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Likes been “off the radar”

DARYL GURNEY admits he likes being “off the radar” as he approaches the Betfred World Matchplay.

The Northern Irishman kicks off his bid for glory at the Winter Gardens against Ricky Evans next Monday.

The World No.4 has enjoyed a solid year so far by reaching the Premier League finals but knows he has more quality back of belt.

He said: “I don’t think anyone has mentioned my name in actually winning the Matchplay. I don’t mind that, I quite like being off the radar.

“I think it’s fair to say that I wasn’t talked about before the Grand Prix or Players Championship before I won both of them as well.

“I put enough pressure on myself without needing it from anywhere else. I know there’s so much more to come from me, it’s there somewhere!

“To be honest, I was happy with my performance in the Premier League. I improved from the year before to make the finals night. I didn’t do myself justice on the night, losing to Michael van Gerwen but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

“The way the sport has become is that it’s all about who turns up on the night. I need to do that more consistently, I know that.

“I love playing at the Winter Gardens, it’s a very special venue. I had a great run there a couple of years and made it to the semi-finals. I beat Gary Anderson on the way and felt pretty good but Wrighty was just too good in the semi.

“But I feel good about myself and my game. It’s a tough start against Ricky on Monday. But there are simply no easy matches now. I’ll need to find my A game straight away, or I’ll be going home. Simple.”

Jamie Hughes, who faces Michael Smith on Sunday, remains one of the dark horses for the title as he continues to show great form on the tour.

Yozza is undoubtedly the best kept secret of the oche, continually posting huge averages and is clearly on the cusp of a big major title.

The Tipton ace produced a remarkable win in the Czech Open last month to grab a last gasp place in the Matchplay.

He said: “I feel like I’ve got some momentum going to Blackpool. It was a real bonus to get into the field by winning the Czech Open.

“But that means nothing I guess unless I do well at the Winter Gardens. This is where I want to be in big tournaments and I know I can do a good job.”

By Phil Lanning.