Wayne Mardle thinks Raymond van Barneveld can have a big race on his return to the world championship | Darts News

Van Barneveld will start his 29th World Championship campaign with a draw against Lourence Ilagan; Five-time world champion could face 2018 winner Rob Cross in second round

Last update: 12/20/21 10:49 a.m.

Raymond van Barneveld will return to the world championship against Lourence Ilagan on December 20

Raymond van Barneveld will make his long-awaited return to Alexandra Palace during this year’s World Darts Championship, and Wayne Mardle believes the Dutchman can make a big impression in the capital.

The five-time world champion retired from the sport in his last appearance for Ally Pally in 2019 after a shock 3-1 loss to Darin Young, a night he described as the worst of his illustrious career.

However, just weeks after regaining his place on the PDC Tour at Qualifying School in February, Van Barneveld won his first ranking title since 2013 at Players Championship 3, and he has had a solid season upon his return to competition.

The stars are getting ready for the World Darts Championship, will you be there to join them?  Coverage begins Wednesday, December 15 on Sky Sports Darts

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The stars are getting ready for the World Darts Championship, will you be there to join them? Coverage begins Wednesday, December 15 on Sky Sports Darts

The stars are getting ready for the World Darts Championship, will you be there to join them? Coverage begins Wednesday, December 15 on Sky Sports Darts

“I supported Barney! If what is maybe a mini-miracle happens, I want a part of that miracle,” Mardle said. Sky sports.

“I watched him play – I was doing a show with him just a few days ago in Hastings. He went and won!

“There was only Rob Cross, Jonny Clayton, Devon Petersen, Fallon Sherrock, Paul Nicholson and me there. He wiped out everyone!

“I think 200/1 is too high a price. If he plays well and he can hold on, he has to hold on, he can run.”

The Dutchman impressed in the recent Players' Championship final, before losing 6-3 to Van Gerwen in the second round.

The Dutchman impressed in the recent Players’ Championship final, before losing 6-3 to Van Gerwen in the second round.

The 54-year-old will face Philippine World Cup talisman Lourence Ilagan in a delicate opening match, while a second-round showdown against 2018 champion Rob Cross awaits the winner.

Cross dominates the duo’s one-on-one record, though Van Barneveld prevailed in their two encounters in 2021 – the first of which spearheaded RvB’s march to Pro Tour glory in February.

The Den Haag veteran is set to tie Phil Taylor’s 29 World Championship total later this month as he tries to record his first World Championship victory since the 2018 edition.

“If he were to reach the round of 16, and the draw were to open, all of a sudden people would say, ‘He couldn’t, he could?’

Most World Darts Championship appearances

Steve Beaton – 31 (21 PDC, 10 BDO)
Phil Taylor – 29 (25 PDC, 4 BDO)
Raymond van Barneveld – 29 (15 PDC, 14 BDO)
John Lowe – 28 (12 PDC, 16 BDO)
Mervyn King – 26 (15 PDC, 11 BDO)
Martin Adams – 26 (0 PDC, 26 BDO)
Paul Lim – 26 (14 PDC, 12 BDO)

“That would be amazing, wouldn’t it? It’s a romantic story. It’s one to remember. It’s like Steve Beaton is going back, or Paul Lim is playing good again. This brings me back in time.!

“We remember Beaton, Paul Lim and Barney, but are they able to win and run? When I say win, I mean games, I’m not quite sure they are able to win it. ‘event.

“Can Barney make it to the quarter-finals? Why not. He has the ability, but I’m not quite sure that conviction is fully there yet.”

Despite a group stage exit at the Grand Slam last month, Van Barneveld showed promising signs of his comeback on stage, and he averaged 104 in his first game of the Players’ Championship final, before to succumb to Michael van Gerwen in the second round.

“You look around and whoever looks Barney in the eye says, ‘It could be Ray. It could be Ray! I just want him to have that little bit of belief. If he has it, then oh wow! “

Mardle on Barney’s chances of the world championship …

It took tons of averages for Michael Smith and Gary Anderson to account for the Dutchman at the Grand Slam, and Mardle admits he’s “excited” to see Van Barneveld back on the World Championship stage.

“He played well against Michael in the players’ championship. You know me, I’m interested in what they do, not really what they hit and I look at the players like hawks.

“He was in his own little comfort zone, he wasn’t panicking and he looked good. He looked really good. I would like to see him play well, really.

“I’d love to see him meet Van Gerwen, that would be in the last eight. If that were to happen, after the crackers they’ve had over the years, can we expect another one? Possible!

Van Barneveld's last appearance at Alexandra Palace ended in heartbreak in 2019

Van Barneveld’s last appearance at Alexandra Palace ended in heartbreak in 2019

“I think that’s why I’m a little excited about Barney. I think he can play at a level that can take him far.

“You get to a certain point in a tournament and you’re actually like, ‘One of us has to win this.’

“You look around and whoever looks Barney in the eye says, ‘It could be Ray. It could be Ray! I just want him to have that little bit of belief. If he has it, then oh wow! “

It won’t take long to wait for the darts to come back to your screens and it’s the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace – join us on Air sports for each arrow of each session over 16 days, start Wednesday, December 15.


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