24 nations are ready to battle for the World Cup of Darts in Hamburg later today, and some of MODUS’ superstars are widely expected to be challenging for the title.
Seven players from the MODUS stable are in action over the three day event, including three all-MODUS pairings in the Dutch, Australian and Spanish teams.
Raymond van Barneveld won the inaugural tournament with Co Stompe, and he is aiming to defend his title for the Netherlands. ‘Barney’ will be partnered by Vincent van der Voort for this year’s event.
He said: “I haven’t practised enough recently and that’s why I haven’t been winning. I’m practising everyday now and I feel fantastic. I think some people have written me off prematurely but I know I haven’t lost my ability. I’m not far from being back to the old ‘Barney’, trust me. I was very proud to win a title for my country when I won it with Co last time, so I hope that Vincent and I can do it again.”
Van der Voort is delighted to be representing his homeland with five-time world champion van Barneveld. He said: “Raymond is the reason why darts is so big in Holland and he is a great friend of mine, which is important when playing as a pair. It is a new tournament for me and I’m sure we can win it.”
The Netherlands are seeded third for the tournament, one seed below the Australian pairing of Simon Whitlock and Paul Nicholson.
‘The Wizard’ and ‘The Asset’ return to the tournament after reaching the semi-final in 2010 and are aiming to go all the way this time around.
Whitlock reached the semi-final of the world championship to cap off another solid year but he is desperate to win his first major title this weekend.
He said: “I want to win a major this year; hopefully it will happen in Hamburg. I have reached a lot of semi’s but not enough finals so we will be looking to go two steps further than last time and win the World Cup. Paul is great player, he has been playing consistently well for a while now. I feel good too so I’m sure we can win it.”
Australia’s seeding of second means they could meet an England team consisting of the two highest ranked players in the world in an ‘Ashes’ style final. Nicholson is excited at that prospect.
He said: “Everybody wants to see an Australia versus England final, including me, but we will have to work very hard to get there. There are some brilliant teams in the competition this year, none more so than Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis but Simon and I have a great relationship and I think we have both got the attributes to go all the way.”
Australia lost out in the 2010 semi-final when they ran into Wales and a rampant Mark Webster. ‘Spider’ was in blistering form throughout the tournament but lost in the final despite winning both of his singles matches. He believes that he and his new teammate Richie Burnett can help Wales upset the odds once again.
He said: “Barrie Bates and I surprised a few people in 2010 and achieved a lot more than was expected of us. I’m really looking forward to playing with Richie and I think we have a really good chance. Everyone will be expecting England to win but if we get a chance we will we take it.”
England had been expected to win the first World Cup tournament but were subjected to a shock exit at the hands of Spain. Antonio Alcinas and Carlos Rodriguez reached the semi-final in 2010 and the pair will be back in action this afternoon when they take on South Africa for the chance to play Scotland in the second round.
The seeded countries will begin their respective campaigns in round two, which will be spread across this evening and tomorrow afternoon’s sessions. The Netherlands will face the winners of Austria versus New Zealand, Australia will play either Malaysia or Republic of Ireland, and Wales will take on Finland or Croatia.
The quarter-finals will be played on Saturday afternoon, with the semis and final taking place on Sunday.
MODUS.darts.tv will provide updates and reports throughout the tournament.
By Chris Murphy
Former World Champion Andy Fordham turns 50 today and all at MODUS would like to wish ‘The Viking’ many happy returns.
Fordham will be playing in PDC events in 2012 as an associate member of the Professional Darts Players Association.
PDPA associate members can enter UK Open qualifiers, qualifiers for European Tour events and non-UK Players Championships.
‘The Viking’ won the BDO World Championship at Lakeside in 2004. He was also crowned as World Master in 1999.
Once again, all at MODUS would like to wish Fordham a very happy 50th birthday and all the best for his efforts in 2012.
By Chris Murphy
Simon Whitlock is travelling to Germany for the World Cup of Darts with every intention of claiming his first major title.
