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RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD 7 – 4 Gary Anderson

Raymond van Barneveld produced a brilliant performance to defeat Gary Anderson on the opening night of the 2013 McCoy’s Premier League.

The popular Dutchman averaged over 102 in a 7-4 success as he got off to a strong start at Belfast’s Odyssey Arena on Thursday evening.

‘Barney’ had trailed his Scottish opponent 2-0 and 3-1 but produced some fabulous darts to seal a comfortable triumph.

“I wasn’t that sharp to start off with,” admitted van Barneveld, the five-time World Champion.

“I struggled with my doubles early on and Gary got ahead but then my scoring kicked in and helped me.

“I was happy with my scoring but no so much with my finishing so I need to sharpen that up ready for next week.

“The average isn’t that important. It is winning that counts and that’s what I am happy about.

“I’ve been playing well and I believe in myself. My first focus is to stay in the top eight and then I will be aiming for the play-offs.”

‘Barney’ lost the first two legs despite scoring his first 180 but hit back with a 68 checkout to halve the deficit.

Anderson then produced a fine 106 checkout, restoring his two leg cushion, before van Barneveld reeled off five legs on the spin, hitting three more 180s in the process

Anderson pulled a leg back but the reigning Grand Slam of Darts champion finished the job in the eleventh leg, completing the best performance of the night.

‘Barney’ faces Wes Newton in Aberdeen next Thursday.

By Chris Murphy