World Darts Championship: Rob Cross and Raymond van Barneveld set for titanic Ally Pally tussle | Darts News

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Wayne Mardle believes round two clash between Rob Cross and Raymond van Barneveld could be one of the best games in this year’s World Darts Championship

Wayne Mardle believes round two clash between Rob Cross and Raymond van Barneveld could be one of the best games in this year’s World Darts Championship

For the second time at this year’s World Darts Championship, two former world champions will clash for a spot in the third round at Alexandra Palace, when 2018 winner Rob Cross faces five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld.

Earlier in the tournament, two-time world champions Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis clashed in a repeat of the 2011 and 2016 Finals, and we’re set for another titanic brawl in the penultimate match before the Christmas break.

Cross makes the annual pilgrimage to the capital in arguably his best form since winning the coveted Sid Waddell trophy on his debut, having enjoyed a resurgence since clinching his second European Championship crown in October.

However, Van Barneveld will have been buoyed by his impressive performance in his opening round on Monday, where he averaged 96.7 to take out Lourence Ilagan in two sets.

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The Dutchman sadly retired from the sport following his defeat to Darin Young on this stage two years ago, but banished all lingering demons with his first World Championship win since December 2017.

The 54-year-old insists he feels “reborn” after regaining his place on the pro circuit in February, and appears in a relaxed mood before his clash with “Voltage”.

“I was training and it felt like: ‘Barney Army, Barney Army’. I got goosebumps all over. That’s great,” he said. Sky Sports.

“I don’t really know why the crowd loves me so much. Maybe I’m still myself. I’m just Ray.

Van Barneveld produced some vintage darts to outdo Lourence Ilagan in her opening tie

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Van Barneveld produced some vintage darts to outdo Lourence Ilagan in her opening tie

Van Barneveld produced some vintage darts to outdo Lourence Ilagan in her opening tie

“Rob is a fantastic player, but other than that, he’s a great guy. I can’t wait. I don’t have any pressure.

“If Rob beats me, OK, I’ll try next year, but trust me, with this set-up, I’ll do well. If it’s this week or next year, I’ll tell you now: it’ll work.”

Van Barneveld was greeted with emotion upon his return to the World Championship and revealed that he was humbled by the support he received from his army of supporters.

Four months ago, the prospect of facing Cross in round two may not have seemed particularly disturbing, but the 31-year-old was a different proposition since he clinched his fourth major televised title in Salzburg.

Cross has produced some thrilling performances since taking its second crown at the European Championship

Cross has produced some thrilling performances since taking its second crown at the European Championship

Speaking with the Podcast Darts Show last month, Cross was upbeat about his form, insisting that he felt he could fight for first place in the world in the next 12 months.

“I feel in myself that there is so much more, and that’s what I want to bring out, instead of trying to play my B-game to win these titles. I want to start playing my A-game,” said Cross. .

“Now is the time to move on and get my rankings back where I want. Maybe next year if I can finish this year, I can start pushing for world number 1.”

Van Barneveld has failed to win any of his four televised fights against the 2018 world champion

Van Barneveld has failed to win any of his four televised fights against the 2018 world champion

Cross and Van Barneveld are two of only 10 players to have claimed PDC World Championship glory, but both men have endured their fair share of heartache at Ally Pally in recent years.

‘Voltage’ suffered streak first-round losses to Kim Huybrechts and Dirk van Duijvenbode, while Barney succumbed at the first hurdle against Darius Labanauskas and Darin Young in his most recent appearances.

However, the two tungsten titans are playing their best darts for a sizable record, and as they fight for the right to play two-time major winner Daryl Gurney in the third round, we could be in a Christmas cracker!

Head to head

Cross v Van Barneveld: Head to Head

Rob Cross Raymond van Barneveld
Age: 31 54
PDC ranking: 11 68
World titles: 1 5
Main titles: 4 25
Tour Average 2021: 97.10 94.94
H2H registration: 7 2
Dating 2021: 0 2

Cross has an impressive record of head-to-head matches against the Dutch darts dean, having won seven of their 10 fights.

Van Barneveld was unable to beat Cross in any of his eight games before coming out of retirement, even though the Dutchman won both bouts on the Pro Tour in 2021.

The first of those victories inspired Barney to win the Players Championship 3 in February, yet Cross won three and tied one of their televised fights, the latest to come in March 2019.

Who win?

Wayne Mardle: “Raymond has won on tour, in my opinion he played very well at the Grand Slam and the Players Championship.

“Rob Cross will have to work hard, because Raymond won’t give him the game. It will be a fascinating match.

“I’d like to see Raymond take a deep run here because I’m the old romantic, but Rob Cross has been playing some good darts lately, and his bad games are still good games.

“Raymond has everything to do. There’s something about Raymond that I really like right now, but I can’t bet on him. I think Rob Cross wins.”

I urged Rob. I think it will be fine. I think Raymond will fight, but I just think Cross has been doing more, and more lately.

Part on the prospects of Cross’ Ally Pally …

John departs: “Raymond is certainly capable and there are no guarantees on Rob Cross’s performance. Lately, however, he seems to be getting stronger and stronger.

“I think Cross is the most consistent player. Raymond has improved as the game progresses [against Ilagan], and I think he’s done enough to feel positive.

“He has every chance if things go well in the first set. Normally we talk about the end of the set and the end of the game, but I think the start can be important.

“I urged Rob. I think he’ll be fine. I think Raymond will have some fights, but I just think Cross has been doing more, and more lately.”

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