Bradford has the Power... as darts legends set for city showdown

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Raymond van Barneveld celebrates victory over Phil Taylor to win the 2007 PDC Ladbrokes.com World Championship Raymond van Barneveld celebrates victory over Phil Taylor to win the 2007 PDC Ladbrokes.com World Championship

Raymond van Barneveld is targeting double success over his nemesis Phil Taylor when the biggest names in darts land in Bradford on Tuesday.

Barney and The Power go head to head in an exhibition night also featuring Eric Bristow and Andy Fordham – that’s a combined 27 world titles on the oche.

The hugely-popular Dutchman will face the legendary 16-time world champion over 21 legs for the inaugural West Yorkshire Masters at the Gala Casino in the Leisure Exchange, Vicar Lane.

And after that they will square off again – this time on the poker table.

Barney said: “I hope to beat him on both, though I’m not that good at poker. But I really enjoy these exhibitions – it’s nice for a change and I see it as a training night for the Premier League.”

If anyone knows how to beat Taylor, it’s van Barneveld. He has done it 11 times in major tournaments – more than anyone – but still remains firmly in the shade behind the greatest player to have ever lifted a dart.

Their rivalry is set to continue. World number one Taylor keeps hinting about retirement but van Barneveld believes it will not happen while the prize funds continue to soar.

He said: “Phil keeps telling me another two or three years then it’s over. He’ll go at 55.

“But the money is increasing in the sport all the time. There’s going to be a £1m first prize in the world championship in the future – and you’d be really stupid to retire before then.

“I love to play against Phil and it is a privilege to be playing at the same time as the best player ever. But of course it has cost me a lot of money as well!

“He is a heavy scorer who doesn’t miss many doubles. He’ll throw a 12-darter, then an 11 or a 13 – maybe a 15 if you’re lucky and he’s only playing okay. That is what you are up against.”

Barney’s own form has returned with a bang after a spell when he became disillusioned with the sport.

He told the T&A: “The biggest reason I was depressed was because nobody in Holland was seeing the darts anymore. TV over there were not interested and sponsors were limited.

“But that has changed again with players like Michael van Gerwen as well as some fantastic youngsters coming through.

“For me it’s still about winning trophies. The money is important of course but you want to win things.

“When Chelsea lost the Champions’ League final, I heard the players left their medals in the changing room. It’s all about winning and I feel the same.”

Exhibition tickets cost £25 and are available from the casino reception with a limited number of 500, over-18s only.

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