Berry van Peer was reduced to tears in heart-breaking scenes at the Grand Slam of Darts, as his struggles with dartitis resurfaced during his clash with two-time world champion Gary Anderson at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Sunday afternoon.
Van Peer, who sealed his spot at the Grand Slam by finishing as runner-up to Corey Cadby in last year’s World Youth Championship,, struggled to release his first dart throughout his remarkable 5-4 win over World Grand Prix finalist Simon Whitlock on Saturday.
The Dutchman revealed after his astonishing win that he had been struggling with dartitis for a couple of months, and Sky Sports expert Wayne Mardle was full of praise for the 21-year-old, who admitted watching Van Peer go through such turmoil ‘made him feel sick’.
“From a professional point of view about Berry van Peer, that is one of the bravest performances I’ve seen from a human being in any sport. To actually go on and win was just amazing, full credit to him,” Mardle said.
Nevertheless, Van Peer’s struggles worsened during his clash against third seed Anderson this afternoon. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ stormed into a 3-0 advantage with Van Peer going through turmoil, and his woes were exacerbated by the Wolverhampton crowd, which didn’t appear to comprehend the Dutchman’s plight.
Van Peer opened his account on D11 after wiring the same target for a 142 finish, but Anderson was in clinical mood and coped brilliantly with the situation, closing out a comprehensive 5-1 win with a 111.79 average – the third highest televised average of his career.
Nevertheless, the result was almost secondary given Van Peer’s woes. The Dutchman broke down in tears at the start of the sixth leg as the enormity of his struggles became too much, but Gary Anderson and Russ Bray showed their collective class in heart-warming scenes.
Anderson consoled and encouraged a brave Van Peer whilst Bray handled the crowd magnificently – making them aware of the Dutchman’s torment. The Wolverhampton Civic Hall then rallied behind the 21-year-old throughout the closing stages and serenaded him with chants of ‘Oh Berry van Peer’ as he left the stage in tears.
Van Peer now faces a crunch clash against BDO Scottish Open winner Cameron Menzies on Monday, with the winner guaranteed qualification to the last 16. Yet for Van Peer, his biggest battle is overcoming his dartitis problems, and the whole of the darting world are firmly behind him, as was reflected unanimously across social media!
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC