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Article: Ready to be a Thorn in the Big Guns Side Again

Ready to be a Thorn in the Big Guns Side Again

Robert Thornton admits that coronavirus self-isolation means he can “knuckledown” and get back to the top of the sport. The Ayrshire ace has had a roller coaster dozen years at the PDC of huge highs and lows but has now surprisingly dropped down to No.62 in the world. Yet he was a record-breaker in rising up the rankings into the top 32 within a few months after leaving the BDO in 2008 - even faster than Glen Durrant’s recent rapid ascent. He was also a huge Thorn in the side of big guns Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen, beating them both in the UK Open and Grand Prix major finals in 2012 and 2015. Not forgetting his sensational match with James Wade at the GP a year earlier when both hit double-start nine-darters. But Thornton, who lost 6-1 to Kim Huybrechts in the recent UK Open, has vowed that he’s far from finished despite such a disappointing run of form. He said: “I’ve got to knuckle down now and start getting the results I should have been getting. I’ve started playing really well. “It was just double trouble stuff against Kim in the UK Open, it didn’t feel like a 6-1 defeat to be honest. It was just one of those things. “To be honest being stuck at home with nothing to do but practice could benefit a great deal of players. “But sometimes you need that wee bit of luck and I’ve not had that for a while. However that will turn at some point. “I think darts works in circles. It’s a funny game, you can be playing awesome one minute and rubbish the next. Most players go through this. There’s no explanation for it. “If I stop believing in myself I’ll pack it in. I’m not ready to retire like Phil or Barney, I’ve got a lot left in the tank. “I’ve still got the belief I can beat anybody up there. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not long ago I beat Phil in the UK Open and Michael in the Grand Prix final. “My family still believe I can beat anybody in the world. When they stop believing then maybe it’s a different story. My wife is still kicking my backside, every minute of the day. Chrissy wouldn’t let me give in and it’s not in our character. “Us Scots people have always got plenty of fight in us.” Thornton, 52, doesn’t like to talk about it much, but behind his slump in form has been a multitude of family illnesses that have naturally distracted him. His driving force wife Chrissy has been in and out of hospital of a sustained period which has put a massive strain on his focus towards the arrows. In fact, right now his concern is towards his missus and she falls into the vulnerable category during the Coronavirus crisis after a recent operation. He added: “We’ve got to be a bit more careful because Chrissy has had an operation recently. We can't bring flu’s and viruses in the house, well try not to. That also means watching where we go if we have to go out anywhere. “It’s mad because everywhere is selling out of everything. I’ve got my toilet rolls. Even the Lurpak butter has been selling out in supermarkets, it’s ridiculous. That’s the only butter that Chrissy and I like. I had to kill a few in the aisles to get some!” Thornton is a remarkable character, such a resilient Scot. He has never got carried away with success or failure. He also refuses to get too excited about being the forerunner of so much success at the PDC for Scottish players since he jumped from the BDO in 2008. The Thorn was the first Scottish major winner at the UK Open in 2012 and has been followed since by a plethora of titles by Gary Anderson and now current World Champion Peter Wright. He added: “I don’t get reflected glory, I don’t think of it in that way. They’ve done what they’ve done and I’ve done my stuff. “I wasn’t really at the forefront, Jocky Wilson was the real hero, everyone looked up to Jocky. I did what was best for me and my family at the time. “I don’t think I was the first Scot to do it and everyone followed me. I did my job. “I watch those matches back sometimes, it’s inspirational. Sometimes when you watch it’s kind of silly, you think ‘did I actually do that?’ “But the proof is in the history. I don’t look back that much. The best thing I can do is so it all again and that’s what I intend to do.” By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)

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