Take a bow Raymond van Barneveld!
It was only four short months ago that his darts world fell apart after that hugely disappointing World Championship exit at the hands of James Richardson.
Now after a decent Premier League campaign so far, a new set-up, new confidence and a fabulous double victory in the UK Open qualifiers in Barnsley this weekend.
On Saturday, the Team Unicorn star was too good for Andy Smith and on Sunday, he beat Ian White 6-2 in the final to join an exclusive club of players who have won both tournaments on a PDC Pro Tour weekend.
“I am back in love with darts, that’s for sure,” he said. “To hit a 9-darter and win both tournaments is just perfect. I just want to enjoy my game and keep improving and that’s what I hope I can do for the rest of 2012.”
Well, another terrific day of top tungsten and consistency from the Dutchman and yet again, the result of the final was never in doubt.
From two legs apiece, Barney put his foot on the pedal, winning four straight legs to clinch the win and take his total prize money from the weekend to £12,400.
Barneveld hit 14 and 11 dart legs, cashed in on White’s missed doubles and then took out 81 to finish off his 6-2 win.
His toughest test came in the last 16, when he won a last leg decider against Wes Newton in a thrilling all Unicorn affair.....he beat Bernd Roith, Kevin Dowling, Darren Johnson and Newton to reach the quarter-finals.
In the last eight, Barneveld disposed of local favourite Dennis Priestley 6-1 and followed that by beating Richie Burnett 6-2 to earn his place in the final.
Well done Barney!
Elsewhere on Sunday, James Wade was a quarter-final loser – beaten in a last leg decider to Colin Lloyd.
Youngster Joe Cullen enjoyed a great run to the last 16 but it all went wrong as he was whitewashed by Wade....but he is on course to be seeded at the UK Open Finals and of course, he also qualified for the first big European tournament, so a good weekend for the young Yorkshireman.
In the 3rd Round, Kevin Painter was beaten 6-0 by Robert Thornton and Colin Osborne went down 6-4 to Liam Kelly.
Devon Petersen lost yet another last leg decider – this time to Wade in round two, and at the same stage, Jamie Caven lost 6-4 against Thornton.
Four Team Unicorn players suffered 1st Round defeats....Andy Hamilton lost 6-5 to Adam Hunt, Arron Monk was a 6-4 loser against Matthew Edgar, Terry Jenkins was beaten 6-5 by Vincent van der Voort, while Peter Manley lost 6-1 to Adrian Lewis.
And Paul Nicholson was very disappointed by his 6-3 loss to Gaz Cousins in the preliminary round.
Phil Taylor decided to give the weekend a miss and Gary Anderson was feeling run down and wanted a break before the Premier League on Thursday, so he had the day off.
Sunday UK Open 6 qualifier – results:
Raymond van Barneveld 6-1 Dennis Priestley
Richie Burnett 6-2 Brendan Dolan
Colin Lloyd 6-5 James Wade
Ian White 6-2 Richie Howson
Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 Richie Burnett
Ian White 6-2 Colin Lloyd
Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 Ian White
By STUART PYKE
Photo courtesy PDC