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Darts: John Henderson hoping for repeat result after World Championship draw

Huntly's John Henderson will play Marko Kantele in this month's World Championship
Huntly's John Henderson will play Marko Kantele in this month's World Championship

John Henderson is hoping history repeats itself after being paired with Marko Kantele in the PDC World Championship.

The Highlander has drawn the Finn in the first round of darts’ premier competition which gets underway at Alexandra Palace on December 15.

Huntly’s Henderson faced Kantele in the opening round of the World Championship three years ago, winning comfortably 3-0.

That success is in his mind ahead of this month’s clash, with a second round tie against Jonny Clayton the reward for the winner.

Henderson said: “I’ve got a good record against Marko, but the World Championship always throws up surprises and I need to guard against that – but I’m quite happy with the draw.

“The last time I played Marko at the World Championship the year before I’d lost to Andrew Gilding and that was the worst I’d felt after a game of darts.

“My game was all over the shop but then myself and my wife Veronica went to America for what was our honeymoon and it was the break I needed and things improved.

“I’m not saying my game is in a similar place to back then, but my form has been a bit down, this will be a hard game but it’s one I’m looking to get past and hopefully he remembers the game three years ago.

“That win against Marko did make a big difference for me because the previous three years I’d gone out in the first round at Alexandra Palace against Andrew Gilding, Darren Webster and Vincent van der Voort and you start thinking you can’t win at the Ally Pally.

“But since then I haven’t lost in the first round again and it did give me a boost.

“I’m not expecting it to be such a comfortable evening this year, but hopefully history repeats itself and I get a go at Jonny Clayton.”

Henderson is also thrilled that fans will be allowed in to watch the action at Alexandra Palace.

The PDC has secured permission for 1000 spectators for each session. Those attending will have to be from Tier 1 or 2 areas with no fancy dress or chanting allowed.

Henderson added: “It’s definitely good if we have fans back.

“I know they won’t be allowed to wear fancy dress and sing and shout but it will be great to have them back.

“All the players are glad the tournament is at Ally Pally rather than the Marshall Arena or the Ricoh Arena because the home of the World Championships is the Ally Pally.

“It’s great we’re going there and it will be even better if there are 1000 fans there for every session.

“A lot of players thrive on the atmosphere and I found it weird at the World Cup and the Players Championship Finals when you turn round and there’s just a big screen.

“You hear the crowd noise and there’s nobody there and it’s just strange.

“It’s makes a massive difference to the sport and to the spectacle if you have fans there.”

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