DEPENDED and frustrated, Raymond van Barneveld was in a “lonely place” after crashing out of Ally Pally.
What his legion of fans had hoped would eventually turn out to be a Christmas Fairy Tale for the returning Dutchman turned into a nightmare instead.
While he wasn’t particularly bad, Barney missed 22 doubles and couldn’t beat Rob Cross, who played the Grinch perfectly.
The excellent 11th seed Cross won 3-1 and for the third time in a row, the five-time darts world champion from the Netherlands failed to make it to the third round.
This is Quiet Night for Barney, 54, who refuses to speak to the press, simply packing up and heading out with his girlfriend and manager.
On the way, he dejectedly looked down at his flights as the results were confirmed and walked away with the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Cross, 31, could see his pain and anguish, saying: “It looks like Raymond has run out of energy. Something has happened.
“It’s a lonely place at the moment but you can move on with anything. Raymond plays quality darts this year, so respect him for that.
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“Going forward, he will be himself again next year. If he continues to practice and work hard, he will be fine.
“He is a phenomenon, a legend of the game and he deserves respect.
“You know when you’ve got someone on the back foot. You have to put them away.
“I am not as clinical as I would like on the end of the legs.
“I don’t want to have to go through to the second round for three years in a row at the biggest tournament in the world.
“If I lost that match, I would probably go to bed and have nightmares for the next three days. I’m so grateful to have passed. ”
For his first game at Worlds since retiring, the atmosphere was incredible as soon as the Eye of the Tiger race started playing.
The members of Barney’s Army were brave, generous and proud, wearing splendid costumes.
The crowd rose when Barney broke Cross in the first leg and then took out Big Fish – the 170 on a bull run – in the second in spectacular fashion.
After a sloppy third inning involving seven attempts at one, Van Barneveld won the first set in the eighth with a 20-double.
It was clear that Cross struggled to come to terms with it, but the opportunity to regroup behind the scenes during the TV commercial pause proved important.
There was a complete role reversal in fortunes as Cross completed the next three sets, with Barney’s body language falling further and further.
While the likes of Gerwyn Price, Peter Wright and Michael van Gerwen have all played and won so far, Cross has to wait at home until day nine before appearing in these worlds.
The Hastings pitcher now faces Daryl Gurney in the Final 32 and he said: “It’s been too long, maybe 24 months, since I’ve played with that kind of noise.
“It worries me. The volume reminds me of a Premier League arena.
“I was like a boxer hit by a stab. I was insecure but after the second set I showed my class and Raymond lacked.
“I’m confident. Mentally, I feel more stable than I did six to eight months ago.
“If the rankings are on track, I might have to fight five world champions to win this one. Doing that would be the greatest world champions in history. ”
30th seed Chris Dobey avoided being eliminated in the second round like the other eight seeds when he won 3-2, prompting Austrian debutant Rusty-Jake Rodriguez to say: Good night Vienna.
Dobey faces Michael van Gerwen in the next round.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/17132920/darts-raymond-van-barneveld-out-rob-cross/ Raymond van Barneveld rushes in front of Ally Pally as Rob Cross impresses to create a third round