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Raymond van Barneveld and Simon Whitlock served up a real treat on the opening night of the McCoy’s Premier League, hitting eight 180’s between them in a fantastic 7-7 draw in Manchester.

‘Barney’ won the last two legs to seal a point after Whitlock had won five of the previous six. The Dutchman averaged 102 in a real classic.

Van Barneveld said: “I went into the break 4-2 up and felt really confident that I was going to win the match. After the break Simon played top class darts and suddenly I was 7-5 down. I was thinking here we go again, playing well and losing, but I thought no, no negativity and it seemed to work.”

‘The Wizard’ took the first leg before van Barneveld took out 80 to level. ‘Barney’ hit his first 180 in the third leg, which he won against the throw. The Dutchman hit double 15 to move further in front before Whitlock levelled with a neat 96 checkout. ‘Barney’ won the next leg to double his advantage, hitting his second maximum in the process.

Photo - Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Whitlock hit double four to reduce the deficit to a single leg, before hitting two 180’s against the throw to restore parity with a fantastic twelve dart leg. The Australian made it three in a row by hitting double top to take the lead for the first time since leg one.

Van Barneveld hit double twelve to make it five legs apiece. ‘The Wizard’ replied with his third 180 before hitting double four to put himself back in front. He then grabbed a break of throw at the perfect time, hitting double 16 to take a 7-5 lead.

‘Barney’ hit his fourth maximum before taking out 61 to leave himself throwing to salvage a draw. The five-time world champion made it five 180’s before hitting double eight for a share of the spoils, which both players admitted they were happy with.

Whitlock said: “When I was 4-2 down I would have been happy with a draw and after the way Raymond played I was definitely satisfied with the result. He said that he was happy with a draw too.  He came up with some massive darts at the end and I thought we both deserved something out of the match.”

Earlier in the evening James Wade was narrowly beaten by Andy Hamilton.

By Chris Murphy

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