RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD ended nine years of disappointment as he defeated Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen in one glorious night at The O2 in London as he lifted the Betway Premier League Darts title. The Dutch superstar won past the semi-finals of the tournament for the first time in seven attempts as he also ended his hoodoo against Taylor, who he had never defeated in the tournament in almost a decade.
Taylor had taken an early 4-1 lead in their semi-final as he set out his stall for a seventh Premier League Darts title.
However, the Stoke great missed six darts to move 5-2 up as the Dutchman pounced to win five successive legs in moving 6-4 up, before going on to claim an 8-5 triumph with an 11-dart leg.
He then returned to the stage against reigning champion van Gerwen, and though he trailed after van Gerwen opened the final with two 180s in claiming the opening leg in 13 darts, van Barneveld took command with some superb darts.
The five-time World Champion won three successive legs to move 3-1 up, and though van Gerwen hit two 11-dart finishes as he pulled back to level at five-all, van Barneveld found another gear to pull away.
The 47-year-old took four successive legs to move 9-5 up, including a 12-darter and two 13-dart legs, with a 110 checkout from van Gerwen keeping him in the game briefly before a fifth 180 of the final helped van Barneveld to set up double ten for glory.
Van Gerwen had topped the league table following the 15-week league season, and edged out Gary Anderson 8-7 in a thrilling opening semi-final in front of 10,000 fans at The O2 in London.
2011 Premier League Darts champion Anderson shared the opening eight legs before breaking throw to move 5-4 up - but van Gerwen hit back to regain the lead before claiming victory in the deciding leg.
The Dutchman, though, picked up £75,000 as runner-up as he saw van Barneveld pull clear in the second half of the final.
Taylor had ended the league stage in third place after bouncing back from losing four of his opening five games to power into the Play-Offs with an 11-match unbeaten run, only to be punished for missed doubles against van Barneveld.
Anderson was also left to rue missed doubles as his bid to reclaim the title was ended by the narrowest of margins in the semi-finals - although the Scot was proud of his achievement in reaching the Play-Offs in a year which has also seen him return to the world's top 16.
Betway Premier League Darts
Play-Offs May 22, The O2, London
Michael van Gerwen 8-7 Gary Anderson
Raymond van Barneveld 8-5 Phil Taylor
Best of 15 Legs
Betway Premier League Darts Final
Michael van Gerwen 6-10 Raymond van Barneveld
Best of 19 Legs
Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson
0-0 - Michael van Gerwen wins the bull and will throw first.
1-0 - Anderson lands a 180, but misses double 11 to punish van Gerwen's early misses as the Dutchman returns on double four.
1-1 - The 2011 champion takes out 66 to level.
2-1 - van Gerwen pins double 16 to regain his edge.
2-2 - Anderson finishes 68 on tops to hit back.
3-2 - Double 14 moves van Gerwen back ahead.
3-3 - Anderson fires in a second 180 of the game, and lands double ten to hold throw once again.
4-3 - van Gerwen posts his first 180 of the game, and double 11 sees him move back into the lead.
4-4 - Anderson initially misses three darts to win the leg, but van Gerwen is off-target with one dart at double 16 for a 112 finish to break, and the Scot returns on double five to level.
4-5 - van Gerwen scores 171 to leave 88 - but misses the bull and further darts at double eight and four, allowing Anderson in to break throw on double eight.
5-5 - van Gerwen breaks back immediately by finishing 74 on tops.
6-5 - van Gerwen scores 170 to leave 32, and lands double 16 to wrestle back the advantage.
6-6 - van Gerwen lands a 174 to continue his heavy scoring, but Anderson takes out 68 on double eight to level.
7-6 - van Gerwen kicks off the leg with a 180, with Anderson missing double eight for a 136 finish to break to allow the reigning champion in on double 12 to move a leg away from the final.
7-7 - Anderson sends the game into a deciding leg with a superb 11-darter, hitting two 180s before pinning double top.
