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NETHERLANDS 5 – 3 POLAND

Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen began the Netherlands’ pursuit of World Cup glory with victory against the Polish pair of Krzysztof Kciuk and Krzysztof Ratajski.

The Dutch duo took maximum points in their opening Group F game in Hamburg on Friday evening but know they will need to improve if they are to fulfil their title hopes.

“I think we can win this but we will have to play better than that,” admitted van Gerwen, the world number four.

“I am very proud to play for my country with Raymond and we want to do the fans proud too.

“The important thing is that we won and we can start to build from here.”

‘Barney’ kick-started the Netherlands’ campaign with a brilliant 126 checkout but Poland pegged them back when Ratajski pinned double 16.

van Gerwen hit double twelve to edge the Dutch pair back ahead.

That lead became 3-1 when Netherlands grabbed the first break of throw but Poland broke back immediately to reduce the deficit to a single leg once again.

van Barneveld pinned tops to move his team within a leg of victory and the reigning Grand Slam Champion produced the games’ first 180 in the seventh leg, which Poland won when Ratajski produced a brilliant 121 finish.

‘Barney’ hit another maximum before ‘Mighty Mike’ stepped forward to seal the win with a neat 60 checkout.

The Dutch pair will take on Gibraltar in their final group game on Saturday afternoon.

By Chris Murphy