Barney eyeing Glasgow glory after burying the hatchet with Taylor

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 27 Mar 2013
Van Barneveld and Taylor settle their differences, but renew their rivalry in Glasgow this week (credit:Lawrence Lustig/ PDC)

Raymond van Barneveld bids to record a first ever Premier League victory over Phil Taylor when the two rivals collide in an unmissable battle on Thursday night.

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Darts' greatest rivalry is renewed for the 58th time when reigning Premier League and World Champion Taylor takes on high flying Barney at a sell-out SECC in Glasgow.

The pair have enjoyed many classic duels in the past, most recently in the semi-finals of the World Championship, in a game which saw van Barneveld hit back from 5-1 down in sets to level before Taylor edged through in a game which was overshadowed by their post-game disagreement on stage.

Dutch ace van Barneveld is joint top of the table alongside fellow countryman Michael van Gerwen, and is bidding to end a five-year televised winless run against his foe.

The popular Grand Slam Champion, however, insists that he and Taylor have solved their differences and can focus solely on matters on the board this time around.

He said: "We've solved what happened at the World Championship and we're still friends. We'll forget all about that game this week and I have to because it's a big game.

"In all these years in the Premier League I've never beaten him and only got one draw, so it would be a dream to beat him. I know I can do it but I'll have to lift my game from last week when I drew with James Wade, added van Barneveld.

The 45-year-old rallied from five sets to one down back to 5-4 at Ally Pally in December, before Taylor went on to close out victory. 

"This is a shorter format than the World Championship, the best of 12 legs, so I know I have to start well. I didn't play my game in the first four or five sets the last time we played and I'm not sure why," added van Barneveld.

"Perhaps it was because he is Phil Taylor, but I played so many great matches in the World Championship up to that point and against him I didn't turn up.

"When I did turn up I was 5-1 down and it was a tough battle because from that far behind against Phil Taylor you're never going to beat him."

Barney had ended a five-year wait for a major title when he claimed last November's Grand Slam crown, and Taylor admits he was delighted to see his great rival return to top form.

"Of all the players I've ever played - and I've played some fantastic players around the world down the years - I think Barney's my favourite one to play against," said Taylor.

"Win, lose or draw, he's the most exciting player to play against. Dennis Priestley is probably the best player I've ever played against, and Jocky Wilson was probably the most spectacular player, but Barney is probably my favourite.

"I'm really happy with what he's done in the last six months. I hated Barney not playing as well as he can do.

Taylor threatened retirement after he reacted angrily to Barney's actions after their clash at the Alexandra Palace, but admits he is Barney's biggest fan and has set the record straight with the Dutch star.

"I know we fall out sometimes but we don't fall out properly, and I'm not just a friend of Barney's but I'm a fan of his and a genuine lover of what he does.

"I'll have to play well on Thursday because it will probably be the toughest game I'll have in the whole season. It's a sell-out crowd and they love their darts, and it will be a great night," added the Stoke legend.

Match odds with Coral
Phil Taylor 4/6 v Raymond van Barneveld 13/5 (Draw 4/1)

Another tasty battle sees in-form league leader Van Gerwen play 2009 Premier League champion Wade, who currently sits in fourth place.

The unstoppable Dutchman averaged 107.22 in dismantling Gary Anderson last time out, and it looks like taking a mammoth effort from 'The Machine' if he is to prevent the 23-year-old from remaining on top. 

"I'm really, really looking forward to it," said Wade. "We all know how well Michael can play but I'm doing pretty well so far this season.

"I wasn't happy with my performance when I drew with Raymond van Barneveld last week and I'm working hard to put that right," he added.

Match odds:
Michael van Gerwen 8/15 v James Wade 10/3 (Draw 4/1)

The night's other game sees the Premier League's other Scottish star, Robert Thornton, face Simon Whitlock, with both knowing that a victory could secure their place in the final weeks of the tournament.

Thornton sampled this stage when he filled in for Wayne Mardle four years ago, but now debutises in front of a partisan home crowd in the hope of mathematically assuring himself of safety after previously being installed as joint pre-tournament favourite for relegation.

Whitlock has endured an under-par campaign by his standards and could be dragged into a nervy final week should he fail to pick up points from this encounter.

Match odds:
Simon Whitlock 6/5 v Robert Thornton 6/4 (Draw 7/2)

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Barney eyeing Glasgow glory after burying the hatchet with Taylor

Raymond van Barneveld bids to record a first ever Premier League victory over Phil Taylor when the two rivals collide in an unmissable battle on Thursday night.

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