DARYL GURNEY admits he’ll be cock-a-hoop to make his mark in the Paddy Power Champions League of Darts.

The Northern Irish ace got a good early look at the Morningside Arena which is the new venue for the BBC event.

World No.5 Superchin watched the basketball Leicester Riders clash with Newcastle Eagles over the weekend – and now wants to have a winning return in October.

He said: “I think it’s brilliant – a great venue. It was the first time I’ve ever watched the basketball and it’s end-to-end stuff, very entertaining. Our darts is always fast but these boys are ultra-fit.”

Gurney previously competed in the 2018 Champions League, and his victory in November’s Players Championship Finals cemented his position in the world’s top eight.

He sits fifth on the PDC Order of Merit at present, with the top eight players following July’s World Matchplay qualifying to compete in the Champions League.

He added: “Hopefully I’ll be back here. I’ve got to pick up my form a bit – you never know what the other players are going to do – but fingers crossed I get to play in this wonderful arena.”

Gurney’s form has improved over the last week. After his Unibet Premier League draw with Peter Wright, he the produced an excellent run to the final of Players Championship 7 in Wigan on Saturday. He eventually missed out 8-6 in a cracking final with Dave Chisnall, having beaten Gerwyn Price 7-2 in the semi.

It was also an excellent afternoon for Jamie Hughes, who beat Kim Huybrechts and Ian White on the way to the last 32. Harry Ward also reached the last 32 and Mario Robbe also enjoyed at excellent run.

However, Sunday was all about the young guns. Nathan Rafferty and Ward both reaching the last 16.

Ward beat Dimitri van den Bergh and Joe Cullen en route.

Hughes also qualified from both Euro Tour events on Friday – the German Darts Grand Prix (ET3), which will take place in Munich from April 20-22, and the German Darts Open (ET4), which will be held in Saarbrucken from April 26-28.

James Wilson also progressed from ET4 for the German Darts Open.

By Phil Lanning