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Last Updated: Monday, 29 December, 2003, 12:30 GMT
Raymond van Barneveld
Raymond van Barneveld
AKA: Barney
Seeded: One
Nationality: Dutch
Born: 20 April 1967
Lakeside best:
Champion 1998, 1999 & 2003
Whether referred to as Van Barneveld or Barneveld, on the oche the Dutchman is known simply as Barney.

The 36-year-old's chosen abbreviation bears no relation to the purple dinosaur of the same name, but instead relates to Fred Flintstone's erstwhile cartoon colleague.

He is Dutch darts and you can buy all things Barney, including his Favourite Darts Hits featuring track six, 'Meet the Flintstones'.

Barney's standing in the game, if not musical circles, is well founded and he is the most experienced player in the tournament, having made his debut in 1991.

He reached the final in 1995 while still working as a postman, losing to Richie Burnett, but delighted the Barney Army with a revenge win over the Welshman in 1998.

That victory was matched 12 months later when he emulated the legendary Eric Bristow, the only other player to win back-to-back titles.

Van Barneveld was the last top seed to claim the title in 1999, and the defending champion is a firm favourite to repeat the feat and make it four in 2004.

He has experience and form and in the last year has won the International Darts League, the Bavaria World Darts Trophy and the World Cup singles title.

Only a narrow 7-6 defeat to Tony West in a fantastic final of the Winmau World Masters denied the Dutchman a darts Grand Slam.

Lakeside reflections
Barney was a class apart until he blew apart at 3-0 up in the semi-finals against eventual champion Andy Fordham.

Having played arguably the best darts the Lakeside has ever seen in the quarter-finals, the Dutchman was unable to keep it going and his challenge was reduced to rubble.





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