John Henderson has revealed he’s had enough of being a Christmas misery.
The Huntly hurler threw away a two-set lead in the William Hill World Championships 12 months ago and was ready to chuck away the arrows for good.
But Hendo, who faces flying Finn Marko Kantele tonight (Tues), admits it gave him the kick up the backside he desperately needed.
He revealed: “Normally, it is just the one game before Christmas, but everyone has two this year.
“You need to get a couple of wins to enjoy your turkey.
“This is my sixth World Championships and I have never once managed to get beyond Christmas Day.
“The one time I beat Dave Chisnall in the first round, there were only one night of second round games before Christmas Day and I was scheduled to play in one of them. Needless to say, I lost and it wasted the day again.
“Everyone is supportive within the family and it is not a case of everyone sitting around the table with long faces and being grumpy.
“But you are at a stage when you are pulling the cracker and then snarling at it.”
Highlander, 44, was dumped out by Andrew Gilding a year ago but has since had a decent campaign with a shock win over Michael van Gerwen in a run to the Grand Prix semi-finals just a couple of months ago.
He added: “I don’t want to go through what I went through last year after losing to Andrew.
“That was the lowest of the low. I could have given up right there and then.
“No disrespect to Andrew. He’s a cracking player, but I was 2-0 up in sets and won the opening leg of the third.
“In January, I had a honeymoon planned which was held back and I headed over to America with Veronica.
“We went to New York for a few days, then we went to Orlando in Florida and then to Las Vegas.
“I didn’t feel much like messing about with Mickey Mouse. I certainly wasn’t going to gamble in Vegas. I would have lost.
“In some ways, though, It was the kick up the backside I needed.
“But when I returned from the States, I got off the plane, got a taxi home and the first thing I did when I walked back into the house was to throw three darts. I stood there for an hour and this year has been my best.
“I’ve had a good 12 months since that loss. I have qualified for all of the majors and I have managed to enjoy some good results.
“Obviously, reaching the semi-finals of the Grand Prix was the biggest, but I would not like that to be a flash in the pan.
“Everybody talks in their interviews about going up the hill towards the Ally Pally and how their spines tingle when they go up there.
“They all get nervous and excited. I’m like: Here we go again!
“But in all seriousness, when I used to go to the Lakeside, it was exciting and it’s the same now at the Palace.
“There is just something special about these venues. The history, the tradition.
“I know I don’t have a great record, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy going back there.
“I’d just like to have a good run and do myself justice for once.”
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)