Belfast Telegraph

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Barney vows MVG won't ruin Belfast's big party


By Laure James

Raymond van Barneveld has vowed no-one will ruin his party in Belfast tonight. The five-time World Champion intends on celebrating his 50th birthday as the PDC Premier League returns to the SSE Arena, despite having to take on fellow Dutchman - and world number one - Michael van Gerwen.

The fans' favourite has hit a purple patch just in time to mark his half century, and insists he'll be out to ensure no-one spoils his big night.

"I'm playing Michael but nobody can ruin my birthday. It's a special birthday for me and I want to enjoy the day," Barney said.

"I'm sure I'll get lots of messages and phone calls but then at some point I'll try to prepare myself right and I'll be trying my best to win," Van Barneveld added.

"Hopefully I can stop him again - I've beaten Michael, beaten Gary (Anderson) and drawn with Peter Wright so I've taken five points so far from the top three in the world.

"Everyone can beat each other and I'm looking forward to the remaining few weeks."

Van Barneveld took victory in their most recent big-stage clash in the Premier League last month with a 7-5 win in Manchester, yet MVG, however, lands in Belfast on the back of winning his 15th European title, averaging over 100 in each of his five matches in Germany.

Barney added: "I'm still in the top four and hopefully I can get into the Play-Offs.

"I'm working hard but it's tough, it's not easy.

"James Wade lost twice on his birthday two weeks ago, and you don't want that."

Van Gerwen defeated his fellow countryman in the run to that title in Germany but is still keen to exact revenge for that defeat in Manchester.

"Things like that happen in life. I should have won that game, but sometimes you make mistakes - people think I'm a robot but I'm human," he said.

"I want to perform every time and focus on myself. I have to keep practising and prepare myself as well as possible.

"Raymond was fantastic in that game and I missed a few chances, but this is a new week. I played some phenomenal darts in Germany and I want to keep that going now.

"I'm looking forward to playing Raymond on his birthday - hopefully I give him a nice birthday present!"

Meanwhile, Phil Taylor and Dave Chisnall will hope they can win twice with the backing from the Belfast crowd.

Sixteen-time world beater Taylor, who announced he will retire at the end of this season, will take on Chisnall and Gary Anderson, while Chisnall also faces Adrian Lewis - who hit a nine-darter here last year.

"Adie's playing well," 'Chizzy' said. "I played him in a ProTour final a couple of weeks ago and we were both smashing in the 180s, so the crowd in Belfast should be in for a treat.

"It's likely to be a big scoring match. It's down to who hits the doubles but hopefully the points go my way."

Chisnall added: "It might be the last time I play Phil, so it'll be special. Phil has still got it, make no mistake - when he goes he'll be missed by a lot of people."

Lewis says he may have another perfect nine in his locker for a fanbase the Stoke man holds affection for.

"I hit a nine-darter in Belfast last year and why can't I do it again? I'm capable of hitting another one, and I'll try to do it again. Chizz and I both hit a lot of 180s, there could be a world record waiting to happen in one of our matches," he said.

"I always love going over there to Belfast because they love their darts and the crowds are fantastic," he added.

Betway Premier League (SSE Arena, 7pm): Dave Chisnall v Adrian Lewis; Phil Taylor v Gary Anderson; Peter Wright v James Wade; Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld; Dave Chisnall v Phil Taylor.

Belfast Telegraph

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