Raymond van Barneveld rolled back the years by producing a vintage display to defeat Michael van Gerwen in a dramatic Dutch Derby, on a thrilling night of action in Rotterdam on Thursday evening.
Van Barneveld had defeated Simon Whitlock 7-3 to kick off his Rotterdam double-header on Wednesday, and he produced another sublime display to inflict Van Gerwen’s second defeat in as many nights.
The world number one averaged 103.73 and converted 56% of his attempts at double, but after relinquishing his throw in the opening leg, ‘Mighty Mike’ was unable to level and five-time world champion Van Barneveld held his nerve to complete a historic win on home soil.
Barney drew first blood with a clinical 64 kill for a 15-dart break, before doubling his lead via D4. Van Gerwen opened his account on D16 before the next two legs were shared, but RvB pinned D4 for the third time in the contest to move 4-2 ahead, after MvG had wired D13 for a 12-dart break of throw.
The world number one responded by hammering in an effortless 145 checkout, but Van Barneveld remained unperturbed. He sank D10 to restore his two-leg cushion, before following up three consecutive 140’s with a clinical 81 kill on the bullseye to guarantee himself a share of the spoils.
However, Van Gerwen fought back valiantly. He kept his hopes alive with a 76 outshot for a 12-dart break and then forced a decider after finding tops at the first attempt. ‘The Green Machine’ almost snatched a point, missing the bull for a 164 skin-saver, but Van Barneveld returned to clean up 68 inside two darts to cap off a famous victory.
Van Barneveld, who turns 51 on Friday, reflected: “To beat Michael here in front of this fantastic crowd is amazing. I managed to lead the whole match and they were always behind me.
“They are amazing and will never let me down in Holland. I was lucky to have another night in Rotterdam, so to 20,000 people I say a massive thank you. It’s a nice little birthday present for tomorrow,” he added.
Gary Anderson is up to second in the table after making it three wins from three in Rotterdam. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ defeated Michael Smith and Rob Cross in his double-header on Wednesday, and he produced a brutal display to demolish Daryl Gurney 7-3; averaging an incredible 109.73.
The opening two legs were shared, before Anderson hit the front in sensational style. Gurney had posted a maximum to leave a two-dart combination but the Scot piled in an inspired 170 finish- his second of the Premier League season.
Anderson then converted clinical 77 and 88 checkouts to move 4-2 ahead, before extending his cushion to 6-2 with a sublime 11-darter; following up visits of 180 and 171 with an effortless 92 combination.
The two-time world champion squandered two match darts for a 7-2 win and Gurney preserved his hopes with a tidy 68 finish, but Anderson made amends moments later. He piled in his fifth maximum of the contest and nailed D2 to round-off his fourth straight win inside 13 darts.
Anderson said: “I said before we came out here that six points was my aim, and to get that is brilliant. We’ve come across to Holland for two nights and played in front of 20,000 people, and it’s absolutely amazing. I thought this game couldn’t get any bigger about five years ago but it obviously can, it’s amazing how darts has grown.”
Rob Cross moved closer to securing his spot in the play-offs after claiming a point against Peter Wright, who had defeated Van Gerwen 24 hours earlier. ‘Snakebite’ struggled in the early stages, but won four of the final five legs to salvage a point and move off the bottom of the table.
‘Voltage’ kicked off proceedings with a commanding 12-dart hold, before doubling his lead via D10 after Wright missed four darts to level. The world champion stretched his lead to 3-0 with a 13-darter, but ‘Snakebite’ followed up his first maximum with an impressive 97 outshot to open his account.
The next three legs all went with throw, with Cross leading 5-2. He was proving extremely difficult to break, but Wright displayed spirited resistance to storm back into contention. The world number two registered legs of 15, 17 and 15 darts to level at five apiece and ‘Voltage’ was shell-shocked.
The world champion responded by firing in a maximum but spurned SIX darts at double for a point. Wright almost stole the leg by wiring a dart at tops, before the world champion eventually found D4 to secure a point. Nevertheless, ‘Snakebite’ produced the goods in the decider; landing a 180 and completing a 14-darter on tops to salvage a point.
Simon Whitlock endured a miserable night on Dutch soil- suffering successive 7-1 drubbings to slip to eighth in the table. ‘The Wizard’ faced Michael Smith in the evening’s curtain-raiser, as ‘Bully Boy’ consolidated his spot in the top four with a thumping victory.
Smith had suffered consecutive defeats against Cross and Anderson to slip to fourth, but he reeled off seven straight legs from 1-0 behind to breeze past the Australian. The St Helen’s star averaged 97.46, registered six maximums and crashed in a sublime 160 checkout en route to victory.
The former World Youth champion claimed: “Yesterday knocked me back a bit but tonight I knew I had to win. I was a bit nervous and feeling a bit under pressure but the 180s started flowing and the doubles weren’t too bad. I’m a step closer to the Play-Offs now.”
Whitlock then suffered another 7-1 thrashing at the hands of Daryl Gurney, who recovered from his defeat to Anderson by closing to within three points of the play-off places. ‘Super Chin’ averaged 99.20, landed three maximums and dispatched 50% of his attempts at double to cap off a professional display.
Gurney raced into a 3-0 lead with a 109 average, until Whitlock ended a run of 11 losing legs by rounding-off a 15-dart break on D1. However, this only proved to be a temporary show of resistance from ‘The Wizard’, as Gurney won the remaining three legs in 16, 15 and 15 darts to secure his biggest win of the season so far.
The Northern Irishman insisted: “I’m going to fight right until the end, until someone says I can’t qualify, and the belief is still there for me. I’ve absolutely loved the Premier League. It’s honestly the best thing I’ve ever played in, you play against the best players in the world and if you don’t produce your best darts you’re going to get beaten.”
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC