Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld are set to renew their classic rivalry in rather unusual circumstances – as they prepare to compete in a streamed charity match from their own living rooms, to combat the lack of live darting action due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The pair have won 21 World Championship titles between them and have contested some of the most thrilling battles the sport has ever seen – most notably their showdown in the 2007 World Championship final, which Van Barneveld won in a pulsating last-leg decider.
They locked horns an incredible 83 times throughout their careers, although ‘The Power’ held the upper hand, winning 61 of their meetings. Van Barneveld registered 18 wins over the 16-time world champion, whilst they also shared the spoils on four occasions in the Premier League.
Their last competitive clash saw Taylor run out a 10-6 winner over the Dutchman in the 2017 Champions League of Darts, but they’ve since met on multiple occasions across the exhibition circuit and they have several showdowns lined up throughout 2020 if the pandemic subsides.
Taylor hung up his arrows in January 2018, whilst Barney bowed out from the sport following his World Championship exit in December. However, the pair are both still sponsored by Target Darts and the company are keen to stream a clash between the two, live on Facebook.
It wouldn’t even involve the pair leaving the house, because using Target’s Nexus Electronic Dartboard, players are able to face each other from anywhere on the planet through their online network, with cameras and a microphone attached to provide a genuinely interactive experience.
Speaking to The Sun, Taylor insisted he was relishing the prospect of locking horns with his old foe. “Everyone is craving for some live sport at these difficult times, and maybe we can lighten the mood of the UK public and also make money for worthwhile charities,” said the 59-year-old.
“I always love playing Barney, we have had some incredible battles down the years, and though we wouldn’t be in the same room, it would still be competitive as ever.” Meanwhile, the five-time world champion responded to the challenge in typically defiant style, tweeting: ‘Game On’.
Photo Credit: Lawrene Lustig/PDC