• Callum Pattison

Barney is back: How will he do?

Another year of PDC Q-School has come and gone. A new format was introduced to avoid the usual hundreds of people flocking into one room however, all the talk remained about one man, Raymond van Barneveld.

He's one of the biggest names darts has ever seen, that's a fact. Most people, including myself, never thought we would see Barney play a PDC event ever again after his retirement after the 2020 World Championships. He had a shocking final year by his standards which is something that he has acknowledged.

Being eliminated from the Premier League in 2019 after 9 matches even appeared to be the last straw. He abruptly announced his retirement that night in Rotterdam only to backtrack a day later and commit to finishing the season. His last PDC event was the 2020 World Darts Championships where he was eliminated in brutal fashion by complete outsider, Darin Young. Here's his interview where he announced his retirement after the 2019 Premier League elimination.

So that was it for Barney in the PDC right? Of course not. In 2020 he announced that he was getting himself prepared for a shock return as he committed to competing at the 2021 European Q-School. There's no doubt Barney is the biggest name to ever compete at the event and he proved that he has still got what it takes.

PDC EU Q-School Stage 1A

The first day of stage 1 of the EU Q-School saw Barney compete in 4 matches. He won 3 including a 6-0 whitewash against Gillian Koehoorn where he averaged 100.2. He continued his solid form through the rest of stage 1 in the following 2 days which included an impressive win over talented German youngster Nico Kurz. In the end, Raymond van Barneveld won 9 of the 13 matches he played in Stage 1 which was more than enough to see him progress into the finals of the EU Q-School.

PDC EU Q-School Finals

The Finals of Q-School this year was designed in a way where it would be much more of a challenge compared to the opening stage. This is where the seeds were introduced including players who had just recently lost their PDC Tour Cards. The field in this stage included players such as Martin Schindler, Zoran Lerchbacher, Geert Nentjes, Jan Dekker and former Lakeside winner, Christian Kist.

Barney failed to win any of the 4 finals events to gain automatic entry back onto the PDC Tour however, that doesn't tell the full story. Van Barneveld played to a good standard throughout the final 4 events.

In Event 1 of the finals he was defeated by Martin Schindler in the last 16 despite an average of 101.3. He was beaten in Event 2 in the semi finals by eventual winner of the day, Geert Nentjes. Day 3 saw a major blip and what I would consider an anomaly as he lost in the last 128 to Swiss thrower Stefan Bellmont. The final day, Event 4, saw Barney achieve a run to the quarter finals where he came up short to Niels Zonneveld who had just recently lost his card.

The consistent performances were enough for Barney and ultimately, he qualified through the order of merit.

Silencing the critics?

Barney got a lot of hatred aimed in his direction after he went out with a whimper when retired after the 2020 World Championships. Many people questioned his attitude due to some of the things he said in interviews in his final year. Who could forget that interview after bowing out in the first round of the World Championships?

"I can never forgive myself"

For me, this is a chance for him to put things right. He had a shocking last year in the PDC and I think it's obvious that Barney does not want that to be how people remember his final run. He wants to go out with his head held high and I don't see any problem with that.

He's earned his PDC Tour Card back the hard way. The field at Q-School this year was the toughest it has ever been, absolutely rock solid, but Barney has clearly put in the hard work and was fully-focused on the job in hand. There was no hand-outs involved, no special treatment, absolutely nothing like that. He didn't even get an invite to this year's Premier League which could have been expected because he's classed as a major draw in darts. He's grafted for this and has put in the work and because of that, he's now reaping the rewards. Fair play to him.

I'm sure there were a lot of people out their who were hoping he was gonna fall flat on his face at Q-School. People possibly wishing for him to fail. I've seen people saying he's just taking up a space in the PDC that somebody else could have easily had. No chance! He's earned it back without any complaints.

How will he do?

The main question I keep thinking about is, how will de do in the PDC after his return? The thing that I have noticed is that Barney seems to have that itch back to play darts again. He has committed to playing the PDC Super Series next week to kick off the new PDC Season and he will also be playing in the UK Open at the beginning of March again.

This is an opportunity for some serious ranking money right off the bat. I would expect him to earn some good money as well if his Q-School averages are anything to go by. Over the 29 games he played at Q-School, his overall average was 94.78. That's not an average that is going to win him a major title in 2021 however, it would certainly be good enough for him to compete at a decent level.

From the Super Series and the UK Open, I think the aim for Barney has to be to earn £10,000 in prize money. That would propel RVB to around the 100 mark in the PDC Order of Merit after just a few weeks since returning. I'd like to think Barney can have a run to at least the last 32 of the UK Open which would earn him £4,000 in ranking money. Anything beyond the Last 16 would be considered an accomplishment in my eyes.

£10,000 is also available for the winner of each day of the Super Series as well meaning, just one deep run on any of the 4 days would be a very welcoming payday for the 5 time World Champion. It's also important to note that Barney will not be defending any ranking money for the next 2 years as well meaning the only way is up in the rankings for RVB.

The major determining factor when it comes to how successful RVB will be when it comes to shooting up the Order of Merit will be majors. Yes, Barney will be able to pick up money in the Pro Tour Events and the European Tour Events however, the main bulk of money up for grabs every year comes in the form of the major TV events. I'm talking about The World Championships, The World Matchplay, The World Grand Prix and so-forth. That's where the major ranking prize money is at and that should be a major aim for Barney - to qualify for as many TV and major events as possible.

He's already stated how important it is for him to qualify for the World Darts Championships at the end of the year.

If I were to make a prediction, based on his promising performances at Q-School, the fact he has had a year away to recharge the batteries and also that he wants to be playing again, I don't think it's out of the realms of possibility that RVB will be a top 64 player by this time next year.

Who knows how long Barney will play before 'retiring' again; if he plays beyond 2021 then it is very possible he can work his way back towards that top 32 again. Obviously, this is all opinion-based. However, I definitely believe that top 64 after 1 year and top 32 after 2 years is a realistic possibility for the Dutch darts star.

Opening Month Prediction

This next part is completely just a bit of daft fun because I want to see how accurate I can be. This is what I think Raymond van Barneveld will do in the opening few events of the season...

Players Championship 1-4 - £7,500 Prize Money (including a run to the semi-final on one day)

UK Open - £4,000 Prize Money (Last 32)

Players Championship 5-8 - £3,000 Prize Money

Order of Merit ranking after Players Championship 8 (March 19th): 96

Thank you everyone for taking the time to read this. I enjoyed researching that stats for this one and I am truly looking forward to see what Raymond van Barneveld can do once again on the PDC circuit. I wish him all the best.

Here's RVB's 9 darter against Peter Manley featuring some of the best commentary moments of all time from the late, great Sid Waddell. Enjoy!

34 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All