What a day for Raymond van Barneveld!
Team Unicorn’s Dutch star took another big step on his journey back to the top, by banging in a spectacular 9 dart leg on his way to winning the 5th UK Open qualifier in Barnsley on Saturday.
Barney’s terrific 9 darter came in his 6-2 win in round three against Michael Barnard, and he won the final with a convincing 6-3 victory over Andy Smith.
“I am extremely happy,” Barney said. “I said I wanted to prove myself on the Pro Tour and hopefully I can keep this form going for the rest of the Premier League.”
It was his 9TH 9 dart leg since joining the PDC!
Early victories against Jack Hill, Mareno Michels and Barnard set the tone, but Barney then had to battle his way to the final, as he won last leg deciders against Simon Whitlock and Brendan Dolan and then edged out Unicorn stablemate Terry Jenkins 6-4 in the semi-finals.
Despite losing the opening leg of the final, Barney was always in control against ‘The Pie Man’ as he won three consecutive legs in 12, 14 and 14 darts, hitting a 180 in each of the legs.
A 92 check-out took him to a 4-2 lead and he won the match with a 117 finish.....and it was good to see Barney back in the winner’s enclosure!
Despite semi-final defeats, there were welcome returns to form for both Terry Jenkins and Jamie Caven.
Both will certainly be pleased with their respective runs to the last four....Caven eventually lost a close one 6-4 to ‘The Pie Man’ while Jenkins was beaten by the same score by Barneveld.
It was certainly a mixed day for the rest of Team Unicorn.
Gary Anderson, Kevin Painter and Andy Hamilton all reached the last 16 in Barnsley.....Anderson was stunned 6-0 by James Richardson, Hamilton was a 6-3 loser against Justin Pipe, while Painter went down by the same score against Caven.
Arron Monk was beaten 6-3 by Andy Smith in round three, while three more Unicorn players lost in the 2nd Round....Devon Petersen was unlucky to lose a last leg decider to Co Stompe, Wes Newton was another victim of ‘The Pie Man’ losing 6-4 and Paul Nicholson was beaten by the same score by young Arron Monk.
In the 1st Round proper, Joe Cullen lost 6-3 to Terry Jenkins, Colin Osborne lost 6-3 to Simon Whitlock and Steffi Luck lost 6-1 against Pipe.
While in the preliminary round, Peter Manley was whitewashed by Michael Mansell and James Wade was unlucky to be draw against Terry Jenkins and lost 6-3.
Results – Q/Finals:
Raymond van Barneveld 6-5 Brendan Dolan
Terry Jenkins 6-5 James Richardson
Jamie Caven 6-5 Justin Pipe
Andy Smith 6- Adrian Lewis
Andy Smith 6-4 Jamie Caven
Raymond van Barneveld 6-4 Terry Jenkins
Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 Andy Smith
By STUART PYKE
Photo courtesy PDC.