Raymond van Barneveld eager to make most of Premier League Darts spot in farewell season

Raymond van Barneveld
Raymond van Barneveld

Raymond Van Barneveld is determined to make the most of his wildcard place and challenge for the title in his final Premier League before retirement.

The five-time world champion announced last year that the 2019 season would be his last.

He begins his bid for a second Premier League crown against James Wade on the opening night in Newcastle on Thursday, but many believe 'Barney' is fortunate to have been handed a place in the competition.

The 51-year-old has slipped to 28th in the world rankings and was beaten in his first match at the World Championship by unseeded Lithuanian Darius Labanauskas.

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Barney admits he was as surprised as anyone to be given the nod, telling the PDC: "I'd like to say thank you to Sky and the PDC for giving me the wildcard again in my final year because I was really in shock that I have it because I'm 28th in the world.

"So really pleased that I have it. Now I have to look forward to hopefully a good Premier League with highlights of course in Rotterdam in week eight and nine."

The Dutchman clinched his only Premier League back in 2014 and that win was his last major title.

He embarks on his final year in professional darts with a point to prove and is eager to finish on a high. Phil Taylor had a similar retirement year in 2017, during which he won the World Matchplay and finished runner-up at the World Championship.

"It is a farewell tour but if you compare my farewell to Phil Taylor, who also announced it the year before, he was still in the top six in the world so in the majors he was always involved," Van Barneveld added.

"I have to start from scratch again. That means I have to work really hard on the pro tour to get back in the top 16 or top 32 and qualify for the World Championship.

"I've practiced hard, had a lot of things to think about in the last few weeks after a bad day at the office at the World Championship.

"(It will be) Really emotional to say goodbye. I have a private life as well and 35 years in this business, stress every single week, travelling every single week. I want to be Raymond again, not Barney.

"I'm really happy for this chance, what could have happened is the PDC said 'no Raymond this year', that's fair play.

"Then there would have been no 17 weeks in the Premier League which I would have hated because I love to play in the Premier League at the highest level. I can't wait to start."

The opening night in Newcastle sees defending world and Premier League champion Michael Van Gerwen taking on Michael Smith - who he beat in the final of both those tournaments.

Van Gerwen will begin as heavy favourite, especially following the withdrawal this week of two-time world champion Gary Anderson.

The Scot has been replaced by nine 'contenders', made up of young players and local favourites, who will each compete once in the first nine weeks of the league.

Local favourite Chris Dobey faces Mensur Suljovic, with debutant Gerwyn Price taking on Daryl Gurney and Peter Wright challenging Rob Cross.

Premier League Darts 2019: Dates, fixtures, venues & results

Night 1, February 7
Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
TV Channel: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)

  • James Wade v Raymond van Barneveld
  • Gerwyn Price v Daryl Gurney
  • Chris Dobey v Mensur Suljovic
  • Michael van Gerwen v Michael Smith
  • Peter Wright v Rob Cross

Tickets: 0844 493 6666 or click here

Night 2, February 14
SSE Hydro, Glasgow
TV Channel: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)

  • Peter Wright v Michael Smith
  • Rob Cross v James Wade
  • Raymond van Barneveld v Gerwen Price
  • Daryl Gurney v Glen Durrant
  • Mensur Suljovic v Michael van Gerwen

Tickets: 0844 395 4000 or click here

Night 3, February 21
3Arena, Dublin
TV Channel: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)

  • Gerwyn Price v James Wade
  • Steve Lennon v Peter Wright
  • Michael van Gerwen v Rob Cross
  • Michael Smith v Daryl Gurney
  • Mensur Suljovic v Raymond van Barneveld

Tickets: 0818 719 300 (Ire) or click here

Night 4, February 28
Westpoint Arena, Exeter
TV Channel: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)

  • Luke Humphries v Gerwyn Price
  • Daryl Gurney v Rob Cross
  • Mensur Suljovic v Peter Wright
  • Michael van Gerwen v James Wade
  • Michael Smith v Raymond van Barneveld

Night 5, March 7
BHGE Arena, Aberdeen
TV Channel: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)

  • Michael Smith v Rob Cross
  • Daryl Gurney v James Wade
  • Mensur Suljovic v Gerwyn Price
  • Raymond van Barneveld v Peter Wright
  • Michael van Gerwen v John Henderson

Tickets: 08444 77 9000 or click here

Night Six, Thursday March 14
Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
TV Channel: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)

  • Nathan Aspinall v Michael Smith
  • James Wade v Mensur Suljovic
  • Rob Cross v Raymond van Barneveld
  • Gerwyn Price v Michael van Gerwen
  • Peter Wright v Daryl Gurney

Tickets: 0843 373 3000 or click here

Night Seven - Thursday March 21
Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin
TV Channel: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)

  • Gerwyn Price v Rob Cross
  • James Wade v Peter Wright
  • Michael van Gerwen v Daryl Gurney
  • Michael Smith v Mensur Suljovic
  • Max Hopp v Raymond van Barneveld

Tickets: 030 20 60 70 88 99 (Ger) or click here

Night Eight - Wednesday March 27
Rotterdam Ahoy
TV Channel: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)

  • Gerwyn Price v Michael Smith
  • James Wade v Dimitri van den Bergh
  • Rob Cross v Mensur Suljovic
  • Peter Wright v Michael van Gerwen
  • Raymond van Barneveld v Daryl Gurney

Tickets: 0900 300 1250 (Ned) 0031 88 123 24 25 (Outside Ned) or click here

Judgement Night - Thursday March 28
Rotterdam Ahoy
TV Channel: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)

  • Daryl Gurney v Mensur Suljovic
  • Peter Wright v Gerwyn Price
  • Rob Cross v Jeffrey de Zwaan
  • Raymond van Barneveld v Michael van Gerwen
  • James Wade v Michael Smith

Tickets: 0900 300 1250 (Ned) 0031 88 123 24 25 (Outside Ned) or click here

Fixtures for Nights Ten-16 will be confirmed following Judgement Night.

Night Ten - Thursday April 4
The SSE Arena, Belfast
TV Channel: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)

  • Four Matches

Tickets: 028 9073 9074 or click here

Night 11 - Thursday April 11
M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool
TV Channel: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)

  • Four Matches

Tickets: 0344 8000 400 or click here

Night 12 - Thursday April 18
Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

  • Four Matches

Tickets: 029 2022 4488 or click here

Night 13 - Thursday April 25
Arena Birmingham
TV Channel: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)

  • Four Matches

Tickets: 0844 338 0338 or click here

Night 14 - Thursday May 2
The Manchester Arena
TV Channel: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)

  • Four Matches

Tickets: 0844 249 1000 or click here

Night 15 - Thursday May 9
The FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield
TV Channel: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)

  • Four Matches

Tickets: 0114 256 5656 or click here

Night 16 - Thursday May 16
First Direct Arena, Leeds
TV Channel: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)

  • Four Matches

Tickets: 0844 248 1585 or click here

Play-Offs - Thursday May 23
The O2, London
TV Channel: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)

  • Two semi-finals and a final

Tickets: 0844 856 0202 or click here

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