Raymond van Barneveld proved his is still a top player by winning Grand Slam in Wolverhampton, says Rod Harrington
Last Updated: November 19, 2012 12:44pm
Ray of hope: Van Barneveld will head to the World Championships in a positive frame of mind
Rod Harrington says Raymond Barneveld should be a buoyant man after he downed Michael van Gerwen in a thrilling final of the Grand Slam of Darts at Wolverhampton's Civic Hall.
The 45-year-old Dutchman edged out van Gerwen, the winner of the World Grand Prix in Dublin in October, by 16 legs to 14, to snare the £100,000 top prize and his first major title in five years.
Van Barneveld, the 2007 World Champion, missed double top for the match at 15-13, but quickly recovered to record an 11-dart leg against the throw and conquer his 23-year-old countryman.
"That last leg reminded me of that deciding last leg against (Phil) Taylor (in the 2007 World Championships) when he had to do it, and to pull it out and throw an 11-darter against the throw (was brilliant)," Harrington, the 1998 and '99 World Matchplay champion, told Sky Sports.
"Michael kept coming back within one leg of him throughout the match, but Barney kept doing something special and he should watch that 11-dart leg all the time as it will give him confidence that he is the Barney that he has been before."
"The nerves got the better of him and if he doesn't get another dart to win that match, it could have been curtains for Barney mentally."
Van Barneveld will now head to Alexandra Palace in December looking to capture his sixth World title - he has four BDO gongs to accompany his PDC triumph five years ago.
But Sky Sports pundit Wayne Mardle believes the Den Haag-born dartist's career could have been over had his bungled first attempt to close out the match against van Gerwen led to him being beaten.
"It was that close to being a complete disaster," said Mardle, a four-time PDC World Championship semi-finalist. "His first dart was above the double top and then he dragged a dart down into the single five.
"In a way the nerves got the better of him and if he doesn't get another dart to win that match, it could have been curtains for Barney mentally, even though he is still a great player."
Sky Sports' live and exclusive coverage of the 2013 World Darts Championship gets underway from Alexandra Palace on Friday, December 14. Click here for more details.