Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen win in Premier League Darts in Rotterdam
Dutch double for RVB and MVG in the Netherlands
By James Dielhenn in Rotterdam
Last Updated: 17/03/17 8:26am
Raymond van Barneveld rewarded his passionate following with a brilliant 7-2 win against Gary Anderson as Premier League Darts swept through the Netherlands on Thursday.
The noise during Van Barneveld's entrance in Rotterdam's Ahoy Arena was deafening but, unlike last year when he drew against Peter Wright, the mighty Dutchman delivered the performance to match the passion.
World No 2 Anderson had won 11 consecutive games against Van Barneveld but quickly found himself three legs behind, before the crowd willed their hero to stretch even further.
A superb 156 finish put Van Barneveld 5-1 up against the throw, and a 10-dart leg helped him over the finishing line in a moment that will live long in Dutch darts folklore.
"It was massive for me, a brilliant night," said Van Barneveld, who emotionally addressed the Rotterdam crowd afterwards. "Gary has beaten me the last 11 times, but I kept believing in myself and tonight everything went well.
"I was finishing well, and in the end a 7-2 result against the world number two is a big effort. Gary's hard to beat and a tough competitor but I know I can beat anyone.
"To play in front of your home crowd means a lot and I didn't want to let them down. I'm really happy with this victory and I believe I can make the Play-Offs."
Michael van Gerwen was forced to come from three legs behind to beat Phil Taylor 7-4, remaining second in the league with a game in-hand.
The world champion survived an early scare to send a passionate crowd home happy in the tournament's second visit to the city - Van Gerwen, last year, also beat Taylor in the same venue.
Taylor crept into a two-leg lead amid concerns from both players about an uneven stage, a problem that caused havoc all night. Both players needed to adjust, but a 96 finish had given Taylor a notable early advantage.
The six-time Premier League winner thumped home a third successive leg without having missed a double, with Van Gerwen unusually off-beat.
Van Gerwen looked sheepish after his first leg then more emboldened as made it 3-2 - finally, his trademark fist pump debuted as the scoreboard showed three apiece.
Van Gerwen strung five legs together but needed to hold his breath as Taylor twice missed doubles at 41, going 6-4 behind in the process. Van Gerwen closed out the match after that miss.
But Peter 'Snakebite' Wright, resplendent with orange hair to match the crowd, remained top of the league by beating Dave Chisnall 7-4.
Wright has played a game more than Van Gerwen but leads him by a point after proving as popular in the Netherlands as he has come to expect in Britain. The in-form world No 3 finished a third consecutive week as the league leader.
"It wasn't a great performance but it's two points and you'll take that against Dave because he's a powerful scorer," Wright said.
"The crowd were amazing and it was fantastic to play in front of a crowd like that because I loved it. It was incredible when they sang my name - it's a shame I didn't put on more of a show for them but I got the win."
The third and final Dutchman in action, Jelle Klaasen, briefly silenced his compatriots with a 7-3 defeat to James Wade that may condemn him to elimination.
Klaasen wasn't in the Premier League for its Rotterdam inauguration last year and, this time around, was already bottom of the table before an uninspired loss edged him closer to Judgment Night's trap door.
Joining Klaasen in the bottom two is Kim Huybrechts, who is also cut adrift by three points after losing 7-3 to Adrian Lewis.
Watch Premier League Darts next Thursday, from The Manchester Arena, live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 7pm.
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