Barney plans to make some new friends in Leamington

Five-times world champion Raymond van Barneveld is planning to make a night of it when the Warwickshire Masters comes to Leamington on April 23.
Raymond van BarneveldRaymond van Barneveld
Raymond van Barneveld

Van Barneveld takes on world number three Adrian Lewis at The Assembly in a best of 21 legs battle for the inaugural title.

And the former Hague postman says the evening will prove a welcome distraction to the relentless grind of the PDC circuit.

“It can sometimes be a lonely life, sitting alone in hotels rooms and going out for meals on your own,” said van Barneveld.

“So nights like the 23rd are brilliant. You can meet and chat with people and it’s good for the fans - they can be nearer, have a chat and get signed pictures.”

The clash follows hot on the heels of the duo’s meeting in the Premier League, which the Dutchman won 7-2.

And despite the stakes not being quite as high, van Barneveld said there was no chance of him easing back on the 23rd.

“Both players will be wanting to win,” he said. “I still remember at a Gala Casino night, I was 7-4 up against Phil [Taylor] and he beat me 11-9.

“You always want to win, even if it is just a friendly.”

The evening kicks off with a match-up between Andy Fordham and Eric Bristow.

The Crafty Cockney turns 56 two days after the Masters and is now more recognised for his appearance on I’m A Celebrity than his darts prowess.

However, 45-year-old van Barneveld sees no reason why he cannot remain at the top level until a similar age.

“I think I can go on for at least ten years.

“Dennis Priestley is 62, 63 and if you draw him he’s still one of the best players one circuit.”

Tickets for the Warwickshire Masters, costing £25 , are available from The Assembly box office.

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