John Henderson is determined to extend his proud record of qualifying for the World Darts Championship to nine straight years.
Today represents the Highlander’s last chance to reach the 2022 event, which gets underway at the Alexandra Palace next month.
Henderson is playing in the tour card qualifier in Barnsley, a knockout competition which sees all the PDC tour card holders who have not yet qualified for the World Championship, battle for the final two spots.
The Huntly thrower has qualified for nine of the last 10 World Championships, including the last eight in succession.
Henderson achieved that by either being in the top 32 on the two-year ranking list or being in the top 64 on the one-year Pro Tour order of merit list.
But this year the 48-year-old’s ranking has slipped to 46 and he failed to get the desired results in Pro Tour tournaments.
Henderson said: “The World Championship is the one tournament at the start of the year that every player wants to play in.
“Everyone will be trying their hardest to get there.
“There are players who have been in the qualifiers for a number of years and haven’t made it through yet.
“There are players looking to keep tour cards and I’ve been at the Ally Pally for the last eight years and I want to extend that.
“But it will be hard, hopefully I can play well and get that place.
“My results haven’t showed that I’ve been playing well, but I have been playing well and not getting the results has been disappointing.
“Hopefully I can get there and give myself a kickstart for next year and move back up the rankings.”
Doubles are key for the Highlander
Earlier this month Henderson was in action in the Grand Slam of Darts.
Although he failed to progress from his group he takes encouragement from the experience ahead of the qualifier.
The money he earned at the Grand Slam also looks like it will secure his tour card for next year even if he doesn’t qualify for the World Championship.
The two finalists at the qualifier earn a place at the World Championship and
Henderson added: “A few missed doubles have cost me.
“In the Grand Slam the scoring was there, but I missed doubles.
“If I can tidy that up I’ll give myself a good chance of getting through.
“It was good to get back on the TV stage and get three games.
“OK I didn’t get the results I was hoping for, I had chances that I didn’t take.
“Getting beat 5-0 by Joe (Cullen) and 5-1 by Michael van Gerwen doesn’t look great but I had chances at doubles in most legs.”