Barney Battles Through

Red Dragon Darts


Raymond van Barneveld and Chris Dobey produced superb performances to progress to round three at the Paddy Power World Darts Championship on Friday, as Florian Hempel launched a heroic fightback to stun Dimitri Van den Bergh.

The penultimate day of action before the Christmas break saw eight second round ties take place at Alexandra Palace, as 2007 champion Van Barneveld made a winning return to the capital.

The Dutch legend – roared on by a partisan crowd – averaged 99.81 and pinned 11 of his 20 darts at double to defeat Polish debutant Radek Szaganski 3-1 in a high-quality affair.

Szaganski won the game’s opening leg, before Van Barneveld reeled off six without reply to assume control, wrapping up the opener with an 11-darter, and landing 86 and 104 checkouts to maintain his charge.

The spirited Szaganski followed up a 118 outshot with 15 and 13-dart legs to stay afloat in set three, but Van Barneveld kept his poise in a high-quality fourth set, sealing the deal with a two-dart 80 kill.

“I’m really satisfied with that performance,” admitted Van Barneveld, who will play Peter Wright’s conqueror Jim Williams for a place in the last 16.

“Radek won a ProTour a few months ago, so I was warned. I knew it was going to be a tough game, but there was a lot of pressure on me tonight, so I’m really happy.

“The Ally Pally is what it’s all about. You can’t compare this tournament with any other; this is the one that every player wants to win.”

Meanwhile, Masters champion Dobey registered the second-highest average of the tournament so far in his deciding-set success against Willie O’Connor, averaging 103 to end the Irishman’s resistance.

The pair traded the opening two sets, as O’Connor responded to Dobey’s blistering start by restoring parity with a 110 average in the second stanza.

The Bedlington star kicked off set three with a fabulous 11-darter on his way to establishing a 2-1 lead, although a 108 average in set four was not enough to seal the deal as O’Connor set up a thrilling finale.

However, Dobey – who landed ten maximums in the contest – capped off a sublime display in the fifth and decisive set to book a mouth-watering third round clash against former European Champion Ross Smith.

“I knew what I was up against tonight,” insisted Dobey, who celebrated the birth of his second child, Chester, just two days ago.

“Willie is a fantastic player, and I’m just delighted to come through such a tough first game.

“It’s been a great few days for me. I haven’t got much sleep, but I’ve dealt with it well, and I’m really looking forward to going home and spending Christmas with the family now.”

Earlier in the night, Hempel survived three match darts as he fought back from the brink to defeat Van den Bergh at this event for the second time in three years.

Van den Bergh punished a tentative start from the popular German to race into a two-set lead, and although Hempel halved the deficit in set three, the Belgian regained control to lead 2-0 in the fourth.

However, Hempel left Van den Bergh shell-shocked after conjuring up 151 and 84 skin-savers in consecutive legs, before crashing in a magical ten-darter to create a dramatic final set.

Hempel made it back-to-back ten-darters to draw first blood in set five, and he continued his rampant run to wrap up the deciding set without reply.

“I thought I was out of the tournament, but I’m still alive,” reflected Hempel, who converted 71% of his attempts at double to cap off a remarkable display of finishing.

“The 151 was a big turning point for me. I started to play better and better. It is an amazing feeling. I am so emotional.

“I lost every feeling in my body when I was 2-0 up in the first set. I lost the feeling in my darts, but I managed to get it back, and this win is so special for me.”

Hempel was joined in round three by compatriot Martin Schindler, who sealed his progress with a convincing 3-1 victory against Jermaine Wattimena.

Schindler won six of the opening eight legs to seize control, and while Wattimena responded with a roof-raising 170 checkout en route to clinching set three, Schindler stormed to the fourth to complete the job.

Boris Krcmar created some personal history in Friday’s afternoon session, dumping out 12th seed Dirk van Duijvenbode to become the first Croatian player to reach the last 32 at the World Championship.

Van Duijvenbode stormed to the opening set with a 108 average, before a clinical Krcmar responded by winning nine of the next ten legs to move through to a last 32 showdown against Gary Anderson.

Brendan Dolan will take on 2021 champion Gerwyn Price at the same stage of the competition, after winning through a marathon 78-minute contest against his former World Cup partner Mickey Mansell.

There was little to separate the pair throughout a high-quality tie, but it was Dolan who triumphed in a thrilling sudden-death leg, after Mansell had forced a last-leg shoot-out with a majestic 148 checkout.

Jeffrey de Graaf also moved through to round three for the first time, reeling off three consecutive sets to seal a 3-1 success against former Grand Slam champion Jose de Sousa, averaging almost 116 in a stunning fourth set.

Elsewhere, Krzysztof Ratajski defied a sluggish start to see off Jamie Hughes by the same scoreline, to create a potential third round showdown against ninth seed Jonny Clayton.

The second round action will conclude on a bumper double session on Saturday, with Wales’ World Cup winner Clayton, World Matchplay champion Nathan Aspinall and 2021 semi-finalist Stephen Bunting among the names in action.

2023/24 Paddy Power World Darts Championship

Friday December 22
Afternoon Session

4x Second Round
Brendan Dolan 3-2 Mickey Mansell (3-2, 0-3, 3-2, 1-3, 6-5) (R2)
Jeffrey de Graaf 3-1 Jose de Sousa (2-3, 3-2, 3-1, 3-0) (R2)
Krzysztof Ratajski 3-1 Jamie Hughes (2-3, 3-2, 3-2, 3-1) (R2)
Boris Krcmar 3-1 Dirk van Duijvenbode (1-3, 3-0, 3-1, 3-0) (R2)

Evening Session
4x Second Round
Florian Hempel 3-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh (2-3, 1-3, 3-2, 3-2, 3-2, 3-0) (R2)
Martin Schindler 3-1 Jermaine Wattimena (3-1, 3-1, 2-3, 3-0) (R2)
Raymond van Barneveld 3-1 Radek Szaganski (3-1, 3-0, 2-3, 3-2) (R2)
Chris Dobey 3-2 William O’Connor (3-1, 1-3, 3-1, 1-3, 3-1) (R2)

Saturday December 23

Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
4x Second Round
Kim Huybrechts v Richard Veenstra (R2)
Callan Rydz v Ricardo Pietreczko (R2)
Jonny Clayton v Steve Lennon (R2)
Daryl Gurney v Steve Beaton (R2)

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
4x Second Round
Ryan Searle v Tomoya Goto (R2)
Josh Rock v Berry van Peer (R2)
Stephen Bunting v Ryan Joyce (R2)
Nathan Aspinall v Ricky Evans (R2)


Images: Kieran Cleeves / PDC


Latest articles

Newsletter Signup

Related articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here