Public rally behind Derry man after crowd backlash but he has a hell of a quarter-final draw
It doesn't get any easier for Daryl Gurney.
His reward for holding his nerve in a tense seven-set round of 16 with Mark Webster is to trade darts with world number one Michael van Gerwen for a place in the semi-final.
It was a hell of a battle on Thursday though. The Northern Ireland representative had to hold his nerve to come from behind and then he had to battle with the crowd who he gestured at for the noise they were making during pressure situations.
It didn't help matters and it seemed like he was never going to hit another double but he got through and stood strong to win 4-3.
This was absolutely thrilling stuff!https://t.co/kdt8xna01t
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) December 29, 2016
The difference between a quarter-final and semi-final spot is huge though.
Gurney is already guaranteed £38,000 for his performance in the World Darts Championship so far but he could double that and then some if he managed to upset the odds against van Gerwen on Friday.
PDC World Darts Championship prize money
But the back and forward between Gurney and the crowd at the Alexandra Palace saw the 30-year-old draw some criticism.
that was terrible walkin round wit ur head down roarin at ur opponent clappin de crowd a better player would have killed u
— wayne mullen (@waynemullen82) December 29, 2016
There's plenty of more where that came from, the public commenting on his behaviour but what they didn't seem to take into consideration was that Gurney has never been this far before.
He was throwing the most important darts of his life and he was struggling to deal with the atmosphere. Couple that with the fear of losing the grip he had on the tie and you can understand exactly how someone might lose control of their emotions too.
Thankfully, he had plenty of backers.
Derry is behind him.
Well done @DarylGurney180 what a match!! Well deserved win!! Gorgeous girlfriend 😊 bring on MVG - good luck Derry will be shouting for u 👏👏👏
— sandra duffy (@SandraDuffySF) December 29, 2016
Him and his 'big chin'.
keep that big chin up pal, regroup and get ready for the next round.. 1 step closer to the ultimate dream!
— Nipper Mckeon (@Nipper1989) December 29, 2016
Give him a break.
SuperBalls > SuperChin
@DarylGurney180 We'll done Mate..... took 🌰 🌰 big balls during that last set! 🎯 #SexyDarts if all goes well Webster nxt rnd 2 as well 😬
— Bermuda Wine Geek (@BermudaWineGeek) December 29, 2016
His body language was a concern for a while.
it was the head against the wall that had you looking down. You did well to stay so focused under that pressure
— Rebecca Walkden (@b_walkden) December 29, 2016
top job Daryl. Dunno how you hold your nerve- most people couldn't hold a dart under that pressure. NI right behind you.
— Michael Allen (@michaelallen27) December 29, 2016
Prepare the scenes!
— Matthew Scott (@197Matty197) December 29, 2016
Bring on van Gerwen. One man representing the north has had a hell of a battle to get here, he's not going to let it go without a fight.