Josh Rock needed ‘wake-up’ call during impressive start at World Championship

Josh Rock lived up to the hype surrounding him with an impressive start to his World Darts Championship campaign.

The 21-year-old went into the tournament as one of the favourites to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy in early January after a stunning first year on the PDC Tour. Rock won a Players Championship event and pushed Michael van Gerwen all the way at the Grand Slam, hitting a nine-darter in a losing effort.

First up for Rock at the Ally Pally was a meeting with dangerous Spaniard Jose Justicia, who kept his opponent on his toes early on. Rock took a while to hit his stride but once he did, Justicia couldn’t live with him and eventually succumbed to a 3-1 defeat. Next up for a Rock is a tasty second round tie against Callan Rydz on Wednesday afternoon.

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“I played all right in the first set but in the second set I played absolutely dreadful,” said Rock, who 12 months ago was working at a chicken factory before committing to darts full-time.

“As I walked off the stage, I looked at my fiancée and thought ‘wake up, Josh’. I knew what I had to do and as soon as I came back on stage I felt better. I just felt too good.”

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Speaking ahead of the tournament, Rock insisted he had genuine belief he could win it at the first time of asking, repeating Rob Cross’s feat in 2018 when he beat the retiring Phil Taylor in the final.

“There is no reason why I cannot do the same. I believe I can win it,” he declared. “I have beaten the best players in the world and I will continue to beat them.

“There's no point in playing darts or any sport if you don’t think you can be the best.
“I want to be world number one and I want to be world champion, and I will do everything I can to achieve that.”


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