Premier League Darts: Raymond van Barneveld beats Michael van Gerwen to win first title
Raymond van Barneveld won a first Premier League darts title with a brilliant victory over Michael van Gerwen at The O2.
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SportsPaulH
Last Updated: 23/05/14 7:41am
Barney has been a six-time semi-finalist in the Premier League, but has never been able to take that final step, but achieved a couple of firsts on the night as he also secured a first win over old foe Phil Taylor in the semis.
The Power had not lost to Barney on a Premier League stage, but the big Dutchman produced a brilliant comeback to recover from 4-1 down to beat his nemesis 8-5.
From there, Barney, who was given a wildcard into the Premier League having failed to qualify, came flying out of the traps against the world No 1 in the final despite van Gerwen hitting seven perfect darts to start the match.
Barney broke in the third leg and maintained his lead to go into the interval 5-3 ahead, but he returned to the stage a lot more sluggish and van Gerwen was able to pinch the darts back and get it on level terms.
Despite his recent struggles, Barney has been a consistent performer in the Premier League, and he used all his experience to slow MVG down near the end of the 11th leg to win it against the throw.
A brilliant two-dart 94 gave Barney a hold, before a 86 take out handed him another break, before he took a fourth leg on the spin to move to the brink of victory at 9-5.
Still, van Gerwen stuck at his task and he managed to dig out a 110 finish just to hold his own throw and make it 9-6, but a 180 in the next leg helped Barney get to the double first and he made no mistake on double 10 to claim the title.
Five-time world champion Barney takes home a bumper £150,000 first prize and a much-needed boost of confidence heading into some more big summer tournaments, while van Gerwen can at least take back £75,000 for his troubles.
"This is incredible," said Van Barneveld after his win. "After the World Championships when I was beaten there I didn't think you'd be seeing me again."
"But thanks to the PDC and thanks to Sky Sports I got a wildcard and at last I've managed to get further than the semi-finals and able to claim my first Premier League."
Van Gerwen was denied a second successive Premier League title after again finishing top of the league after 15 weeks of action, but admitted his rival was the better man in the final.
"I've had a good Premier League but not quite good enough," said van Gerwen. "Raymond was the better player tonight and he deserved to win.
"So for me I just have to go away and practice harder because there's still a lot more titles to play for this year."