Ten the magic number? Best Barney moments before Coral UK Open
Holly Thackeray | March 1, 2016
10 years lucky? Best Barney moments
So, as eagle-eyed arrowsmith addicts may have noted, it has been a decade of darts for Dutch fan favourite Raymond van Barneveld in the PDC.
Barney switched from the BDO 10 years ago in 2006 to the delight of many, making his long-awaited debut in Premier League Darts. Yet, it was the UK Open, now sponsored by Coral, later that same year which provided the oche athlete with his first PDC major.
“I gave up my work as a postman to become a full-time professional,” the five-time world champ told press recently. “My dream came true to be a darts player.”
Though, the Dutchman, who is a tempting 25/1 outsider with Coral to claim a third UK Open title, also noted his tendency toward darting drama. The tungsten great said: “The funny part is that I always beat people 6-5 or 10-9, it’s always the same but I haven’t got a clue why.
“Look at my last year’s results, and how many times I won 4-3 or 3-2. It’s not normal! Luckily for me, I’m winning but it costs a lot of energy and stress. Maybe my rhythm suits these games.”
So, to celebrate the upcoming anniversary of Barney’s first UK Open crown, and the nail-biting battles the 48-year-old continues to provide, Coral present the veteran’s top 10 PDC moments…
Premier League Darts (2006) v Peter Manley – perfect nine
What a way to announce yourself! Not long after his move, Barney bagged his first televised nine-darter against Peter Manley in Premier League Darts, a moment which memorably caused the commentator to gasp “I can’t believe my Geordie eyes.”
With a languid style but steely darting determination, Van Barneveld began to etch his oche legend with a perfect leg against One Dart. See him take out that famous double 12 below…
UK Open (2007) v Barrie Bates – first of many
Bolton’s then Reebok Stadium was the stage on which Barney had the beating of Barrie Bates in his first UK Open final, running out 13-7 victor to collect his first PDC prize pot for a premier event.
Having ousted all-time great Phil Taylor en route, thus instigating one of the sport’s most riveting rivalries, it was a sign of things to come. First PDC blood to Barney.
World Darts Championship (2007) v Phil Taylor – greatest game of all time?
All previous bouts with The Power turned out to be practice, for this; the 2007 World Darts Championship final, widely considered to be the best televised tussle of all.
From a three set deficit, Van Barneveld fought back in what would become characteristic fashion, unbelievably sinking titan Taylor 7-6 in a sudden death leg, thus equalling Eric Bristow’s record of five world titles. Edge of your seat stuff!
Masters of Darts (2007) v Peter Manley – a whitewashing
Already world champion, Van Barneveld reinforced his darting dominance by winning the 2007 Masters of Darts by returning to plague Manley.
The Barney Army were in raptures as their cult hero won the final 7-0 in sets with a rousing 107 average, including an excellent 14 maximums. Notably, the Dutchman met and eventually defeated a young pretender along the way. His name? Michael van Gerwen. See their fantastic fight below:
UK Open (2007) v Vincent van der Voort – case for the defence
For Barney, 2007 was certainly a fruitful year, as the defiant Dutch dartsman became the first arrowsmith to defend the UK Open trophy.
In a match which pitted countryman against countryman, Van Barneveld made light work of the final and his opponent, highlighting his dominance with a 16-8 triumph.
World Darts Championship (2009) v Jelle Klaasen – nifty nine
While Singapore Slinger Paul Lim may have been the first ever player to produce a World Championship perfect leg, it is Barney who hit the first following the BDO-PDC split.
The £20k bonus was all his, after the superstar took to the oche in the quarter-finals against compatriot Jelle Klaasen. Barney bagged two incredible 180s before taking out treble 20, treble 19 and that favourite double 12 again to scoop the money reward. Not bad.
Premier League Darts (2014) v Phil Taylor – a Taylor trouncing
Finally ending his Premier League Darts semi-final curse, Van Barneveld knocked out The Power for the first time ever in this lauded tournament, after 21 attempts. Phew.
Barney certainly earned the right to celebrate, after clawing back back from 4–1 down to achieve an eventual 8–5 win, with a maiden PL final the reward.
Premier League Darts (2014) v Michael van Gerwen – Finally in the final!
After years of toiling and close calls, Van Barneveld had made his first Premier League Darts final – and he did not disappoint.
Poised evenly with MvG at 5-5, Barney battled to win four legs on the trot, before claiming this coveted crown for the first time, by a tremendous 10-6 margin. Elation for the arrowsmith!
World Darts Championship (2016) v Michael van Gerwen – electric atmosphere
He may have beaten Stephen Bunting, just, but the jury was still out on whether Van Barneveld had really revived his career.
Hugely unfancied against a rampant Mighty Mike in the last 16, Barney rallied, despite continually looking as though he would let victory slip from his grasp, and edged a 4-3 modern day thriller. Favourite Van Gerwen limped out after averaging an incredible 105.78, the highest ever losing average at the Worlds.
World Darts Championship (2016) v Michael Smith – Don’t look back
Barney was not done yet, as he went on to truly deserve the title of comeback king in the quarter-finals, in arguably the performance of the tournament.
Looking all but out after sinking 3-0 to Michael Smith, Bully Boy met a roaring Barney at his best, as the Dutch great grabbed spoils from four successive legs, evading a match dart for Bully Boy before winning 5-4. Darts at its finest!