Raymond van Barneveld rolled back the years with a magnificent nine-dart finish during Players Championship 7 in Niedernhausen on Saturday.
The five-time world champion struck perfection in his third-round showdown against Adam Hunt, following up back-to-back 180s with an effortless 141 finish to record the 11th nine-darter of his career, and his first since 2011.
Van Barneveld – who has landed five televised nine-darters – produced the moment of magic in the fifth leg of his clash against ‘The Hunter’, before surviving a match dart to prevail in a dramatic decider on the streaming board.
The doyen of Dutch darts began his campaign with a 6-4 success against his protégé Jeffrey de Zwaan, before battling past Martin Lukeman and Hunt in last-leg shootouts to reach the last 16 on the Pro Tour for the first time in 2022.
However, Van Barneveld succumbed to third seed Jose De Sousa in a topsy-turvy fourth round tie, after the 2020 Grand Slam champion rallied from 3-2 adrift to prevail 6-4 with a 96.72 average.
‘The Special One’ also achieved perfection in his third-round tussle against UK Open semi-finalist Keane Barry, albeit his exploits were not captured on the streaming boards.
Despite the heroics from both Van Barneveld and De Sousa, it was top seed Gerwyn Price who scooped the title, courtesy of an 8-4 victory over Madars Razma.
‘The Iceman’ received a bye through to round two following William Borland’s withdrawal, and he kicked off proceedings with a hard-fought 6-3 win over Connor Scutt.
The world No 2 then edged out Ted Evetts with a 104 average, before posting further ton-plus averages to dispatch the Dutch duo of Geert Nentjes and Dirk Van Duijvenbode.
This set up a semi-final showdown against Rob Cross, and Price prevailed in an extraordinary affair, surviving TWELVE match darts and recovering from 6-2 behind, before firing in a 101 average to deny Latvia’s Razma in Saturday’s showpiece.
Image Credit: Taylor Lanning/PDC