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Raymond van Barneveld’s return and a big year for Dimitri Van den Bergh: Colin Lloyd’s 2021 talking points


Colin Lloyd

Darts Expert & Columnist

Raymond van Barneveld’s return, Kirk Shepherd and Scott Mitchell coming through Q-School, and a big year for Dimitri Van den Bergh were all on the agenda on the latest episode of The Darts Show Podcast. Colin Lloyd gave his two cents ahead of the 2021 darts season

Last Updated: 24/02/21 7:15am

Dimitri Van den Bergh could be facing into an important year

Dimitri Van den Bergh could be facing into an important year

Colin Lloyd outlines the main talking points ahead of the 2021 darting year.

Speaking on The Darts Show Podcast, Lloyd outlined the main storylines he is looking forward to, with 2021 set to click into gear with the Super Series getting underway this week.

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Barney is back!

It was never a surprise to see Barney go through Q-School. He’s a class act, and he still has that name and fear factor about him.

But he’s starting from the bottom again. And that means, he’s got no choice, he has to go to the tour events, he has to go to the European qualifiers. If he has grandeurs of getting back up to – I’m not saying where he was – but get back competing in big TV events again, he’s got to get his ranking up.

I know this is a fresher Raymond van Barneveld. But is he going to get down on himself, if the results don’t start going his way, and carry on travelling? He’s got no choice, he’s got to go to things.

It’s not like a big prize boxer making a comeback, and they get a shot at a world title straight away. He can’t. He’s got to qualify for tournaments.

Listen, I wish him all the very best. Part of the hard work was getting his card, he’s done that.

He’s qualified now. He can now start focusing on working his way up the rankings. I wish him all the very best.

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Raymond van Barneveld is relishing the prospect of a return to the PDC ProTour

Raymond van Barneveld is relishing the prospect of a return to the PDC ProTour

Mitchell and Shepherd among the Q-School winners to monitor

Scott Mitchell is going to be an asset within the tour. He’s a class player. He was a prolific winner within the BDO system, and was a world champion.

He was so pleased and so happy to get his Tour Card. He didn’t get it with the point system, he actually won it officially. I think that he has proved a lot to himself where he is as a darts player, and how he’s going to compete and try and get into the TV events.

Kirk Shepherd had all the talent in the world as a youngster. Otherwise he wouldn’t have got to the 2008 World Championship final.

That should have pushed him on. I like Kirk. He’s a lovely lad. He’s always respectful. He goes out to enjoy himself. But at some point or another, the chances will run out. I’m not saying he’s in the last chance saloon, far from it. But he is such a talented player, it was nice to hear him say ‘I’ve got to grow up now and I’ve got to knuckle down a bit’.

Because he is a dangerous player. When he’s on, he won’t fear anyone. He just gets on that board and he plays his darts. So it was nice to hear him talk about ‘I’ve given myself another opportunity, I’m not going to let it slip’.

Kirk Shepherd came through Q-School for a fourth time in his career

Kirk Shepherd came through Q-School for a fourth time in his career

Pressure on Dimitri Van den Bergh?

Dimitri is the opposite of some players; he delivers on the big stage.

Ian White is someone that needs to bring his floor form onto the telly.

Yes Dimitri is a major champion, that can never be taken away from him. But for him to push on even more, he needs to be getting more consistent in these floor events. That will push him further up the rankings. I think it will make him more of a threat.

He always seems to play well on TV. But to have an all-round better game, I think he needs to get his floor game up there as well. People might say ‘well as long as he’s doing it on the telly, it doesn’t matter’. But that puts pressure on you.

It sounds like it’s a million miles away, but next year he’s defending £150,000 just from one event on his ranking. Potentially if he doesn’t do a lot on the floor this year, that could drop him out of the top 16 in the world, if he doesn’t defend.

I’ve always been a big believer in the floor events. It keeps your sharp, and it’s that extra bit of money to go on your ranking.

Does Van den Bergh need to find consistency on the Pro Tour?

Does Van den Bergh need to find consistency on the Pro Tour?

The return of the Premier League

The PDC announced the first nine nights of the 2021 Premier League for April.

I think they’re hedging their bets to get this block in, to get it out of the way so they can focus on putting in ranked events.

Fortunately, we know now that hopefully [restrictions] will ease up, getting out of lockdown, so they can have a crowd. So I think they’re going to find space.

We’re still waiting on the official calendar to come out from the PDC.

But there’s no reason why they can’t hang the second half of the Premier League back, put it to the back end of the year, and try and get some ranked events also in this part of the year where they don’t want to block everything in. So I think they’re doing a good thing.

The first half of the Premier League will be played at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes

The first half of the Premier League will be played at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes

And finally, it’s almost time for the UK Open!

This is a fantastic tournament. It’s called the ‘FA Cup of Darts’. Every round is drawn, you don’t know who you’re going to get. You could get Michael van Gerwen drawing Gerwyn Price early on. It’s just a great event.

The thing about it being a great event, it’s so, so tough to win. It’s such a shame that there isn’t going to be a crowd there.

Watch full coverage of every night of the Premier League on Sky Sports, and stick with us through the year as we bring you the latest darts news on skysports.com/darts, our app for mobile devices and our Twitter account @skysportsdarts.





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