Brilliant van Barneveld stuns Price at the Grand Slam of Darts

Raymond van Barneveld produced one of the most incredible performances in Cazoo Grand Slam of Darts history, defeating reigning champion Gerwyn Price 16-13 and advancing to the semi-finals against Michael Smith.

Van Barneveld, who was playing in his first televised quarter-final since November 2019, came back from an 8-3 deficit to defeat Price on an exhilarating Friday night in Wolverhampton.

The five-time World Champion, who only recently came out of retirement, rolled back the years to hand Price his first defeat in a knockout tie at the Aldersley Leisure Village.

Van Barneveld defeated Price earlier in the tournament in a thrilling Group Stage match, and he repeated the feat to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final since 2015.

The 2012 champion missed darts to win the first two legs, and despite opening his account with a ten-darter, he trailed Price 3-2 at the first interval with a 107 average.

The Dutch veteran followed up his third 180 with a 98 finish to level the match inside 12 darts, but he paid the price for missing two darts in leg eight, as Price took a 7-3 lead with a trio of 13-darters.

The Welshman extended his winning streak to five legs as he threatened to win the match, but Van Barneveld responded with a spirited comeback, following up back-to-back 15-darters with an 11-darter to make it 6-8.

The 55-year-old then punished Price’s seven missed doubles over three legs to make it six legs without a reply, before raising the roof with a spectacular 157 finish to take a 10-8 lead.

As Price finally stopped the rot, Van Barneveld was riding the crest of a wave, wiring the bull for a show-stopping 170 finish, but the former Premier League champion responded with a two-dart 78 combination to restore his two-leg cushion.

He extended his lead to 13-10 with legs of 13 and 12 darts, and with Price faltering on the outer ring, Van Barneveld pinned double four to move within two legs of a famous victory.

Price came from 8-6 down to defeat Danny Noppert in the last 16, and he threatened to repeat the feat against another Dutchman, reeling off three straight legs to cut the deficit to 14-13, including a 12-dart break in leg 26.

With the world number one poised to make it 14-14, Van Barneveld sunk a nerveless 71 finish on tops to move one leg ahead, before firing in a 13-darter to cap an inspired performance.

“I was struggling for many years, but I’m so happy right now. What a feeling,” reflected Van Barneveld, through to his first ranking semi-final since the 2017 World Championship.

“I’m probably in the top five players of all-time along with Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen, Eric Bristow and John Lowe, and everyone knows I can do this. It is all about belief.”

“I love to play darts, I love to play in front of this amazing crowd, and I believe I can win this.”

Brilliant van Barneveld stuns Price at the Grand Slam of Darts
Brilliant van Barneveld stuns Price at the Grand Slam of Darts (PDC)

Michael Smith v Joe Cullen

Van Barneveld will now face Michael Smith for a spot in Sunday night’s final, after Smith came back from 15-13 down to beat Joe Cullen in a nail-biting last-leg decider.

The two-time world finalist raced out of the blocks before hitting a mid-game slump, but he recovered magnificently to win in a nail-biter, denying Cullen a single match dart in the final stages.

Smith had a profitable first session, hitting four 180s in four legs to take the lead, but Cullen remained in contention after the St Helens star missed three darts for a 4-1 lead.

Cullen then followed up a clinical 116 kill in leg six with a sublime 170 checkout to tie the game at four, but Smith quickly regained control, continuing his sensational scoring to move 6-4 ahead with a 110 average.

Cullen punished a sluggish leg from Smith to cut the deficit to 8-7, and he continued his charge with a 13-dart break in leg 19 to take the lead for the first time.

Cullen made it seven legs from eight with a superb 12-darter to lead 12-9, only for Smith to respond with a spirited riposte, converting 110 and 78 outshots before breaking a run of four straight breaks to close the gap to 13-12.

The Masters champion responded with dominant throw holds to move to the brink of victory at 15-13, before landing a pair of maximums in leg 29 to put Smith under pressure.

The two-time World Championship runner-up, on the other hand, was up to the task, following up a skin-saving 70 checkout with a majestic 11-dart break to force a dramatic deciding leg.

Despite Cullen firing in a timely 11th maximum to set up a potential two-darter, Smith sealed his progression with a 76 finish on tops to book his place in Sunday’s semi-finals.

“When I was 15-13 down it was now or never,” admitted Smith, who averaged 100 and landed 14 maximums to prevail in a Wolverhampton classic.

“I feel sorry for Joe because I love him like a brother, but someone had to lose, and I’m so glad I was able to get over the line.”

Cazoo Grand Slam of Darts

Friday November 18 (1900 GMT)

2x Quarter-Finals

Michael Smith 16-15 Joe Cullen

Raymond van Barneveld 16-13 Gerwyn Price

Best of 31 legs


Saturday November 19 (1900 GMT)

2x Quarter-Finals

Nathan Aspinall v Alan Soutar

Michael van Gerwen v Luke Humphries

Best of 31 legs