Barney chasing Taylor

Five-time world champion talks Taylor, averages and future hopes

By Paul Higham.   Last Updated: 30/04/09 2:49pm

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Raymond van Barneveld claimed Phil Taylor was 'not human', as he talked to skysports.com about his attempt to get back to the top of darts.

"I can guarantee you if Phil starts the leg he's always out in 15 darts, most of the time in 12, so that means if he's out in 12 you have to do nine all the time! So he's so hard to beat."
Raymond van Barneveld Quotes of the week

Barney exploded onto the scene when joining the PDC and rose to the top of the game when beating Taylor in an epic 2007 World Championship final, but wins have dried up for him recently.

Part of the problem has been the scintillating form of 'The Power', who looked like he was on his way out after changing his darts over a year ago.

After getting to grips with the new arrows though, Taylor has risen to yet another level and captured a 14th world crown in January before winning almost every tournament he has played in so far in 2009.

Van Barneveld has followed suit in getting a new set of darts and signing with Unicorn, who also supply Taylor's arrows, and the Dutchman hopes he can also raise his own game - although it will be a big ask to catch Taylor.

Unbelievable

"He's unbelievably at the moment," van Barneveld told skysports.com about Taylor. "People in Holland say to me 'Ray, he must be human?' but I say 'No, he's not, he's not human!'

"I can guarantee you if Phil starts the leg he's always out in 15 darts, most of the time in 12, so that means if he's out in 12 you have to do nine all the time! So he's so hard to beat.

"I always said in interviews he looks like a computer on level one! He's been brilliant and he averaged 116 the other week and hit 120 in a 6-0 win over Andy Hamilton, so what can you say."

Barney did have the upper hand when he first joined the PDC, but Taylor has raised the bar even further since switching to his new darts.

"Back then he was averaging 100, I can do that, I can average 100 all the time, but now he's averaging 105 or more.

Final defeat

"Even in the world final in January I was averaging almost 103 and he was at 111 and I still got chances, but you have to take them. I missed 66 to make it 2-2 and then it was 1-3 and after the break 1-4 and mentally it was hard with the crowd right behind him.

"I think it's all about averaging - it's unbelievable. I see things in floor tournaments and on the stages and I can't believe what I am seeing. I was winning Lakeside tournaments averaging 93 or 94 - and now I'm averaging 103 and I get beat 7-1 in a world final."

First target for Barney is improving on his three semi-finals in the Premier League, and he believes he needs to avoid Taylor in the last four if he is to do just that.

"It's important not to finish fourth - who wants to play someone who's winning everything at the moment? So if I can avoid Phil until the final then I will - but I've made three semi-finals already and never made the final."

The following UK Open in June could be perfect for a Barney fightback, with three wins over Taylor at the Reebok Stadium and two tournament wins in three visits.

"I seem to like Bolton, with two major wins there and last year I made the semis, three matches against Phil and three wins, it was the last time I beat him, so Bolton is the place to be for me to beat Phil."

Rising Standards

Barney believes that Taylor's efforts have forced the standard of the entire PDC upwards, and now there are a host of young players and newcomers looking to challenge.

"Even in the Premier League over 12 weeks, I'm averaging 97 to 100 every single week, so that's really a high level, but still I'm fourth!

"Gary Anderson and Mark Webster will do well - Gary is a world class player and Mark is a former world champion.

"Robert Thornton, I expect him in the Premier League next year because he's collecting many rankings points at the moment so I think he will be given a chance next year, especially as he's a Scotsman and we play up there.

"The crowds always get behind me in Scotland, I don't know why, maybe because I'm not English! But I hope I don't play a Scotsman up there next year."

Raymond van Barneveld was talking at the announcement of a new sponsorship deal with Unicorn darts

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