John Henderson is a Huntly firefighter hero and now reckons he can extinguish red-hot Rob Cross’s World title dreams.
The Highlander returned home to superstar status at Christmas but travels back to the Ally Pally with a big date against in-form Cross today (Thurs).
Hendo, 44, has already produced one of the big shocks by dumping World No 4 Daryl Gurney no he believes he can do the same to another rising star Cross.
Henderson admitted: “Everybody has been so supportive at home and it’s taken me back.
“When I got home to Huntly and was walking across to the local shop to get some stuff, my goodness everyone was stopping me and wishing me well.
“The local Fire Service were having a charity day and I ended up in amongst it all.
“I was getting pictures taken with the fire engines and the firefighters and things like that.
“It’s been brilliant and a really enjoyable few days. The phone has been red hot and social media has just gone ballistic.
“It’s been all good and an experience to go through this at Christmas. It’s all new to me, after all.”
After so much misery at Christmas for Hendo because of his shocking Ally Pally form, the hugely-popular Huntly star is re-born.
It’s been a terrific few months after beating Michael van Gerwen in the Grand Prix and going all the way to the semi-finals.
Henderson has new-found belief to have another great run. He added: “I got a flight down in the evening of Boxing Day to get prepared.
“Christmas Lunch was enjoyable and then I was onto the board for a couple of hours straight afterwards. In some respects, most things which happen from now are a bonus.
“I walked into that building for the last round against Daryl and felt as though the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.
“I hadn’t won a game on that stage since I beat Chizzy in 2013, so to get through the first round just gave me a massive lift.
“When I arrived at the Palace, I was just so confident. I felt great. My first three darts against Daryl proved the point that I was comfortable.
“Even though I lost the leg, I hit a 180 in my first visit to the board, so that showed I was relaxed and not stressed. When that 180 went in, I thought here we go.
“To be honest, I could have easily have won that game 4-0 were it not for some sloppy doubles from me. So I don’t just want to think that’s me done.
“I’ve taken out the World No 4 on that stage and I have beaten Michael van Gerwen on the TV a couple of months ago, so any obstacles placed in front can be overcome.
“It’s going to be tough. Rob is playing really well at the moment and has had a fabulous year.
“Even though this is Rob’s debut year in the PDC, I’ll still be rated as the underdog and that suits me fine. I seem to pay better in that situation
“But I’m just looking forward to it. Rob is a man on fire at the moment, but I can put him out.”
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)