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Raymond Van Barneveld ends three year wait for PDC ranking title

Raymond van Barneveld ended his three-year wait for a PDC ranking title as he stormed to victory in Players Championship 5 in Hildesheim.

The 56-year-old Dutchman thrashed Stephen Bunting 8-1 to wrap up a victory which is also likely to secure his qualification for the World Championship later this year.

Van Barneveld eased through a one-sided contest against Bunting but had been forced to battle hard for his place in the final.

He beat former world champion Michael Smith 6-3 in the last 16 despite Smith summoning a barely-acknowledged nine-darter in the fourth leg of the match.

Van Barneveld then beat James Hurrell 6-3 before edging a 7-6 win over old foe Gary Anderson in the semi-final, saving two match darts in the process.

"I'm over the moon," reflected Van Barneveld, after claiming his second Players Championship crown since returning to the sport in 2021.

"I have been working really hard over the last few months, so I'm really, really happy to see this pay off.

"I've dropped two grams in my set-up from 25g to 23g, and over the last week I've been playing awesome, just like the old days.

"I'm so focused, so confident with this set-up, and this gives me such a confidence boost.

"I thought it may be too soon to win a title like this, but I really believe I can achieve even more.

"I want to be back in the top 16 of the world. I want to play in all of the major tournaments this year, so this win is a big help for me."


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