As well as being a three-time BDO world champion, Glen Durrant has taken to life in the PDC like a duck to water – winning two PDC ranking titles in his debut season as a professional and reaching the semi-finals in the World Matchplay, World Grand Prix and the Grand Slam of Darts.
But, just how well did the darting public know Glen Durrant? Well, the Teesside star has always had the ability and the mental strength to make into the PDC’s top 20, but his rise to the PDC’s elite in such a short space of time is an accomplishment that surpasses many of our expectations.
Durrant currently lies top of the Unibet Premier League in his debut campaign, and the man himself, who is often quite critical of his own performances and is often in awe of the PDC experience as a whole, now feels that he belongs in the elite standings, alongside the likes of Michael van Gerwen, Peter Wright and Gerwyn Price.
In an exclusive interview with BBC Tees, Durrant admits that he’s loving life in the PDC at the moment, and despite being out of action due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Teesside ace has had plenty of time for reflection.
“When I found discovered that I made the cut for the Premier League, the first thing I looked at was who do I play in Newcastle?, I really wanted to play Chris Dobey in a real Tyneside-Teesside sort of thing and when do I play Michael van Gerwen at Rotterdam, as you can imagine a 15,000 sea of orange – both have been postponed now, so it’s a tough time but the PDC are making it very clear to us that safety is paramount.You see in every sport, there’s hardly anything left to watch and darts is a major player now.”
Durrant also described just how it feels to be on top of the Unibet Premier League..
“Justification is probably the word I’d use for how I’m feeling at the moment”, said Durrant. “Some people, myself included thought that James Wade, Dave Chisnall or Ian White may’ve snook in front of me in terms of securing a PL spot, so when I got it, I knew that there would be people out there that wouldn’t necessarily agree with that selection, so to be top of the league, those people that were querying why I was picked, are probably thinking: ‘that was the right decision’.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling, I’m part of the elite now. Even when I was winning BDO titles, I didn’t feel like a world champion, I just felt like I’d done something really special. In the life of Duzza now, it couldn’t be any better.
“If you said to me after six games, where would you pick up your first four points from, I’d have said beating Fallon [Sherrock] and Nathan Aspinall, because I had a good record against Nathan and against Fallon I thought that I may just be too strong. Incredibly, they’re the only two games in which I’ve dropped points and to be beating the likes of Michael Smith, Gary Anderson and Daryl Gurney, it’s a special time.”
When Durrant got the call from his manager, Mac Elkin regarding his place in the Premier League, the Teessider admits that he was overawed with the news.
“It was just unbelievable”, said Durrant. “I actually went to Catterick races because I just couldn’t hack it, I was walking up and down the house and I told my manager I didn’t want to know, then he kept saying: ‘I hadn’t heard anything’ then he asked me before the world championship final, who do you want to win, Peter Wright or Michael van Gerwen? so I said, I want Peter Wright to win. Mac then says: ‘that’s not really why I’m ringing you, Glen. I can’t hold it in any longer, you’re in the Premier League’.”
Durrant also admitted that the Premier League has given him extra motivation and confidence heading into the Players Championship series of events.
“I’m playing really, really well at the moment and I believe that’s down to the fact that I’m getting that extra stage experience on a Thursday night against these unbelievable players in exceptional circumstances.”
Over the past few weeks, Durrant has enjoyed victories over the likes of Gerwyn Price and Daryl Gurney, the three-time world champion admits that he found that much needed aggression, especially during his win over the Welshman.
“Even going back to December, I played in an exhibition event in Derby. I played Gerwyn [Price] in the final, he absolutely smashed Phil Taylor in the semi-final and he did me 5-0 in the final with a 115 average and I went away thinking: ‘how am I going to win Ally Pally now when players are doing that against me?’.
“He’s an incredible talent and I thought, I may struggle the next time I play him, no-one’s ever given me a beating like that before. I know it was only an exhibition, but both of us were trying to win.
“I was completely written off that that week”, admitted Durrant. “Gerwyn actually said: ‘If I can play half decent, I’ll win the game easy’. Paul Nicholson said: ‘7-2 to Gerwyn Price’ and I just thought to myself, 7-4 or 7-5 I can accept that as he’s in some good form but 7-2?
“I was reading all this on a six-hour train journey to Exeter from Darlington and it just put some real fire in my belly and I just knew that I was going to win that match.” As for Gerwyn Price’s personality, Durrant admitted: “I love him, when the players at backstage, he’ll purposely go and sit on his own. He’s got a guy who travels with him everywhere named John, he’s the Dennis Coleman of Gerwyn Price. He’s softly-spoken backstage, he’ll give you the time of day, but something just happens to him when he gets on that ache and I’m full of admiration for the guy.”
After the Daryl Gurney victory in Liverpool, Durrant admitted: “How people watch me, I’ll never know. What I put my wife, Dennis, my family and friends through – it’s not very often that I’ll run away in a game. I must’ve won the most 6-5 games on the pro-tour more than anybody, putting my manager through the mill. I’ve gone from being 3/1 to beat Gerwyn Price with everyone against me to playing Daryl Gurney, a two-time major winner and I’m the favourite. The Wayne Mardles and Paul Nicholsons are now tipping me, so I’m thinking: ‘Maybe I should’ve kept my trap shut last week and let them do what they like’.
“Backstage, Daryl was hitting everything and I was missing everything. But again, there’s something about me where I get on the stage and I just find another level which brings out that inner aggression, it wasn’t pretty to watch, it was a real slow burner, but I got there in the end, it was a big win.”