Midweek Sport - - ALL DAY RUNNER, RIDERS & REULT -

RAY­MOND VAN BARN­EVELD reck­ons he is find­ing his best form again af­ter he stopped be­ing the Mr Grumpy of the oche.

The Dutch­man, 44, has drawn his first two Mccoy’s Premier League matches and is re­turn­ing to form, although Phil Tay­lor will test his re­solve in their clash on Thurs­day.

“Bar­ney” was hugely em­bar­rassed by los­ing to un­known James Richard­son in the PDC World Cham­pi­onships last month.

But he in­sists he is find­ing his feet be­cause: “I’ve stopped moan­ing.”

The five-times world cham­pion added: “For so many years I’ve been at the top level and last year I was tak­ing it for granted.

“I was sat on the couch, watch­ing TV, com­plain­ing about ev­ery­thing and not work­ing or train­ing.

“Af­ter I lost to Richard­son I said to my­self, ‘Ray, you are not do­ing this right’. He was awe­some and played a fan­tas­tic game, but I re­alised I was too lazy.

“I was happy to get a wild­card for the Premier League and I know I’ve got to work hard. I want to show that peo­ple were right to have faith in me. “I said I was go­ing to work hard in prac­tice and in train­ing, and I’m happy with how I’ve started in the Premier League.”

Van Barn­eveld will in­evitably play the role of un­der­dog when he faces “The Power” in Belfast.

But he won their last two meet­ings when they col­lided in lager louts’ par­adise Benidorm back in Oc­to­ber. And Bar­ney said: “With Phil, you know what you have to do.

“You have to win legs in be­tween 12-15 darts, oth­er­wise he will win the match.

“I’ve beaten him twice re­cently off tele­vi­sion and you do get chances against Phil – but it’s about tak­ing them.

“He is phe­nom­e­nal and I can’t wait to play him.” WEEK THREE (Belfast): Kevin Painter v Si­mon Whit­lock, Andy Hamil­ton v Adrian Lewis, Gary An­der­son v James Wade, Ray­mond van Barn­eveld v Phil Tay­lor.

FO­CUS: Van Barn­eveld

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