Taylor v Van Barneveld: Another Barney renaissance
Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld are both unbeaten in the Premier League so far this season and each will come into this Thursday’s meeting with plenty to be cheerful about.
In truth, however, Barney would probably have preferred to play Taylor in a couple of week’s time. For the first time in a very long time the Dutchman looks to be gaining a bit of momentum, and back-to-back battling draws have led some to ask the question of whether the real Raymond van Barneveld is beginning to resurface. But if Taylor dishes out the spanking that he so often does to Barney, it could knock the five-time World Champion back to square one.
An early tournament three-dart average of around 110, plus that incredible nine-darter against Kevin Painter last week suggest that The Power is somewhere near his best. But he is giving his opponents chances – Adrian Lewis led 6-1 and Painter 4-1 – and if Barney can seize those opportunities, as he has done in the opening two weeks, he can at least run Taylor close.
The opening exchanges of this match will be crucial as Taylor will believe that if he can crack Barney in the opening skirmishes then he can take the points; it has certainly worked out that way many times in the past. Conversely, if Van Barneveld can take an early lead then his confidence will grow and he may just sneak another draw.
I like Barney. Who doesn’t? I’ve got a lifetime subscription the ‘Barney’s Back’ newsletter and my fondness of him can often cloud my better betting judgement. But I don’t think we have seen the battling qualities that he displayed in weeks one and two for many a year and although I’ll stop short of an outright back of the Dutchman, I can’t help advising a punt in the handicap market.
• Hamilton v Van Barneveld: Barney's bubble to burst
• Anderson v Lewis: Odds make Jackpot the value
• Whitlock v Taylor: Power to fill the lipstick
• Wade v Painter: Bookies continue to disregard Artist
• Imperious Taylor goes odds-on
• Anderson v Wade: Unfortunate Wade to get off the mark
• Painter v Whitlock: Artist to battle all the way
• Lewis v Hamilton: Champ to notch first victory
• Nine-dart Taylor lights up Aberdeen
• Taylor v Painter: Power has measure of Artist
• Anderson v Hamilton: No value in inconsistent Scot
• Lewis v Van Barneveld: Dutch delight in second home
• Whitlock v Wade: In-form Wizard has the edge
• Anderson v Painter: Light the red touchpaper
• Lewis v Taylor: Repeat performance for Jackpot
• Barney considered quitting
• Hamilton v Wade: Hammer time in Manchester
• Whitlock v Van Barneveld: Wizard has edge
• Hammer made wooden spoon favourite