It's bonnie for Barney
Sid Waddell predicts bad news for a Scotsman in Glasgow, but better things for their adopted son!
Last Updated: 15/03/11 5:46pm
I often wonder why Raymond van Barneveld is so popular in Scotland.
The Dutchman always gets an amazing reception when we go north of the border and the good news for the fans in Glasgow is that he'll be turning up in amazing form.
In one of the big weekend tournaments in Wigan, he whitewashed a player called Michael Barnard 6-0 in the third round and averaged 123, which is well above the world record for a televised tournament. He also threw eight darts of a nine-darter in the final against Vincent van der Voort, narrowly missing the double 12.
So he's going to Scotland very hot and he always seems to enjoy playing there. He plays lots of exhibitions there and last year, after an undistinguished run in the Premier League, went to Aberdeen and threw a nine-darter.
He'll be looking to keep up that standard and his match against Mark Webster, the second game of the night, could really spark the crowd.
Then of course the fourth game of the evening is a repeat of January's World Championship Final between Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis.
The world champ won the other big event in Wigan at the weekend and was in good form against Simon Whitlock last week, so home favourite Anderson has a big task on his hands. I think we'll see things tighten up at the top of the table.
Before I head to Glasgow, I'm going to Manchester to record an episode of A Question of Sport. The last time I was on I managed to get a darts question wrong, but then won the game for Ally McCoist's team with six right answers on the trot including questions on billiards, baseball, rugby league and indoor bowls. This was despite the heckles of the opposition captain Razor Ruddock!
The other guests are Phil Thompson, Eddie Butler and Jayne Torvill, so I'll be swotting up on football, rugby and ice dancing. You'll be able to see how I get on in a couple of weeks.
But fear not, I've been swotting up on my darts as well, so here's what I think might happen in Glasgow this week...
Terry Jenkins v James Wade
Looking back over the records, James Wade has won all six of their meetings in the Premier League, but given the way he's been playing I can't see The Bull having a better chance to end that run. The only time Wade's looked the part was in an 8-6 win over Lewis in Week Two; otherwise he's found it very hard to average more than 91. He lost 8-2 to Barney last week and he doesn't seem to have enough consistency or self belief right now. He famously beat Taylor in this venue in 2008 - becoming the first man to do so in the Premier League - but I can't see him finding that sort of form again.
On the other hand, Jenkins arrives on the back of a very good win over Mark Webster with six 180's and a 98 average. His form is much more impressive coming into Glasgow.
SID SAYS: Wade has lost four out of his last five games and I've got to give it to Jenkins here. I'd say it will be 8-4 to The Bull.
Raymond van Barneveld v Mark Webster
Mark Webster's form has been wildly variable so far. He averaged a miserable 85 in Week Three, then took it up to an amazing 110 in Week Four, but was back down to 91 in Manchester. In contrast to the similarly inconsistent Wade, who sometimes gets on stage and simply hopes the darts will land in the target, Webster does things through force of character and by doing things his way he occasionally falls off his perch. Sometimes he tries too hard and that can let him down in short-course darts.
As I discussed earlier, all the signs are pointing towards another Barney masterclass for the Scottish crowd and I think he's 95% of the way back to his best.
SID SAYS: I've got to go for a Barney win and I'll go for an 8-3 scoreline with the crowd going absolutely nuts.
Simon Whitlock v Phil Taylor
Last week Simon Whitlock started his match against Lewis with a 12-darter, but it was downhill all the way from there. He averaged a respectable 97, but he only hit two out of 12 doubles (a really miserable finishing percentage of 17%) and lost 8-2. I'm sure he'll improve that because his doubling power is usually very strong, but it might not be enough against the world number one.
Taylor won a tight match in Manchester, but it struck me that Anderson didn't pressurise his throw enough. The Power averaged 104 and seems to be comfortable now that he's gone back to the darts that he used when he got two nine-darters at Wembley last year.
SID SAYS: Taylor will have a chance to go top of the table with a win and that fact won't be lost on him. I think he'll win 8-5, but I expect Whitlock to give him a game.
Gary Anderson v Adrian Lewis
This has to be the game of the night as Scotland takes on England, but I fear the home crowd might not get the result they want. If you look at their head-to-head record you'll see that Anderson won their first two meetings, but Lewis has won the last seven including the World Championship Final in January. That could be a significant factor.
Last week Lewis threw a 102 average and the week before he averaged 103, even though he lost. He won the other big tournament in Wigan at the weekend and even though the Glasgow crowd will be against him that could work in his favour. It might have bothered him 12 months ago, but since the World Championship his temperament has been much better and the pressure might be on his opponent.
Last week Anderson looked comfortable when he had the darts, but didn't get into Taylor's ribcage on his throw and that's his one big weakness. He slightly loses his rhythm when he's trying to bust a guy who's averaging more than 100 and that could be the key factor. I think this game could be decided by how much Anderson attacks on his opponents throw.
SID SAYS: These two players have the most fluent natural styles in darts, but in tight situations Anderson's release becomes a little stiff. I think he might feel the pressure of playing to a home audience and he could end up losing 8-6 to the in-form Lewis.