• Premier League Play-Offs

Van Barneveld seals shock Premier League victory

Rob Bartlett at The O2
May 22, 2014
Raymond van Barneveld is the 2014 Premier League champion © Getty Images

Raymond van Barneveld shocked defending champion and world No.1 Michael Van Gerwen to claim his first Premier League title with a brilliant 10-6 victory at London's O2 Arena on Thursday.

Van Barneveld, who earlier enjoyed his first ever victory against Phil Taylor in the competition to set up an all-Dutch final, had failed to go beyond the semi-final stage in six attempts but remained relaxed throughout to finally claim the trophy and £150,000 top prize.

The fireworks started immediately as Van Gerwen wowed the crowd with seven perfect darts before his chase for darts' Holy Grail was ended with botched treble 19 attempt. With his opponent miles behind, he returned to draw first blood.

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  • Newly-crowned Premier League champion Raymond van Barneveld has revealed he needed therapy to get over depression.
  • "I've had therapy because sometimes I was depressed and didn't feel right," he said.
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Van Barneveld, who was included in the 16-week season as a wildcard pick, did not let fellow countryman's quick start get the better of him and calmly levelled on his own throw.

Loose darts from Van Gerwen allowed 'Barney' to break on double four, before the first-time finalist started the fourth leg with a perfectly timed 180. That allowed him to confirm the break of throw for a 3-1 advantage.

Van Gerwen got back within one before the pair traded 180's in the sixth leg, Van Barneveld expertly setting up 36 with a 140 before landing double 18 on his return. The defending champion responded, but struggled to find a breakthrough on his opponent's throw as Van Barneveld finished double eight to lead 5-3 at the first break.

That lead, though, was quashed in the blink of an eye as Van Gerwen regained control of the pace with two quick legs to level the match. However, when Van Barneveld took an age to set up 32 on his last dart, it seemed to upset his rival's rhythm. His experience paid dividends and Van Barneveld broke back before holding throw with a 94 checkout to restore a two-leg advantage.

Van Barneveld's relaxed manner was dominating the O2 stage and he sealed the double break with 86 on his last dart to move 8-5 ahead and within two legs of the trophy. His favoured double 18 moved him four legs clear, meaning Van Gerwen would have to win five straight legs if he was to retain his title.

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  • Keegan Brown succeeded where Michael van Gerwen twice failed as the Isle of Wight ace lifted the World Youth Championship thanks to a 6-4 victory against Rowby-John Rodriguez.
  • Rodriguez snatched the opening leg on double 16 after Brown wasted four darts at a double. The Austrian scored a brilliant 97 finish to double his lead, but Brown finally found momentum with a 121-out on the bullseye.
  • A 64 checkout restored Rodriguez's advantage, but Brown held in the fifth leg before hitting back to claim a tense sixth leg on double one to level the match.
  • Brown claimed his third consecutive leg on double 16 before making it four with a two-dart 98 finish. Rodriguez responded with a 71 out but Brown returned to claim the crown on double 16.

Five-time world champion Van Barneveld was denied a stylish victory when he broke down on a maximum 170 checkout, which allowed Van Gerwen to move back within three.

However, a timely 180 gave Van Barneveld control in the 16th leg and, despite two nervy darts at double top, he sealed his first Premier League title with double 10.

Van Barneveld reached the final by securing his first ever Premier League victory against world No.2 Taylor; the Dutchman finally beat 'The Power' at the 21st attempt in this competition with an 8-5 triumph in the evening's second semi-final.

Taylor raced into a 3-0 lead as Van Barneveld struggled to find his rhythm, but inexplicably missed six doubles in a row to make it 5-2 in his favour. 'Barney' rattled off five consecutive legs to stun his opponent's momentum.

The six-time champion was visibly shaken but somehow managed to stop the rot. However, when 7-5 ahead, Van Barneveld started the 13th leg in perfect fashion with a 180. Taylor failed his attempt at a 170 finish and his old foe returned to finally end a hoodoo which has plagued him for the past decade.

Van Gerwen, though, was not quite as fluent in his semi-final with Gary Anderson. 'The Green Machine' triumphed 8-7 in a nervy opening encounter. Nothing separated the pair before Anderson, the 2011 champion, finally broke throw in the 10th leg.

The defending champion was unfazed and immediately hit back with a superb 74 checkout on his last dart. Anderson almost brought a 10,000-strong house down as he wired a 136; Van Gerwen held and Anderson replied with back-to-back 180's to ensure the match would go to a deciding leg.

The favourite kicked off with a 171 and, when Anderson responded with a measly 17, Van Gerwen landed double two for the win.

Raymond van Barneveld beat the world No.1 and world No.2 to be crowned Premier League champion © Getty Images
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