Robert Thornton admits he loves being the oche ‘jack-in-the-box’ - and can’t wait to spring a surprise again.
The Thorn goes to Minehead tomorrow (Friday) aiming to re-create one of his finest moments of six years ago when he sunk Phil Taylor to win the Coral UK Open.
The Ayrshire ace came out of nowhere to crush The Power 11-5 including a sensational 121 with bullseye finish to land his first major.
However, Thornton has been well off the trophy radar since beating Michael van Gerwen two years ago in a similar shock World Grand Prix win. But that’s just how he likes in.
He revealed: “I like being the underdog. I’m not that happy going into matches when I’m expected to win.
“Everyone says I’m the Scottish terrier and I like that. I like to shock people when they least think I’m going to do that.
“No one expected me to beat Phil six years ago in the UK Open and the same with Michael in the Grand Prix final.
“I like to be the quiet man, I just do my thing and let others write me off. It’s far more satisfying to get wins when people say you’ve got no chance.”
Thornton, 50, had a wretched 2016 after beating MVG in the 2015 Grand Prix, not getting through any first round clashes of major events.
The loveable Scot has endured a huge amount of family illness to deal with but his form has gradually been picking up and had a decent run in last year’s Grand Prix and Worlds.
He added: “I’m perfectly happy with my form to be honest. I lost out in the recent Players Championship to Gary Anderson 6-3 when I was averaging 103 - but he was hitting 110!
“Everytime I was sitting on a finish he checked out everything, he was simply unplayable in that match.
“I’m really enjoying my darts again. I’ve had a lot of stuff to deal with but I’m managing to work hard and practice a great deal.
“I don’t watch EastEnders or any other TV, I just practice. It’s a good reason not to have to watch that junk!
“I do miss being in the Premier League, it’s a great event. But at the same time I have to take advantage of a break from it.
“Sometimes not having to travel so much is a blessing in disguise. Some of the new players will struggle with that I towards the end of the tournament.”
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)