Raymond van Barneveld made his 210th and final Premier League appearance just under a fortnight ago on an extremely emotional night at the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam.
Van Barneveld, who will retire from competitive darts following the 2020 World Championship, has enjoyed so many iconic moments throughout his 14-year Premier League career, having featured in more matches than any other player in the competition’s history. Here, we look back at some of Barney’s best Premier League moments…
10) Instant Premier League impact
Van Barneveld’s switch to the PDC generated huge publicity and he was awarded a wildcard for the 2006 Premier League, where he’s been an ever-present since. He made an instant impact on his debut, thrashing Ronnie Baxter 8-1 with a 98.66 average and three maximums. He finished second in the table, losing just once throughout the entire league phase.
9) Legends collide
Barney met Phil Taylor for the first time as a PDC player on Night Five of the 2006 Premier League in Bournemouth. The atmosphere was reminiscent of a heavyweight boxing fight as two darting juggernauts collided and the pair shared the spoils, as Barney fought back from 7-4 behind to share the spoils against ‘The Power’ on an unforgettable night.
8) Record-breaking average
Van Barneveld produced statistically the best performance of his Premier League career in 2012, defeating Kevin Painter 8-6 with a 112.28 average in Nottingham. It’s the third highest televised average of Barney’s career, with his highest coming in last year’s World Cup of Darts, where he averaged 113.38 against Dimitri Van den Bergh in the semi-finals.
7) Barney topples Taylor
Barney was facing the prospect of Premier League elimination in 2015, as he sat bottom of the table with Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson left to play. However, he produced a remarkable display in Glasgow to defeat Taylor, defying an extraordinary 115.80 average from ‘The Power’ to prevail 7-4 to the delight of the Scottish crowd.
6) The remarkable recovery
Van Barneveld subsequently avoided elimination on Judgement Night in 2015 after defying a 108.83 average from Anderson in a thrilling tussle. The Dutchman then went on an inspired run to reach the last four, winning six of his last seven matches which included wins over Taylor, Van Gerwen Anderson and Adrian Lewis.
5) Nine-dart magic in Aberdeen
The 2010 Premier League was very tough for the five-time world champion for a number of reasons, as he missed out on the play-offs for the very first time. However, he finished the season in style, winning his last three games and landing a magical nine-dart finish against Terry Jenkins in Aberdeen.
4) Home soil heroics
Barney received an incredible reception against Peter Wright when the Premier League rolled into Rotterdam for the very first time in 2016, but it didn’t disappoint in 2017 either, when he faced Anderson.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ had his walk-on drowned out by the deafening noise of the Barney Army and RvB produced a performance to match the acclaim. Van Barneveld averaged 103.71, fired in four maximums and took out a trademark 156 finish to triumph 7-2 and send the Dutch crowd wild.
3) Dutch derby delight
Last year’s Premier League double-header in Rotterdam saw Van Barneveld and Van Gerwen collide on home soil in the second night of action. Barney received the majority of crowd support and rolled back the years to clinch a famous 7-5 win, defying a late rally from ‘Mighty Mike’ to take out 68 in the decider and secure his fifth Premier League win over his compatriot.
2) Nine-dart history
Van Barneveld etched his name into the history books by recording the first ever Premier League nine-darter in his debut campaign. The Dutchman achieved perfection against Peter Manley in Bournemouth, defeating ‘One Dart’ 8-3 before going on to share the spoils against Taylor later that night.
1) Premier League glory
Heading into the 2014 Premier League play-offs, Van Barneveld had lost all six of his previous semi-finals, whilst he had also never defeated Phil Taylor in a Premier League match. However, the great Dutchman defied the odds to defeat Taylor and Van Gerwen on a famous night at the O2 Arena to seal his maiden Premier League crown.
Photo Credits: Lawrence Lustig/PDC