gruelling affair to seal his first victory on the World Grand Prix stage since 2014, before winning six of the last seven legs to topple a revitalised Anderson in round two.
“It’s unbelievable really. In all my games lately, I’ve just been capitalising on my opponents’ mistakes,” admitted Gilding, a 25/1 outsider with title sponsor BoyleSports.
“I’m not quite sure how I have done it, but I’ve been playing the game long enough now to know that if you keep plugging away, you will get your chance.
“I seem to be hitting the doubles, and that’s always been the strongest part of my game. I’ve never been a huge scorer, but I’m always confident of taking out a finish.”
Gilding is now eyeing the scalp of a third World Champion at the Morningside Arena, after top seed Smith also progressed to his maiden double-start quarter-final on Wednesday.
The St Helens star had won just two matches in ten World Grand Prix appearances prior to this week, but he ended that hoodoo with emphatic wins against Callan Rydz and Brendan Dolan.
However, Gilding is unfazed by the prospect of a showdown with Smith, having stunned Michael van Gerwen to secure his breakthrough triumph at March’s UK Open.
“I got over the fear of who I might play when I first started on the tour,” revealed Gilding, who has now provisionally broken into the world’s top 20 for the first time in his career.
“Everyone was a superstar, and you pinched yourself because Phil Taylor was here, Barney was there, but now it’s just another game.
“Michael [Smith] is playing well. He is so natural and it will be hard to beat him, but I’ve beaten him on the floor before, so beating him on the stage would be nice!”
Gilding is no stranger to big-stage success, announcing his arrival with a stunning run to the UK Open semi-finals in 2015, where ironically he was denied by Van Gerwen in an epic contest.
The 52-year-old avenged that defeat to the Dutch superstar in Minehead earlier this year, capping off a remarkable renaissance for a man who relinquished his PDC Tour Card in January 2019.
The Suffolk stalwart has gone from strength-to-strength since regaining his place on the professional circuit in 2021, and now he’s bidding to write another famous chapter in his comeback story.
“The first stage tournament I qualified for was in Germany, and when I came off, I said: ‘I want more of that’. It was great,” recalled Gilding, one of three ProTour qualifiers left standing in Leicester.
“I never thought I would win a major, but now I’m dreaming of winning another. Why not?!
“I relied on a little bit of luck to win the UK Open, so if it comes again, it comes again!
“I will just take each game as it comes, but I don’t change my game for anyone.”
The BoyleSports World Grand Prix will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV (excluding UK, Germany, Austria & Switzerland based subscribers).
2023 BoyleSports World Grand Prix
Friday October 6 (1900 BST)
Gerwyn Price v Martin Schindler
Michael Smith v Andrew Gilding
Peter Wright v Luke Humphries
Chris Dobey v Joe Cullen