John Henderson can't wait to pull on the Scotland shirt and play in next month's BetVictor World Cup of Darts with Robert Thornton in Salzburg
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HUNTLY darts ace John Henderson is relishing the opportunity to represent his country at the World Cup of Darts in Austria.
Big ‘Hendo’ will team up with long-term practice partner Robert Thornton for the 24-country international event in Salzburg on November 6-8.
Scotland won the last World Cup with current world champion Peter Wright and former world champ Gary Anderson.
Due to the Covid-19 situation, Anderson pulled out from travelling this year so Henderson was called up to partner Wright, who also rejected the chance to play because of the pandemic.
“It’s something I never thought I would get a shot of,” said Henderson. “Gary and Peter are so far up the rankings and we are chasing all the time so it’s good to get this opportunity and we want to grab it with both hands.
“I was looking forward to playing with Peter but there isn’t the same pressure playing with Robert.
"I might have tried to impress Peter too much whereas Robert and I used to play in the pairs back in our BDO (British Darts Organisation) days, and I still practice with him.
“We’re more on an even keel and know each other’s game well. It will just be an honour putting on the Scotland shirt again.”
Henderson was capped 24 times for Scotland during his BDO career in squads of 10, so playing in an international pair will be new to him.
As a pair at the PDC World Cup of Darts, Henderson and Thornton have been drawn against Japan’s Seigo Asada and Yuki Yamada with the first round being contested in pairs and the remainder of the tournament in singles matches.
Henderson lost 6-3 to Belgium’s Kim Huybrechts in the European Tour in Germany last week, his first major event since lockdown.
The Highlander admits his form - and his world ranking as a result - have taken a dip due to the interruptions in his sport.
"Some folk have adjusted to it better than others.," he said.
"I’ve just lost that killer edge in my game at the moment. The scoring is there but it’s just lack of match practice, that’s all it is.
"I’m going to get a good few days of the home tour next week and I hope I can kick on from there to give me some good practice for going to Austria.
"We have to do all the Covid testing before we go over to Austria and it’s a big rigmarole but it’s something that’s got to be done.
"I have to isolate for 24 hours beforehand in my hotel room before I can play.
"It’s the new norm as they say, and we’ve just got to get on with it."
Henderson is still waiting to hear if the World Cup of Darts will be played in front of crowds in Salzburg.
"We were playing in Germany at the weekend and there were crowds, just a thousand people in instead of the normal two or three. But I am not sure what the criteria is for Austria.
"I hope they do because it is better playing with the crowd and getting that buzz."