The Wizard will team up with Paul Nicholson to represent Australia in Hamburg. The pair reached the semi-finals in 2010 and Whitlock believes that they have what it takes to go even further this weekend.
He said: “Hopefully we won’t go just one better than last time, but two. We want to win it and that’s what we are aiming for. Paul has been playing consistently well for a while now. He is a great player. I like playing in pairs tournaments, having played a lot of them back home. If anything it’s less pressure because it’s not all down to one person. My form is picking up nicely too, so I’m sure we can go all the way.”
The world number five refused to let a broken ankle prevent him from reaching the semi-finals of the World Championship and is happy to be on the mend.
He said: “My leg is getting better slowly; everything is starting feel more comfortable. It did ache a little bit after playing in Benidorm last weekend but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was in December. I got through that quite well though so I’m not worried about that anymore, I know I can go up there and play well despite my injury.”
Australia are seeded second for the tournament behind an England team consisting of the two highest ranked players in the world, Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis. The Wizard would be happy to take them on in an ‘Ashes’ style showdown in the final.
He said: “It would be nice if it pans out that way, as long as we beat them but there are a lot of good teams and anything can happen in a knockout format. I’m very proud to pull on the Australian shirt and represent my country and I’ll be giving everything I’ve got against whoever we play.”
Whitlock hopes that a good performance in Hamburg, followed by a winning start in the Premier League next week will be the catalyst for a fantastic year ahead.
He added: “I want to win a major this year, hopefully that will happen this weekend. I also want to win a few floor tournaments and do well in the Premier League. I didn’t do too bad last year but I lost in a lot of semi-finals. I need to make more finals in 2012 and win some tournaments. I’m delighted to have been selected to play in the Premier League again. It means everything to me and I’m really looking forward to the season.”
By Chris Murphy
Raymond van Barneveld hopes to bounce back from a disappointing World Championship by retaining the World Cup of Darts for The Netherlands.
‘Barney’ won the inaugural tournament in 2010 with Co Stompe, and believes that he can repeat the feat this weekend with Vincent van der Voort.
He said: “I think it will be harder this year because it is a straight knockout now. If you lose a game you’re out so we will have to be very focused and keep our concentration, but I’m sure we can do well. There are a lot of great teams but I think we are one of the pairs that are in with a great chance.”
The five-time World Champion wants to recover from his first round exit at the Ally Pally in style by claiming the first major title of 2012.
He said: “I probably didn’t practise enough in the last month or so before the World Championship. I played in a lot of exhibitions but not enough floor tournaments. I’m now practising every day again because it’s important for me to come back with a bang. It’s unfortunate that you can’t get ranking points for the World Cup but it’s still a televised tournament and I would love to win it again. I’m so proud to play for my country and to win a title for Holland is a fantastic achievement so I hope we can do it again.”
The Dutchman doesn’t feel that a change in partner will have any bearing on his chances of winning the tournament and he believes that teamwork is the key to success.
He said: “I’ve played with Vincent many times and we get along well, which is important. We will go there together and practise together. We are a team and that is how we will approach the competition. Our preparation is good, I know which doubles he likes to be left on and he knows which ones I like. We are not going as individuals, we will do everything together, talk a lot and hopefully that will show in our performances. Vincent is an ideal teammate.”
Van Barneveld is confident that he will return to his brilliant best, and hopes he can prove his critics wrong in the World Cup and the upcoming Premier League.
He added: “I feel fantastic at the moment. To retain the World Cup would be a fantastic start to the year and I am over the moon to be given a wildcard for the Premier League. I’m working hard to get in top shape. I played quite well in Benidorm last weekend, my scoring was fantastic.
“With a good performance at the World Cup I can get my confidence back, and then within a couple of weeks of the Premier League the old ‘Barney’ will be back. Some people may have written me off after the World Championship, but I believe in my own ability. Trust me, it’s still there, it hasn’t gone and I will make the ‘Barney Army’ proud of me again.”
By Chris Murphy