Josh Rock feared he broke ankle celebrating nine-darter vs Michael van Gerwen

Prodigy Josh Rock 'thought he'd broken his ankle' after celebrating his nine-darter against Michael van Gerwen a little too vigorously.

Rock, 21, was ousted from the second round of the Grand Slam of Darts following a 10-8 defeat to MVG in his tournament debut. It didn't take long for the Northern Irishman to find his groove in a seamless second leg, but his nine-dart miracle came at a cost.

“I’ll never forget that. I thought I’d broken my ankle afterwards! But I'm alright, it didn’t affect me playing my game," he told Sky Sports. “I think I gave it a bit too much [celebrating], next minute my ankle just went 'boom'.

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"But it doesn't matter. It was a good game regardless between me and Michael… my ankle just went, and I thought, 'Ooo, here we go,' but it didn't affect me regardless."

The youngster was in fine fettle despite suffering injury in defeat, basking as the Wolverhampton audience chanted 'Rocky' during his post-match interview. Rock rejected the notion he was "gutted" with the result, and the Antrim-born star instead pointed to the positives after standing up to a three-time world champion.

"If you hit a nine-darter on stage, I know it’s only one leg, but when you hit the nine perfect darts, it gives you a lot of confidence," he continued. "So it just gave me a big, massive boost.”

Even Van Gerwen couldn't help but be impressed by Rock's second-leg sweep, which ended with a confident 141 checkout. However, the Dutchman couldn't afford to get caught up in his opponent's hype at such an early juncture.

"I said to him well done in the break but on the stage, when it's 1-1, I have to do my own thing," he told Sky Sports. "I have to focus on myself. I have to concentrate. Everything else on my mind is only a distraction."

Advancing to the knockout stages was an achievement in itself, but Rock's Grand Slam of Darts debut might have lasted longer had he faced lesser opposition. The prospect will have another chance to impress the masses next month, however, having booked his place at this year's PDC World Championship.


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