Van Barneveld and Mardle to contest Walk-On World Cup final

Wayne Mardle and Raymond van Barneveld will clash in the inaugural PDC Walk-On World Cup final, after seeing off Devon Petersen and Peter Wright respectively in the semi-finals.

There’s been a distinct lack of darting action over recent weeks with the Coronavirus pandemic decimating the sporting calendar. As a result, the PDC devised the Walk-On World Cup competition last week via social media, encouraging fans to determine who has the sport’s best entrance.

The tournament features current stars and former professionals and ironically it’s two retired stars who will fight it out in Thursday’s final, with fans able to cast their vote via the PDC’s official twitter account.

Mardle claimed a multitude of scalps en route to the semi-finals, defeating 16-time world champion Phil Taylor and world number one Michael van Gerwen, whilst Van Barneveld overcame four major winners – Adrian Lewis, Mensur Suljovic, Simon Whitlock and Daryl Gurney.

Having produced a sensational comeback to dump out Van Gerwen in the last eight, Mardle eased past South African star Petersen in the semi-finals, obtaining 74.80% of the 11,556 votes against ‘The African Warrior’ with his brilliant ‘Hawaii Five-0’ entrance.

Petersen is renowned for his slick moves which has seen him dubbed ‘Dancing Devon’, although having seen off Robert Thornton’s classic Proclaimers’ walk-on in the quarter-finals, he was unable to overcome a delighted Mardle, who breaks his semi-final duck in major tournaments.

In the second semi-final, five-time world champion Van Barneveld came through a tense affair against current world champion Wright. The darting public were transfixed by the battle of the tungsten titans as almost 15,000 fans having their say – although Barney secured 51.5% of the votes.

The Dutchman’s iconic ‘Eye of The Tiger’ Walk-On stopped Wright’s party, although the Scot enjoyed an impressive run to the semi-finals, beating Nathan Aspinall, John Henderson, Dave Chisnall and the highly-fancied Vincent van der Voort.

Van Barneveld and Mardle met 17 times during their playing days and the doyen of Dutch darts had the upper hand, registering 12 wins. Mardle triumphed on four occasions and they also shared the spoils in a Premier League clash, although ‘Hawaii 501’ is the favourite on this occasion.

Premier League title sponsor Unibet have offered an outright market under their ‘Odds Boost’ section on site, with all profits set to be donated to Parkinson’s UK charity. Mardle was 6/1 prior to the tournament, but now the Sky Sports expert is odds-on favourite to lift the title.

The pair have been exchanging playful quips on Twitter ahead of Thursday’s showdown and they have vowed to recreate their opponents’ entrances after the final, therefore stay tuned to social media tomorrow to keep up to date with the drama!

Photo Credit: Kelly Deckers/PDC

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