DARYL GURNEY has admitted he thought his career “was over” before winning his second major title.

The Northern Ireland star kicks his William Hill World Championship bid against either Paul Lim or Ross Smith in a week’s time (December 18).

Gurney will go to the Alexandra Palace on a high after winning the Players Championship title in Minehead three weeks ago.

Superchin has had a rollercoaster of a year since taking the World Grand Prix at the end of 2017 but he believes his life has changed on and off the oche since his son Daryl Junior was born.

He said: “I seemed to lose a bit of confidence earlier this season. I was missing doubles, practice wasn’t going great. Half way through this year I thought that my career was over.

“Daryl Junior was born just before I was due to play a Premier League match so I basically went from the hospital to the arena and played my match after about an hour’s sleep.

“I used to do most of my practising at home late at night but that’s out now because wee Daryl usually goes to sleep about 7.30pm.

“That means I either have to practice earlier or else nip down the road to my parents’ house for late night practice. But the new regime seems to be working!

“I have always worked with my hands, whether it was plumbing or other bits and pieces. I have been in work since I was 16 so the last year has seen a lot of changes both on the job front and then with wee Daryl coming along.”

 

JAMES WILSON starts his Worlds campaign against either William O’Connor or Yordi Meeuwisse on December 19.

The Jammy Dodger has had an excellent season in the PDC but will want to round it off with a successful run at the Alexandra Palace.

A year ago his dreams when ended by Michael van Gerwen and has never been beyond the last 32 on the Ally Pally stage.

He said: “It’s not been my happiest hunting ground so far but that can all change very quickly. I go there having been on a good run of form so I feel pretty good.”

 

BENITO VAN DE PAS has to wait until the very last day of the opening round ties to face either Mickey Mansell or Jim Long.

The dashing Dutchman is ultra consistent having reached the last 16 in the world during three of the last four years, missing out to Robert Thornton, Michael Smith and Gary Anderson.

But he is keen to bury the memory of losing his first round clash with Steve West. He said: “I was pretty gutted a year ago to say the least.

“This is my chance to get that out of my mind. The first round is always hard with the short format but it’s the same for everyone.

“Until last year I had a good record at the Ally Pally so I will aim to make it a better time and I believe I can.”

 

KEVIN BURNESS kicks off his William Hill World Championship debut with a high profile clash with Paul Nicholson – the prize being a second round draw with Gary Anderson.

Iron Man, who won the Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay in early October, admits he fears no one going to the Alexandra Palace for the first time.

The Northern Ireland ace said: “The pressure is not on me in any way. I can go there to enjoy myself and see if I can pick up a few decent results that I know I’m capable of.

“It’s a huge opening match for Paul Nicholson, he’s got it all to prove on the big stage again. If I can get past him then it’s a huge match with Gary Anderson.

“He’s already admitted he doesn’t like the first match of the tournament. So I can go there and just enjoy the experience as the underdog. That suits me fine.”