Raymond van Barneveld became the victim of one of the biggest upsets ever, as he went out of the Ladbrokes World Championship in the first round after losing to James Richardson.
Barney had got of to a perfect start, throwing a 180 with his first visit to the oche, before taking out 130 for a twelve darter to break the Richardson throw. The Dutchman won the second leg before his opponent made an unlikely comeback. Richardson, who was making his World Championship debut, marked the occasion with a 145 checkout as he won the next three legs to take the first set.
Richardson lived up to his ‘ruthless’ nickname as he won the next couple of legs to take control of set two. Van Barneveld stopped the rot temporarily by hitting double nine, but Richardson took out 120 to double his lead.
The Barney Army were given hope as van Barneveld hit back to back 180s and broke the throw with a superb eleven dart leg. He then hit double ten and looked to be in control of the set, but Richardson hit double top to pull a leg back. He then took out 145 for a second time to leave himself throwing for the match. Barney hit a fifth maximum and was unlucky to miss the bull for a 167 finish, before Richardson hit double sixteen to pull off possibly the biggest shock the Alexandra Palace has ever witnessed.
By Chris Murphy