John Henderson is determined to end his barren run in the World Matchplay.
The second-biggest event in the darting calendar gets under way this evening at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, with the Huntly thrower in action on Monday night.
Henderson, pictured, plays Australian Simon The Wizard Whitlock as he looks to reach the second round for the first time since 2011.
The Highlander has had some tough draws in his previous appearances in the matchplay.
He lost in the first round to Phil Taylor in 2015 and to Mensur Suljovic in 2017, while 12 months ago he was agonisingly beaten 13-12 by Kim Huybrechts in the sudden-death leg after missing a dart at double top to win.
Henderson is hoping for better luck this year and said: “I’m not sure why I haven’t really done that well at Blackpool.
“I haven’t won in the World Matchplay since 2011 when I beat Colin Lloyd. I haven’t had great draws either, but you’re going to get a tough draw in this tournament.
“I’ve got Simon Whitlock who is a top player, but it’s more favourable than some I’ve had.
“Last year I started slowly in that game against Kim and was chasing all the time.
“From 4-1 down and 6-4 down I did get a chance at 12-12 and missed a dart at tops to win it.
“But that’s experience and if I get that chance again I know I won’t miss it. So hopefully I get the chance to put that right.”
In 11th seed Whitlock, Hendo is taking on a formidable opponent.
The Australian has reached the World Championship final in both the PDC and BDO ranks as well as winning the European Championship.
Whitlock’s form in the regular Players Championship and European Tour events has been patchy and Hendo is hopeful he can get the better of him on Monday night.
He added: “I’ve never played Simon on TV, but I’ve played him on the European Tour and in the Players Championship.
“I’ve beaten him before and he’s beaten me so it should be a close contest.
“His form in the floor tournaments hasn’t been the best, but playing on the TV stage is completely different.
“Simon is stage player, he’s won a TV major and been in world finals, he just seems to click on the stage.
“It will be a tough game and I’ll need to get my averages up.
“But the way I’m playing I’ve got a chance and hopefully he’s worrying about me more than I am about him.
“I feel my scoring is the strong point of my game. If I can clean up my doubles I know my scoring will be there.
“It’s not easy up on the stage and normally it can be the doubles that let me down.
“But I’ve been working hard on my doubles and hopefully they go in on Monday.”