Wayne Mardle believes Raymond van Barneveld is capable of enjoying a big run on his World Championship return | Darts News

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

Last updated: 11/21/21 12:12


Raymond van Barneveld will make his return to the World Cup against Lourence Ilagan on 20 December

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

The five-time world champion retired from the sport on his last appearance with Ally Pally in 2019 following a 3-1 defeat to Darin Young, a night that is described as the worst of his illustrious career.

However, just weeks after regaining his spot on the PDC circuit at Qualifying School in February, Van Barneveld clinched his first league title since 2013 at Players Championship 3, and enjoyed a solid season in his competitive comeback.

The stars are preparing for the World Darts Championship, will you be there too?  Coverage begins Wednesday, December 15 on Sky Sports Darts

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The stars are preparing for the World Darts Championship, will you be there too? Coverage begins Wednesday, December 15 on Sky Sports Darts

The stars are preparing for the World Darts Championship, will you be there too? Coverage begins Wednesday, December 15 on Sky Sports Darts

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

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

“There was just 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 can keep it together, he has to keep it together, he can go racing.”

The Dutchman impressed in the recent players' championship finals, before losing 6-3 to Van Gerwen in the second round

The Dutchman impressed in the recent players’ championship finals, before losing 6-3 to Van Gerwen in the second round

The 54-year-old will face Filipino World Cup talisman Lourence Ilagan on a rough start, as a second-round showdown against 2018 champion Rob Cross awaits the winner.

Cross dominates the pair’s heads-up record, although Van Barneveld prevailed in both of their bouts in 2021, the first of which led RvB’s march to Pro Tour glory in February.

The Den Haag veteran is set to equal Phil Taylor’s tally of 29 World Championship appearances at the end of this month as he strives to record his first World Championship win since the 2018 edition.

“If he had to reach, say, the last 16, and the draw had to open, suddenly people would give it: ‘Couldn’t he, could he?’

Most appearances in the world championship of darts

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 great, wouldn’t it? It’s a romantic story. It’s one you can remember. It’s like Steve Beaton goes back through the years, or Paul Lim sounds good again. It brings me back!”

“We are remembering Beaton, Paul Lim and Barney, but are they able to win and run? When I say win, I mean games, I’m not entirely sure they are capable of winning the event.

“Barney, can he reach the quarter-finals? Why not. He has the skills, but I’m not entirely sure if the belief is still fully present.”

Despite suffering a group stage exit at last month’s Grand Slam, Van Barneveld showed promising signs of his big comeback, and averaged 104 in his first stage of the Players Championship Finals, before succumbing. to Michael van Gerwen in the second round.

“You look around and whoever is looking Barney in the eye is saying, ‘It could be Ray. It could be Ray!’ I just want him to have that little faith. If he does, then oh wow! “

Mardle on the possibilities of Barney’s World Championship …

It took more than an average of Michael Smith and Gary Anderson to explain the Dutchman at the Grand Slam, and Mardle admits he is “thrilled” to see Van Barneveld return to the World Championship stage.

“He played well against Michael at the Players Championship. You know me, I only care about what they are doing, not really what they are hitting and I watch the players like hawks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You look around and whoever is looking Barney in the eye is saying, ‘It could be Ray. It could be Ray!’ I just want him to have that little faith. If he has, then oh wow! “

It won’t take long for the darts to return to your screens and it’s the world darts championship at Alexandra Palace – join us on Sky Sports for each arrow of each session for 16 days, which will start on Wednesday 15 December.

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