Josh Rock on leaving school at 16 to preparing to make his World Darts Championship debut five years later | Darts News


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Josh Rock believes he will become the No 1 player on planet darts and a world champion, while the best in the game give their thoughts on ‘Rocky’ Watch the 2023 PDC World Darts Championship – live on Sky Sports – from December 15

Last Updated: 01/12/22 10:09pm

Josh Rock's journey has seen him leave school at 16 to now preparing to compete at his maiden World Darts Championship

Josh Rock’s journey has seen him leave school at 16 to now preparing to compete at his maiden World Darts Championship

Shooting star Josh Rock is ready to rule planet darts, warning his rivals “I will do everything I can to become No 1 and world champion” as the 21-year-old prepares to make his Ally Pally debut.

Rock has been a revelation since claiming his Tour Card in January, winning five Development Tour titles, posting astronomical averages on the ProTour and winning his first senior PDC title at Players Championship 28.

The 21-year-old, who only made his televised debut in October, announced himself to the world when he crashed in eight 180s and hit the fifth nine-darter during his breathless 10-8 defeat to Michael van Gerwen at the Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton.

January: Rock secures his PDC Tour Card

He goes on to win five Development Tour titles

August: Rock averages 121.88 in 6-1 demolition of Brendan Dolan at PC22

October: Rock wins first senior PDC ranking title in Barnsley

October: Rock makes televised debut at European Championship in Dortmund

November: The 21-year-old features at the Grand Slam of Darts where he hits a nine-dart finish against MVG

December: Rock will make his World Championship bow at Ally Pally against Spain’s Jose Justicia

“My job is to beat the board and that’s all I can do”

Josh Rock

At Butlin’s Minehead Resort, Rock was crowned as the PDC World Youth Champion and he has now set his sights on a World Darts Championship debut at Alexandra Palace, as he bids to continue his remarkable emergence with further success.

He opens his campaign against Spain’s Jose Justicia on Saturday, December 17, with last year’s quarter-finalist Callan Rydz awaiting the winner.

“I’m here to do what I’m meant to do. I love darts and I’ve loved the game since I was a young boy,” said a level-headed Rock, who has been mentored by Scotland’s Alan Soutar.

“Darts has always been a part of my life, ever since I was two years old because of my dad who started playing the game when I was born.

“My hero has always been Gary Anderson and I finally got to speak with him a few weeks ago. He was saying ‘we only get to meet in the toilets, so we might as well talk outside of them’.

“When I first got my Tour Card and walked into the room I was overwhelmed but now I talk to Gary like he’s a normal person.”

Rock stunned Michael van Gerwen with a nine-darter at the Grand Slam of Darts

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Rock stunned Michael van Gerwen with a nine-darter at the Grand Slam of Darts

Rock stunned Michael van Gerwen with a nine-darter at the Grand Slam of Darts

How far does Rock think he can go? “I’ll go all the way. I know I can, but it will take time,” he said. “Nothing happens overnight but I’ll do my best to be the best and world champion. My job is to beat the board and that’s all I can do.”

Rock, who hails from Ballymena, played at full-back for Antrim Rovers, before deciding that darts was his future.

“There’s no point playing darts or any sport if you don’t believe. I want to be world No 1 and I want to be world champion,” said Rock.

“Everybody says I’ve got an old head on young shoulders but I’m happy that I’m that way.

“To learn to win you have to beat the big boys but I have a lot of years in this game left.”

“He’s only a kid and he’s got the world at his feet. He’s got something special about him”

Michael Smith on Rock

Rock has no scars yet

Van Gerwen believes Rock will become a major champion after beating him in a classic at the Grand Slam of Darts

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Van Gerwen believes Rock will become a major champion after beating him in a classic at the Grand Slam of Darts

Van Gerwen believes Rock will become a major champion after beating him in a classic at the Grand Slam of Darts

Van Gerwen has warned the Northern Irish arrowsmith that he’s not won anything yet with the Dutchman seeking to claim his fourth world title, while Rock is at the infancy of his career.

“Josh Rock is a phenomenal player but you also have to put things in perspective. He’s not been on the tour for long and he doesn’t have any scars yet,” said Van Gerwen.

“If you judge him on standards, then yes he’s got a lot of potential. If I compare him to myself, I was doing a lot of things what he’s doing now when I was 15 or 16 so that’s the difference, but he’s got everything to make it into the top 10.”

It’s tough to become any champ

Gerwyn Price is a big fan of young Rock

Gerwyn Price is a big fan of young Rock

World No 1 Gerwyn Price admires Rock’s arrogance, but the Welshman says the “mental struggle” of being a professional darts player may affect him on his journey.

“Don’t get me wrong, he’s 21 and he’s got a few years to get to the top and I’m sure he will, but it’s a bit early to be talking about becoming a world champion,” admitted Price.

“Everybody needs that confidence and belief but I just think it’s a little early for him yet.

“If you asked me when I just started playing darts was I going to win a world championship that year, I’d probably say I’m not ready for it and when I lost the semi-final to Peter Wright in 2019, even then, I don’t think I was ready to win a world title.

“I accepted it but if he believes, then he needs to keep believing.”

Wayne Mardle and Mark Webster believe Rock is way ahead of schedule for such an inexperienced player on TV

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Wayne Mardle and Mark Webster believe Rock is way ahead of schedule for such an inexperienced player on TV

Wayne Mardle and Mark Webster believe Rock is way ahead of schedule for such an inexperienced player on TV

Don’t put too much hype on him

Michael Smith, the reigning Grand Slam of Darts champion, has called on people to leave Rock alone and let him develop in the professional ranks.

Smith said: “He’s only a kid and he’s got the world at his feet. He’s got something special about him.

“He’s been surrounded by people, but now he’s got good people around him, so he’ll practice with Rob Cross at tournaments and I’ll come up and speak to him a bit. We just tell him the right things to do and although he’s 22, he’s an old man in a young man’s body.”

The Love The Darts panel discuss their favourite moments from the 2022 Grand Slam of Darts. Will it be Michael Smith breaking his major title duck, or Rock's overexuberant nine-dart celebrations?

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The Love The Darts panel discuss their favourite moments from the 2022 Grand Slam of Darts. Will it be Michael Smith breaking his major title duck, or Rock’s overexuberant nine-dart celebrations?

The Love The Darts panel discuss their favourite moments from the 2022 Grand Slam of Darts. Will it be Michael Smith breaking his major title duck, or Rock’s overexuberant nine-dart celebrations?

Rock will be a huge name in the future

Rock became the PDC World Youth Champion producing a record average of 104 as he beat Nathan Girvin 6-1 at Butlin's Minehead Resort

Rock became the PDC World Youth Champion producing a record average of 104 as he beat Nathan Girvin 6-1 at Butlin’s Minehead Resort

Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld has been impressed with Rock but says his rivals will be better prepared to play him having seen what he can produce on the oche.

“He’s a really lovely guy with superb focus but you never can tell because everyone knows him now so his opponents are better prepared,” said the 55-year-old Dutchman.

“He’s good for the game and what a player. I never heard of him before but I like his style. He’s a fast player, who can score and finish.”

Watch the phenomenal Josh Rock in action the 2023 PDC World Darts Championship – live on Sky Sports – from December 15 to January 3.





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