John Henderson admits he’s “worried” for the health of his NHS hero wife during the coronavirus crisis.
The Huntly star, like the rest of the darts circuit, is stuck at home working hard on the practice board during the UK lockdown.
But Hendo, 46, has revealed that he fears for his missus Veronica working on the frontline as a Theatre Co-Ordinator at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
He said: “Obviously it’s a worrying time for everyone. Veronica is still going to work every day as per usual.
“It’s naturally a lot more hectic for her and the risks are higher. She books in all the surgery to be done and that’s been complicated because of ops being cancelled and stuff.
“I am worried about her, but I always am. This is a fairly normal situation for any frontline NHS worker to be honest.
“Right now the entire population has woken up to the NHS workers being heroes, but they are every day of the week, every week of the year. They are used to dealing with the hardest cases on a day to day basis.
“So life isn’t a great deal different in that respect. We have obviously discussed the risk of the virus but nothing stops Veronica, she just gets on with it. That’s always the attitude of NHS staff, they just have this incredible Dunkirk spirit.
“I’m extremely proud of her and all the NHS. It’s at times like that everyone appreciates what they do, but people should do all year, every year not just during this crisis.”
Cult hero Hendo also admits that he is sticking rigidly to Government guidelines to protect his own health as a diabetes sufferer.
He added: “It’s not just about me, everyone needs to stay safe. I have to be very careful because I fall into the vulnerable category.
“I am doing as I’m told with one bit of exercise a day when I walk Veronica to work. The rest of the time I’m just on lockdown at home.
“I’m doing far more practice than I usually do. Normally I do two or three hours a day, I’m doing up to twice that at times.
“I think the general belief is that when we do get back to the Pro Tours, every player will be hitting 115 averages because they’ve been bored and practising so many hours a day for so many months!
“All I do is practice because daytime TV is dreadful. There’s also no sport to watch, no football, life is rubbish without sport.
“I just clean the house and practice. Sadly I’m rubbish at cooking, I should maybe train to be better during this time. I’m a dab hand at a Pot Noodle, but that’s about it!”
The Contenders provided anopportunity for players and variety for fans. Will the idea be revisited in 2020?
Reports suggest that PDC will consider repeating, or even extending, ‘The Contenders’ place in the Premier League line up.
Chairman Barry Hearn stated earlier:
“I think it worked,” said Hearn. “Some of the matches produced electric atmospheres and the guys played well.
“One of the things we have to do is build characters for the future, and to build them properly they have got to be exposed to the general public and have experience on the big stage.
“The Contenders gave them a chance to show their wares. It will be on the agenda at the next PDC Board meeting.
“We’ve got to constantly evolve and we can’t get complacent – we’ve got to keep pushing the boundaries, keep being creative, innovate and take risks and we will do that.”
The introduction and success of the European Tour may suggest that exposure to stage matches, and a larger audience, can be significant in the development of more characters, and star players, it could be argued that the one-night Premier League trial is a similar tool.
The opposite view is that at least one player is missing out on an opportunity to develop over the course of the entire PL season. Both Gerwyn Price and Micheal Smith performed superbly in their second attempt.
In the end ‘Uncle Barry’ and the PDC board will make the decision, weighing a number of business, sponsorship, TV and player development factors. It will be interesting to see what system they come up with for 2020 and beyond.
JOHN HENDERSON is targeting a regular premier league place after his sensational debut in Aberdeen which saw him draw 6-6 with four-time champion Michael van Gerwen.
The fifth contender to replace the injured Gary Anderson, Henderson received a spine-tingling reception from an adoring Aberdeen crowd before battling back from 5-2 down to tie with the world number one. World number 21 Henderson, the highest ranked contenders the time of selection reflected on a special night which he believes could change the course of his career.
“I’ve never experienced anything like it and I don’t think I ever will again in my darting career, it will live with me forever,” said an emotional Henderson. “When I first got told I was going to be playing in Aberdeen the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and it was truly an honour to take Gary’s place. “I loved the bagpipes during the walk-on but it was hard for me to hear them because the crowd were so loud; they were absolutely fantastic for me and I want to thank every one of them.
“I’ve played in great atmospheres at Ally Pally and the Winter Gardens but that was just phenomenal, and to draw with the best player in the world in your hometown just left me speechless. “I felt a little bit nervous because I was so desperate to play well for the fans, even if I got beat 7-0 I just wanted to play well and thankfully I think I made everyone’s night.”
Since making the switch to the PDC in 2011, Henderson has made regular appearances in televised events, including a memorable run to the semi-finals of the World Grand Prix in 2017. The 45-year-old Scott is now aiming to land a first PDC ranking title in 2019, but Henderson has set high ambitions for the rest of his career.
“My goal now is to qualify for the Premier League by right, this has given me the appetite for more,” Henderson added. “I know I’m getting on a bit and there are some great young lads coming through, but you never know. “I’ll take a lot from this and hopefully kick on for the rest of the season and win my first ranking title, and once I get over that line I could go on to win many.
