Darts: Van Barneveld humbled by unheralded Northampton bricklayer

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The Independent Online

Unfancied Englishman James Richardson sent Raymond van Barneveld crashing to a shock defeat in the first round of the PDC World Championships at London's Alexandra Palace last night.

Richardson, the world No 85 from Rushden in Northamptonshire, ran out a 3-0 winner in an enthralling encounter played out before a disbelieving crowd.

Five-time world champion Van Barneveld from the Netherlands had his moments, including a 180 with his first three darts and an 11-darter at the start of the third set, but 37-year-old Richardson had plenty of eye-catching spells of his own.

Richardson, who is in his first season in the PDC, enjoyed two 145 checkouts on his way to a victory that sets up a contest with Kim Huybrechts of Belgium in the last 32.

"I'm genuinely lost for words after what's happened," Richardson said. "I'm a bricklayer whose just beaten the five-time World Champion in the most important tournament in darts."

Van Barneveld's 130 checkout secured the first leg of the match before moving 2-0 up on a double four. But Richardson got one over on the Dutchman with double top at the second attempt, before taking the fourth leg with his first 145 checkout and sealing the set in the next.

Richardson won the opening two legs of the second set to make it five in a row, before a double nine got Van Barneveld back on the scoreboard. A 120 checkout sealed the second set for Richardson. Van Barneveld retorted with two maximums in his 11-darter in the opening leg of the third set, and he made it 2-0 with a 14-dart effort in the next.

But as he did in the first set, Richardson roared back, snatching a close third leg before another 145 checkout drew him level. Van Barneveld had chances to take the decider but threw them away as Richardson sealed victory with a double 16.