Taylor v Barney: Still a spectacle to behold
There may not be quite the air about this fixture as there was four or five years ago, but there is no doubt that a contest between Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld is still a pretty special event.
Although the Power has clearly had the edge over the great Dutchman in recent times, if there was any proof needed that the pair could still produce a thrilling encounter it was provided seven weeks ago in Belfast.
Yes Barney felt the agony of defeat yet again at the hands of the world number one, but he played a huge part in as high a quality match as you are ever likely to see. His performance of a near 106 average and 100% checkout success would have blown any mere mortal not just out of the water, but slap bang into the middle of the Sahara, not against Taylor though.
The master’s incessant 112.91 was too much for anyone to handle and despite sheer brilliance from Barney the five-time champ ran out with a four leg victory.
The Power rarely produces anything but an excellent performance, but this is even more the case against Van Barneveld who seems to have to deal with the very best Taylor can throw every time they meet.
The Premier League has been a particularly lean hunting ground for Barney in his search for the biggest scalp of them all as in their 13 matches in the competition; the Dutchman has managed one solitary point way back in 2006, losing the 12 matches since then.
Despite Barney’s brilliant performance last week against Kevin Painter, I can’t see him pulling off an upset, although I can see him playing very well again and at least staying with Taylor until the interval.
Even in defeat to Taylor players generally average pretty highly due to their lack of attempts at a double, and the offer of evens at Barney averaging over 99.5 looks pretty good to me.
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• Barney v Hamilton: No room for error
• Wade v Painter: Machine to reboot
• Taylor v Lewis: Jackpot thrives on big games
• Wade v Hamilton: Time is running out
• Barney v Whitlock: Momentum is with Dutchman
• Anderson v Painter: Win or bust
• Anderson 33/1 to defend Premier League crown
• Wade v Anderson: In-form Machine is the only bet
• Whitlock v Painter: Wizard seeks revenge
• Hamilton v Taylor: Another handicap win for Power
• Whitlock v Anderson: Wizard to show bouncebackability
• Lewis v Wade: Rivalries renewed
• Painter v Van Barneveld: Barney to land the 180 odds