“The contenders’ idea has proved to be genius from the PDC. Every one of us has proved that we can contend with the top players. “The fear factor of Michael and Gary is slowly disappearing but they’re still the boys to beat – we’ve got to catch up with them and I feel we are.”
This article originally appeared, in similar form, in the April Edition of Darts World Magazine.
JOHN HENDERSON ended Max Hopp’s reign as German Darts Open champion with a superb 6-3 victory in Saturday’s second round at the Saarlandhalle as Michael van Gerwen made a winning start to his challenge for a 31st European Tour title.
Former World Youth Champion Hopp had claimed his maiden senior title with victory in Saarbrücken 12 months ago and was seeded tenth as he opened his title defence against Scottish qualifier Henderson.
The young German took the opening leg, only for Henderson to land an 11-darter and a 140 finish amongst four straight legs to take command.
Hopp finished 114 and a 13-darter as he stayed in the hunt at 5-3, but was left waiting on a checkout in leg nine as Henderson powered home a 160 combination to seal his third round place.
“I hit the big scores and the finishes at the right times,” said Henderson. “I feel I can play a lot better than that but it’s so good to get over the finishing line against a great player like Max.
“He’s a lovely lad, a great darts player and has got a super future in front of him. It was a great game to play in and I’m so grateful of getting through.”
Henderson will now face a a third round tie with Adrian Lewis, who produced a brilliant display of finishing to defeat James Richardson 6-3, landing combinations of 146, 96, 84 and 78 as he took out six doubles from nine attempts.
World Champion Michael van Gerwen cruised past World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh despite a below-par display in which the Dutchman missed 22 darts at a double in a 6-1 win.
Van Gerwen will now contest an all-Dutch last 16 contest with Raymond van Barneveld, who prevailed 6-5 in a thriller against Jermaine Wattimena.
Van Barneveld swept into an early 4-1 lead as he continued the form which had seen him defeat home favourite Gabriel Clemens in Friday’s first round.
Wattimena hit back and punished three missed match darts in leg ten to take the tie all the way, but the five-time World Champion claimed the decider to create a mouth-watering third round game.
“I felt so comfortable in the first couple of legs but then Jermaine came back,” said Van Barneveld. “I believe in my set-up now, I believe what I can do and I’m really happy to go to the last 16 tomorrow.
“I didn’t play many Euro Tours lately but I’m enjoying it and hopefully tomorrow against Michael we’ll have a good game.”
In-form James Wade survived six missed match darts from Luke Humphries as he battled back from 5-2 down to book his spot in Sunday’s finals day.
The pair traded early 11-darters before the Newbury youngster took out 149 as he moved to the brink of victory, only for Wade to claw his way back into the contest before claiming the deciding leg.
Wade now plays Nathan Aspinall in round three, after the UK Open champion claimed his first career win over Jonny Clayton with a 6-3 success in their tie.
World number two Rob Cross averaged over 102 with a fine 6-4 win over Chris Dobey, who hit back from 2-0 down to level but saw the 2018 World Champion prove too strong by sealing the win with an 11-darter.
“It was a topsy-turvy game,” said Cross. “I’ve averaged 102 and didn’t feel like I got out of third gear, which is a good thing.”
Cross’ third round opponent will be Joe Cullen, who dropped just one leg against Jerry Hendriks and sealed a 6-1 victory with a 126 bullseye finish.
Grand Slam of Darts champion Gerwyn Price came from 3-1 and 4-2 down to claim a deciding-leg win over Steve Beaton, who was unable to follow the heroics of his nine-darter in Friday’s first round.
Beaton followed two early 103 finishes with a 167 checkout to lead 5-4 without missing a dart at a double, but Price finished a 12-darter to level and then took out 119 to book his third round spot.
Price now plays Jamie Hughes, who reeled off three straight legs from 4-3 down against Simon Whitlock to claim a strong victory, ending with an average of over 99.
Former German Darts Open winner Peter Wright maintained his 100% record against Steve Lennon with a 6-2 defeat of the Irish ace, averaging almost 102 in the process.
Wright will face Dave Chisnall in the third round, with the St Helens coming from 2-0 down to see off Ted Evetts 6-3 in their Saturday contest.
2018 Dutch Darts Championship winner Ian White began his bid to win a second European Tour title in impressive style with a 6-3 defeat of Jeffrey de Zwaan.
A 108 finished from the Dutch youngster was not enough as White finished back-to-back 12-darters as he completed the win with a 101 average.
White now plays Darren Webster, who enjoyed a 6-3 win over Vincent van der Meer after a fast start saw him claim the opening three legs without reply to put himself in command.
Mensur Suljovic edged past Mickey Mansell by proving too strong in the deciding leg of their tight contest, as the Austrian set up a third round tie with Daryl Gurney.
Recent German Darts Championship winner Gurney took the opening four legs of his tie with David Pallett before sealing a 6-2 win with a 121 bullseye checkout.
The German Darts Open concludes on Sunday, with the afternoon session’s third round followed in the evening by the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.
Coverage will be available in PDCTV-HD at video.pdc.tv and through a series of bookmakers’ websites worldwide.
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