JOHN HENDERSON is targeting a regular premier league place after his sensational debut in Aberdeen which saw him draw 6-6 with four-time champion Michael van Gerwen.
The fifth contender to replace the injured Gary Anderson, Henderson received a spine-tingling reception from an adoring Aberdeen crowd before battling back from 5-2 down to tie with the world number one. World number 21 Henderson, the highest ranked contenders the time of selection reflected on a special night which he believes could change the course of his
“I’ve never experienced anything like it and I don’t think I ever will again in my darting career, it will live with me forever,” said an emotional Henderson. “When I first got told I was going to be playing in Aberdeen the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and it was truly an honour to take Gary’s place. “I loved the bagpipes during the walk-on but it was hard for me to hear them because the crowd were so loud; they were absolutely fantastic for me and I want to thank every one of them.
“I’ve played in great atmospheres at Ally Pally and the Winter Gardens but that was just phenomenal, and to draw with the best player in the world in your hometown just left me speechless. “I felt a little bit nervous because I was so desperate to play well for the fans, even if I got beat 7-0 I just wanted to play well and thankfully I think I made everyone’s night.”
Since making the switch to the PDC in 2011, Henderson has made regular appearances in televised events, including a memorable run to the semi-finals of the World Grand Prix in 2017. The 45-year-old Scott is now aiming to land a first PDC ranking title in 2019, but Henderson has set high ambitions for the rest of his career.
“My goal now is to qualify for the Premier League by right, this has given me the appetite for more,” Henderson added. “I know I’m getting on a bit and there are some great young lads coming through, but you never know. “I’ll take a lot from this and hopefully kick on for the rest of the season and win my first ranking title, and once I get over that line I could go on to win many.
“The contenders’ idea has proved to be genius from the PDC. Every one of us has proved that we can contend with the top players. “The fear factor of Michael and Gary is slowly disappearing but they’re still the boys to beat – we’ve got to catch up with them and I feel we are.”
This article originally appeared, in similar form, in the April Edition of Darts World Magazine.