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Barney Army to Rally Behind Dutchman

Raymond van Barneveld celebrates.

Raymond van Barneveld takes on Terry Jenkins on the opening night of the Premier League this Thursday as he looks to get his career back on track.

The Dutchman endured a torturous 2010 season that saw him slip down the rankings to number five in the world. His form suffered as a result of a combination of problems in his personal life and although still respected in the game he is no longer an opponent that fellow professionals fear.

Van Barneveld has always received vociferous support from the ‘Barney Army’ and never more so than in the Premier League. He will be hoping that now that he has put his personal problems behind him they can spur him to a return to winning ways.

His opponent this Thursday evening, Terry ‘The Bull’ Jenkins, is also popular with darts fans and comes into this one amid a much stronger run of form.

Jenkins enjoyed a run to the semi-finals of the PDC World Championships last month and was a quarter-finalist at the recent Players Championship Finals event.

The bookmakers appear to have priced this one up on reputation and ability rather than form or recent results. Van Barneveld is made the strong 10/11 betting favourite with Jenkins at 7/4 and the draw 4/1.

The night’s remaining match sees Gary Anderson make his competitive Premier League debut. Anderson made his first Premier League appearance in 2009 for an exhibition match, which he won, against John Part following the withdrawal of Wayne Mardle.

But that will be nothing compared to the hustle and bustle of the league’s opening night at the O2 arena this Thursday. Normally jeered by the English crowds due to his Scottish roots those in attendance this week will need to decide whether they wish to side with a Scot or an Aussie.

Simon Whitlock came into this tournament last year as the pretender to Phil Taylor’s thrown but he has failed to deliver on that promise so far. Now it is Anderson whom many consider as the 15-time world champion’s closest challenger.

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