On February 16th 2006, ten years ago today, Raymond van Barneveld marked his PDC debut with a thumping 8-1 victory over Ronnie Baxter in the Premier League. Since then, van Barneveld has accomplished some tremendous feats, winning an array of major titles, as well as posting five televised nine-dart finishes. As we celebrate ten years of Raymond van Barneveld in the PDC, Josh’s Dartistry reflects on RvB’s 10 greatest moments.
10. Van Barneveld wins the 2007 Las Vegas Desert Classic!
Raymond always performed tremendously well in the Las Vegas Desert Classic, before the tournament was retired in 2010. He reached the final in both 2006 and 2009, losing to John Part and Phil Taylor respectively.
However, he secured his maiden Las Vegas Desert Classic title with a comprehensive 13-6 victory over Terry Jenkins n 2007. He thrashed Kevin Painter and Wayne Mardle 6-1 and 8-1 respectively, before cruising past his compatriot Roland Scholten 10-4 in the quarter-finals.
Barney exacted revenge by defeating reigning champion John Part in the semi-finals, before beating Jenkins in the final. This was van Barneveld’s third PDC major title of 2007, which cemented his status as the PDC world number one.
9. RvB hits the first nine-darter in Premier League history!
(Via Official PDC)
The anticipation surrounding Raymond’s move to the PDC was simply unprecedented. It was a significant coup for the PDC to claim the BDO’s greatest asset, but there were question marks about whether Barney had the credentials and ability to challenge Phil Taylor?
However, any lingering doubts were emphatically dismissed in the the fifth week of his debut season, when he recorded the first ever nine-darter in Premier League Darts history against Peter Manley. Barney repeated this feat four years later in Aberdeen against Terry Jenkins, but this was a ground-breaking moment in his PDC career. Barney had arrived!
8. Barney and Stompe secure World Cup glory!
Raymond has always spoken of his pride at representing his country, and he has competed in every single World Cup of Darts for the Netherlands since the tournament was introduced in 2010. He has won it twice, once with Michael van Gerwen in 2014, and once with Co Stompe in 2010 in the inaugural staging of the event.
Phil Taylor and James Wade were the overwhelming favourites to win the title, but they suffered a shock first-round exit to the Spanish duo of Antonio Alcinas and Carlos Rodriguez. Van Barneveld and Stompe capitalised, beating Wales’ Mark Webster and Barrie Bates in the final, to secure World Cup glory for the Dutch.
7. Van Barneveld hits first ever PDC World Championship nine-darter!
In the 2009 World Championship quarter-final, Raymond faced his compatriot Jelle Klaasen, who famously defeated him in the 2006 BDO World Championship final. Barney was yet to beat Klaasen in a televised event, but that was about to change as van Barneveld made history with a breath-taking performance.
Klaasen took the opening set, before the five-time world champion produced a scintillating performance to record a comprehensive 5-1 victory. However, in the sixth and final set, van Barneveld made history, by becoming the first player to hit a nine-dart finish in a PDC World Championships.
The Alexandra Palace crowd were in raptures, but Barney remained completely calm, in a zen-like zone. Raymond went on to clinch the set and subsequently the match, sealing his progression to the semi-finals with a majestic 161 finish on the bullseye. Not bad!
6. Barney repeats his nine-dart heroics the following year at Ally Pally!
(Via Official PDC)
Out of Raymond van Barneveld’s five televised nine-dart finishes, this is my personal favourite. The Den Haag ace was leading Brendan Dolan 2-o in the second-round of the 2010 World Championships, but performance wise, he was struggling.
As he emerged off stage at the interval, Co Stompe, his good friend and fellow player who was in the crowd supporting van Barneveld, encouraged him to throw the darts with more purpose.
It’s safe to say that the advice paid dividends, as in the first leg after the interval, van Barneveld repeated his nine-dart heroics from 12 months ago, to record the second ever World Championship nine-darter.
Yet, on this occasion, Barney’s celebration was very different. Ray was bounding across the stage in delight at this simply incredible moment. This simply sums up the genius and enigma of Raymond van Barneveld.
5. Van Barneveld wins his first PDC major title at the UK Open!
Raymond knew that joining the PDC would be a major test of his credentials. However, he had the self-belief and determination to achieve and compete with the very best. Pundits say that the hardest tournament to win is your first, but van Barneveld didn’t have to wait long to break his PDC duck.
After reaching the Premier League semi-finals just one month earlier, the Dutchman was drawn against Phil Taylor in the UK Open quarter-finals. Taylor led for much of the contest, but Barney snatched victory in a pulsating last-leg decider, which was his first victory over Taylor as a PDC professional.
This sparked jubilant scenes of celebration from Barney, but he subsequently went on to win the title and claim his first major PDC title, beating Welshman Barrie Bates 13-7 in the final.
4. Raymond breaks his Premier League duck!
Raymond van Barneveld, second only to Phil Taylor, has been the most consistent player in Premier League Darts history. Raymond is competing in his eleventh Premier League campaign, and only twice has he failed to reach the play-offs, which is a mightily impressive feat.
However, RvB did boast a rather unwanted record of being a six-time losing semi-finalist in the Premier League. He had also failed to beat Phil Taylor in Premier League competition, but he dispelled both statistics within one evening, beating Taylor 8-5 in the semi-finals, before beating van Gerwen 10-6 in the final, to secure his maiden PL title!
3. Barney ends his major drought at the 2012 Grand Slam!
Raymond van Barneveld enjoyed a dream start to his PDC career. Within the first eighteen months, he’d hit a televised nine-darter, won the PDC World Championships and became world number one. Nevertheless, after winning the 2007 Las Vegas Desert Classic, he endured a drought in respect of major TV titles.
However, in the 2012 Grand Slam, Barney ended his major drought, with victory over Michael van Gerwen. Raymond was certainly unfancied heading into the tournament, and he famously admitted that he was contemplating pulling out of the tournament to prepare for the World Championships.
However, a change of darts midway through the tournament sparked a remarkable resurgence from Barney, culminating in him defeating his compatriot and young pretender MvG in an extremely emotional affair. Barney falling to his knees in sheer joy after pinning the winning double will remain one of the iconic Grand Slam images.
2. Barney rolls back the years to stun van Gerwen at Ally Pally!
Prior to last year’s World Championships at the Alexandra Palace, Michael van Gerwen had won the last four televised major titles. He was odds on favourite to win a second World title in 2016, and in the eyes of many, he was simply invincible.
Nevertheless, not in the eyes of Raymond van Barneveld. Michael and Raymond enjoy a great friendship, but also a great rivalry, and they contested a thrilling tie in the last 16 at Ally Pally.
Barney, seeded a lowly 16th, was considered as a rank underdog against the world number one, but the five-time world champion rolled back the years to defeat MvG, in arguably the best match ever staged at the Alexandra Palace.
1. Van Barneveld beats Taylor in 2007 Final; to win his fifth World title!
(Via Official PDC)
This undoubtedly has to be the pinnacle of van Barneveld’s PDC career. Raymond was seeded 32nd for his PDC World Championship debut, where he survived match-darts from world number one Colin Lloyd in round-two, before reaching the final to face his old rival Taylor.
What followed on that famous Sunday evening at the Circus Tavern was quite extraordinary. Taylor led 3-0 and appeared destined to secure another world title, but van Barneveld launched an astonishing comeback, hitting an incredible 21 180’s, before prevailing in an epic sudden-death leg. It remains the greatest game of darts ever played.