8-7 - van Gerwen opens the deciding leg with a 171 score, and lands double four to secure his place in the final.
|Michael van Gerwen||8-7||Gary Anderson|
|1||Breaks of Throw||1|
|8/20 - 40%||Checkout %||7/19 - 37%|
Raymond van Barneveld v Phil Taylor
0-1 - Taylor holds throw thanks to an accurate dart at double ten.
0-2 - The world number two continues his bright as he takes out 41 in two darts on double 16.
0-3 - van Barneveld has yet to fire and Taylor hits double 16 for a 13-dart finish to pull further ahead.
1-3 - A blip from Taylor sees him fail with three attempts at double 16 and van Barneveld finds the same bed to get his first leg on the board.
1-4 - Taylor hits double top with his third dart to convert a 57 finish and restore his three-leg lead.
2-4 - van Barneveld hits double top to stay in the hunt with his opponent waiting on a two-darter.
3-4 - Taylor misses six darts at doubles, and van Barneveld capitalises by hitting double top to reduce the gap to one leg.
4-4 - van Barneveld converts an excellent 116 checkout on double top to level the contest.
5-4 - The five-time World Champion wins his fourth straight leg with a two-dart 86 finish.
6-4 - Both players miss one dart at a double before van Barneveld lands double 12 with a pressure third dart to win his fifth successive leg move two clear of his rival.
6-5 - Taylor stops the rot as takes out a 70 finish on double 16.
7-5 - van Barneveld misses three chances at a double, only for Taylor to miss one dart at double 18 to steal the leg as the Dutchman accepts the reprieve to hit double four.
8-5 - The Dutchman hits scores of 180, 140 and 105 before taking out 76 in two darts for a brilliant 11-darter to claim a place in the Premier League final in his ninth season, and win his first semi-final in seven attempts.
|Raymond van Barneveld||8-5||Phil Taylor|
|3||Breaks of Throw||1|
|8/20 - 40%||Checkout %||5/19 - 26%|
Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld
1-0 - van Gerwen fires in a 180 with his first three darts of the game and then hits another to raise hopes of a nine-darter. He successfully hits a seventh treble 20 but fails to land treble 19 to continue the 141 combination, although the world number goes on to win the leg in 13 darts on double four.
1-1 - van Barneveld responds to his opponent's opening blast by holding throw on double eight to level the game.
1-2 - The five-time World Champion produces consistent scoring and breaks van Gerwen's throw by landing double four.
1-3 - van Barneveld continues his good run by hitting double eight to win a third leg in a row.
2-3 - van Gerwen stops the rot in style with a 56 finish to complete a superb 11-darter.
2-4 - van Barneveld hits double 18 at the first time of asking to move two legs clear.
3-4 - The 25-year-old hits double 18 with an accurate third dart to record an 87 finish.
3-5 - van Barneveld lands double eight at the first attempt to maintain his advantage.
4-5 - van Gerwen hits double six to record an excellent 14-darter.
5-5 - The reigning World Champion improves on his effort in the last leg as he hits an 11-dart finish for the second time in the final to draw level.
5-6 - van Barneveld responds well as he hits double 16 at the first attempt for a 13-darter against the throw.
5-7 - van Barneveld hits double top for a 94 finish with his third dart to move two legs clear after van Gerwen had hit a 171 to leave 36.
5-8 - van Barneveld continues his excellent form on the finishing, this time taking out an 86 finish to move two legs away from the title.
5-9 - One missed dart at double nine from van Gerwen proves expensive as van Barneveld hits his favourite double 18 to edge closer to glory.
6-9 - van Gerwen keeps the game alive with an excellent 110 checkout with his opponent waiting on a two-darter.
6-10 - van Barneveld wins the Betway Premier League for the very first time after landing the middle of the double ten bed with a pressure third dart.
|Michael van Gerwen||6-10||Raymond van Barneveld|
|1||Breaks of Throw||3|
|6/12 - 50%||Checkout %||10/17 - 59%|