Daryl Gurney has denied claims that he ‘barged’ Simon Whitlock during a fiercely contested World Grand Prix final, as ‘Super-Chin’ edged out the Australian in a gripping deciding-set to clinch his maiden PDC major title at the Citywest Hotel on Saturday evening.
The Northern Irishman came from 2-0 and 4-3 behind to defeat ‘The Wizard’, who crashed in thirteen maximums in a spirited display. Despite this, Gurney held his nerve superbly to prevail 5-4 with an 88.50 average, eight maximums and seven ton-plus checkouts, to scoop the £100,000 winner’s prize and move up to sixth in the world.
Nevertheless, controversy reigned at the end of the fourth set, as ‘Super-Chin’ appeared to brush shoulders with Whitlock after celebrating a nerveless 95 checkout which had levelled up proceedings at 2-2.
Although the contact between the pair was minimal, Sky Sports’ commentary duo Rod Studd and Wayne Mardle confirmed that Gurney received a warning at the interval from PDC tournament director Graham Fairhurst, and the Derry ace was heavily criticised for his antics on social media.
However, in his post-match interview with the PDC’s official media channel, Gurney strenuously denied barging into the 48-year-old, and insisted he wasn’t a player that needed to resort to such tactics.
The Northern Irishman claimed: “Maybe somebody thought I barged into him but I went round him. I’m not one of these players who needs to do anything like that. If it looked like that on TV, it’s possibly because it was head-on but I made sure that I walked around him. I’m not a player that needs to hack or play game tactics.
“I like to play players at 110%. I want their best; I don’t want their B-game. I want their best. I’m not one of those players. I like to beat a player straight-up.
“The only reason I probably took my time on the doubles was because the crowd were actually on Simon’s side. I don’t know if it sounded like that on TV but whenever I was going for doubles, the crowd was going mad.
“They were booing, they really didn’t want me to hit the double. I thought Simon was the favourite, crowd-wise. The only time I really, really, really took my time was when the crowd was on my back.”
Whitlock, who was appearing in his first PDC major final since July 2013, was extremely gracious in defeat and played down the incident. At one stage, he appeared poised to seal his second PDC major title to accompany his 2012 European Championship success. However, it wasn’t to be for the bearded Aussie.
He reflected: “It was great. I felt so good up there and it was a great game. I’m disappointed I lost but I felt as though I could have won it, I just missed a few darts here and there and Daryl took out some crucial doubles. I’m happy for Daryl because he’s the first Irishman to win in his hometown- so good on him.”
Reflecting on the incident at the end of the fourth set, Whitlock admitted: “I thought what’s going on here, he’s brushed in to me and I thought this is getting a bit personal now, but no, I’m happy for him. We’re still going to be good mates after this.”
The incident can be viewed below….
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC