Raymond van Barneveld edged out his old rival Phil Taylor in a thrilling soft-tip showdown on Thursday evening, which raised £15,000 for charity in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
The doyen of Dutch darts fought back from 6-3 down to defeat the 16-time world champion in a deciding leg – in a repeat of their thrilling 2007 World Championship epic at the Circus Tavern, averaging 119.27 Taylor’s 118 last night.
‘The Power’ has featured sporadically on the soft-tip circuit since retiring in 2018, although this was Van Barneveld’s first taste of competitive soft-tip action, with the five-time world champion having bowed out from the sport following the recent World Championship four months ago.
There are some fundamental differences with the Target Nexus Boards as opposed to ordinary steel-tip boards. In soft-tip, the size of the trebles are bigger and the bullseye is a preferred target for many players – particularly in the latter stages of legs as the outer bull also counts as 50 points.
‘The Power’ registered a whopping ten maximums in 13 legs which raised £10,000 for the NHS, whilst Van Barneveld hammered in five 180’s, therefore £5,000 will be donated to a food bank in his home of The Hague in the Netherlands.
Taylor defied a strong start from the Dutchman by reeling off six of the next seven legs to establish a 6-3 cushion, before threatening a nine-darter in the eleventh leg courtesy of back-to-back 180s. However, Barney held throw in 11 darts after the Stoke-on-Trent star fell short with his seventh dart.
Van Barneveld then came even closer to perfection in the very next leg, piling in consecutive maximums and picking out treble 20 and treble 19 with his seventh and eighth darts respectively, only to wire double 12 for the nine-darter.
Nevertheless, the 52-year-old closed out the leg inside 10 darts and kept his cool to prevail in the decider, sinking an 86 kill for a 12-dart hold to secure the bragging rights in ‘El Dartico’. It was a terrific clash between two legends of the sport and you can see RvB’s brilliant nine-dart attempt below.
Photo Credit: Kelly Deckers/PDC