Van Barneveld Wins First Title Since 2013 With Stunning Return To Pro Darts

The former world champion returned to the circuit in magnificent fashion
15:30, 28 Feb 2021

Raymond van Barneveld announced his return to professional darts by winning a PDC ranking title for the first time in eight years. On his third day back on tour in Bolton on Saturday, the Dutchman defeated Joe Cullen 8-6 in the final at Players Championship 3, only a week after claiming a PDC Tour Card at Qualifying School.

Back at the Bolton Whites Hotel, where he won his first televised title at the 2006 UK Open, Van Barneveld scooped the £10,000 winners’ prize five months after announcing his comeback.

“I can’t express how happy I am,” he said. “Today it all went right, I had the focus I never had for the last two or three years. I was an amateur last week and one week later I'm winning a ProTour, that's what you can do if you believe in yourself.

“I was so focused on winning that Tour Card, then I came here to the Super Series and I thought ‘wow, this is another level’ and I asked myself ‘can I do this again?’ Yes, of course I can if I believe. It's all about belief. I have to thank my management team who are making sure I practice every single day, which I've never done before in my life.

“When I came here I thought ‘this is my place’, Bolton has been good to me. Joe played amazing in the final, he is a class player and I knew I had to take my chances.”

VAN BARNEVELD CELEBRATES HIS WIN (PDC)
VAN BARNEVELD CELEBRATES HIS WIN (PDC)

Van Barneveld defeated Darius Labanauskas, Alan Soutar and Ian White to reach the final and showed his class to get the better of Cullen for a fifth straight time.

Cullen hit a hat-trick of 13-darters to take three of the first four legs before Van Barneveld took three of the next four in return. Then, 53-year-old Cullen found the bullseye for a 119 checkout but Van Barneveld struck with a stunning 144 checkout to take control. And eventually, in a match which had kept swinging either way, Van Barneveld triumphed with a match-winning double-three at the seventh attempt.

The final night of Super Series 1 takes place on Sunday with Players Championship 4, live action of which will be broadcast across two streams on PDCTV - subscription options include a £1.99 One-Day Pass.

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