BRILLIANT BARNEY WINS GRAND SLAM OF DARTS
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD won his first major title for five years with a brilliant 16-14 defeat of Michael van Gerwen in the all-Dutch Grand Slam of Darts on Sunday night.
The five-time World Champion scooped the £100,000 first prize at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall with a gutsy display to follow up his semi-final win over Andy Hamilton earlier in the day with triumph in the final.
Van Gerwen, last month’s World Grand Prix champion, was denied a second successive major title with the defeat, as he struggled to continue the heavy scoring and clinical finishing which had knocked out former champions Phil Taylor and Scott Waites this week.
Van Barneveld took out 101 and 134 as he held the advantage early on, winning four straight legs to lead 6-2 before holding off van Gerwen’s fightback to seal the win.
Van Gerwen pulled back to trail only 12-11 at one stage, hitting his fourth 170 checkout of the tournament in the process, but could crucially never level the game as he lost out to his compatriot.
Van Barneveld sealed the win with an 11-dart leg before breaking down in tears as he lifted his first major individual title since the 2007 Las Vegas Desert Classic.
“It’s amazing,” said van Barneveld. “I’m really emotional and it’s hard to find the words to describe this feeling.
“I’ve put a lot of effort in this week and it’s gone great for me. I knew I had to play my best game against Michael and I’m so happy with this win.
“Michael had some great finishes and I knew I had to make sure I won it before we went to a deciding leg, and the 11-darter was brilliant.”
Van Barneveld made an ideal start to the final by hitting a 180 with his opening three darts, winning the first leg in 13 darts and the third with a 101 finish before van Gerwen posted a second 14-darter to level.
The five-time World Champion then took the fifth in stunning style with a 134 checkout, and broke throw twice as he won the next three legs to move 6-2 up.
Van Gerwen then hit back to within a leg as he took three successive legs, including a 122 finish, before van Barneveld edged away again at 8-5.
The 45-year-old retained his three-leg cushion as the pair traded the next eight legs before van Gerwen produced his fourth 170 checkout of the event in back-to-back 12-darters as he cut the gap to 12-11.
Van Barneveld, though took out 95 and 110 as he edged closer to the title, and a 13-darter moved him to the brink of victory at 15-12.
Van Gerwen took the next leg with a 76 finish and then pulled back 15-14 as van Barneveld missed three match darts at double top.
However, van Barneveld regathered his composure to secure the triumph in style, hitting 140, 138 and 177 before taking out double 16 for an 11-dart leg to complete the triumph.
“I’m really proud to have won this title,” van Barneveld admitted. “This means a lot to me and it looks like it could be a new era for me.
“I’ve practised hard for this and it’s a moment to cherish for me. It’s a magic moment, like when I won the Lakeside title for the first time in 1998 and I’m really happy.”
He added: “Michael’s a brilliant player and he’s a future World Champion. He could be the best in the world and he’s not far off – he’s stormed the world in the last few months.”
Van Gerwen said: “I’ve played well this week and it feels very good for me to reach another final.
“There can only be one winner though and Raymond was the better player tonight, he deserved to win. It was difficult for me to get into the game and I’m disappointed.
“I’m playing well and I want to keep this going now in the future tournaments, and I’m looking forward to the next events now. I’ll be back.”
William Hill Grand Slam of Darts
Sunday 18 November
Michael van Gerwen 14-16 Raymond van Barneveld
Best of 31 legs
Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld
0-1 – van Barneveld hits 180 with the first three darts of the final. Van Gerwen hits a maximum of his own before van Barneveld hits double 12 to win the first leg in 13 darts.
1-1 – van Gerwen hits double top to complete a 14-dart finish.
1-2 – van Gerwen hits a 180 followed by a 177 to leave 144 and set up a potential nine-darter. He hits the seventh treble 20 only for the second dart to fall into the single one – and two missed darts to win the leg allow van Barneveld to take out a 101 finish.
2-2 – van Gerwen hits double top to level the match.
2-3 – The 23-year-old hits his third 180 of the game but van Barneveld wins the leg by converting a superb 134 checkout.
2-4 – van Gerwen’s three attempts at double top are off-target and van Barneveld hits double eight to break throw.
2-5 – van Barneveld hits double ten to win his third leg in a row and leave van Gerwen under pressure.
2-6 – van Gerwen hits a superb 177 and leaves 16 after 15 darts, but van Barneveld hits double 16 with his third dart to take out a 70 finish.
3-6 – van Gerwen hits double top with a pressure third dart to reduce the gap to three legs.
4-6 – The third dart comes to van Gerwen’s aid again as he hits double five after van Barneveld was off-target with an attempt at double 16.
5-6 – van Gerwen hits the bullseye to record a 122 checkout with van Barneveld waiting on a two-darter.
5-7 – van Barneveld misses three chances to win the leg but van Gerwen is unable to take three chances of his own and van Barneveld returns to hit double two.
5-8 – van Barneveld hits a second 180 and lands double four to move three legs clear of his opponent.
6-8 – van Barneveld fires in another maximum but van Gerwen wins the leg on double ten.
6-9 – Double ten gives van Barneveld a three-leg lead once again.
7-9 – van Gerwen hits an excellent 174 to leave 54, which he takes out in two darts.
7-10 – van Barneveld hits double two for the second time in the match to hold throw.
8-10 – van Gerwen holds throw on double five.
8-11 – van Barneveld hits a 174 and wins the leg on double four.
9-11 – van Barneveld is off-target with a dart at double eight for a four-leg lead and van Gerwen takes out 71 in two darts.
9-12 – The five-time World Champion hits double 16 with his third dart to convert a 70 finish.
10-12 – The World Grand Prix Champion hits a 170 checkout for the third game running to stay in the hunt.
11-12 – van Gerwen lands double 16 with his third dart to cut the gap to just one leg.
11-13 – van Barneveld takes out 95 in two darts to restore a two-leg lead.
11-14 – van Barneveld hits a 110 checkout to go within touching distance of the title.
12-14 – van Gerwen holds throw with a 74 finish despite a 180 from his opponent.
12-15 – van Barneveld hits double 12 to complete a 13-dart finish.
13-15 – van Gerwen converts a 76 finish to keep his hopes alive.
14-15 – van Barneveld lets five chances to win the match go begging and van Gerwen hits double seven to break throw.
14-16 – van Barneveld recovers from the errors of the last leg as he hits a 177 to leave 46 after nine-darts, and he wins the match in style with an 11-darter to claim his first major title in five years.