Huntly darts ace John Henderson is delighted to see a string of Scottish players emerge on the Professional Darts Corporation scene as he prepares to defend his Cazoo World Cup of Darts title at the Eissporthalle in Frankfurt
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John Henderson hopes to help Scotland defend the Cazoo World Cup of Darts he won with Peter Wright in Jena, Germany last September.
The Huntly darts star was granted a place in the tournament by the PDC (Professional Darts Corporation), who normally stipulate that each country's top two players by world rankings compete in the event.
Henderson is ranked behind former world champion Gary Anderson, who was happy to step aside and give Scotland's winning pair from last year the chance to try and retain their crown at the Eissporthalle in Frankfurt when the tourney comes round on June 16-19.
"Fair play to them, it is good of Gary to do that," said Henderson.
"He felt it was right and I think if I was in the same position, I would maybe step aside. The good thing is that Gary has already won it so it maybe made his decision a bit easier but I still take my hat off to him for giving me the opportunity to go and play it."
Big Hendo, known as 'The Highlander' on the world darts circuit, has watched a number of Scottish darts players emerge at the top level in recent months and says the future looks bright for Scotland in his sport.
He was recently beaten by fellow Scot Cammy Menzies, one of the developing stars whose partner is leading female darts player Fallon Sherrock, in the Players Championship.
"I went 3-0 up (against Menzies) and missed a nine-darter to go 4-0 up - and I lost 6-4. It wasn’t as if my game petered off, it was just that Cammy found something.
"He went back-to-back 12s (12-dart-finishes) to make it 3-2 and the sixth leg was crucial. I missed four darts at 16s and 8s and my head went down a bit.
"I still ended up with a 91 average but Cammy just found an extra gear and he won it. He is playing well and when he gets his head right, he can do damage in darts.
"(Alan) Soutar has got off to a good start in his PDC career and young Willie (Borland) maybe hasn’t been on top form since he hit his nine-darter at the worlds, he had faltered away a wee bit.
"Willie sits with me at the pro tours and I keep telling him the same as I’m getting told, just persevere and it will come. Nobody can hit a nine-darter at the world championships that can’t throw darts, he’s just going through a bad spell.
"Young Jamie Clark’s got a tour card but even at the local tournaments there’s some folk going to go to the Q schools, so it's good to see a good representation of Scottish players."
Henderson and Wright claimed glory for Scotland last year, defeating defending champions and Welsh duo Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton in the semis before seeing off Austria in the final.
It was the biggest win of Hendo's career, and although he hasn't followed it up with any tournament success he maintains his form has not been poor.
"Results haven’t been going my way just now but I’m playing well," he said.
"My average for the season is 93, that’s how good I’m playing but I’m just not getting the luck."
Henderson defeated two of the world's current top ten in Belgian Dimitri van der Bergh and ex-world champion Rob Cross in April, as well as seeing off world championship quarter-finalist Callan Rydz.
"I’ll bet you 99 per cent of Huntly people don’t know who Danny Janssen is. He won a pro tour on the Saturday and I beat him on the Sunday which just shows you how strange games can go.
"He is number 102 in the world and he won a pro tour. That’s how the standard is, I’m not saying anybody can go and win a TV title but to win a floor tournament they can."
Hendo says he wasn't in top form going into last year's world cup but soon developed a bond with current world champion Wright which saw them go from strength to strength.
"Up until a couple of weeks ago Peter was off form as well. But he is in a bit of form now so it’s looking good.
"The two of us were not exactly firing on all cylinders going into the World Cup last year and look what happened.
"When it comes to the World Cup I think form goes out of the window.
"You are representing a team rather than an individual and Peter and I get on well together and play well together, so it’s all shaping up for another good tournament."