RAYMOND van Barneveld rolled back the years to storm to Players Championship 5 glory on Monday, a triumph which he sealed with a comprehensive 8-1 success over St Helens darter Stephen Bunting.

Barney had also defeated Michael Smith 6-3 in the last 16 despite Bully Boy hitting a nine darter.

Van Barneveld produced a series of clinical displays to return to the winner’s circle in Hildesheim, pinning eight of his ten attempts at doubles in the final to demolish Bunting and clinch his first PDC ranking title since February 2021.

The 56-year-old had progressed to the quarter-finals in two of the year’s opening four Players Championship events, and he continued his resurgence to secure the £15,000 top prize at Halle 39.

Van Barneveld converted 86, 71, 61 and 86 finishes to race into a 4-0 lead in Monday’s showpiece, before Bunting opened his account with a 15-dart hold in leg five.

However, the Dutch icon replied with back-to-back 14-darters to extend his cushion to 6-1, and after nailing double 16 in leg eight, he rounded off a stunning victory with another 14-dart leg via his trademark double 18.

"I'm over the moon," reflected Van Barneveld, after claiming his second Players Championship crown since returning to the sport in 2021.

"I have been working really hard over the last few months, so I'm really, really happy to see this pay off.

"I've dropped two grams in my set-up from 25g to 23g, and over the last week I've been playing awesome, just like the old days.

"I'm so focused, so confident with this set-up, and this gives me such a confidence boost.

"I thought it may be too soon to win a title like this, but I really believe I can achieve even more.

"I want to be back in the top 16 of the world. I want to play in all of the major tournaments this year, so this win is a big help for me."

The five-time World Champion began his campaign with convincing wins against Oskar Lukasiak, Jermaine Wattimena and Graham Hall, conceding just six legs in the process.

Van Barneveld then defied a nine-darter from 2023 World Champion Michael Smith to triumph in a high-quality last 16 encounter, landing six of his seven attempts at a double to complete a 6-3 success.

The Den Haag veteran continued his progress with a hard-fought win over James Hurrell in the last eight, before edging out his old adversary Gary Anderson in an epic semi-final showdown.

The pair traded blows in a contest littered with quality, although it was Van Barneveld who emerged victorious despite a 101 average from Anderson, who missed two match darts in a dramatic deciding leg.

Bunting was also unable to halt the Dutchman’s charge, but following an inauspicious start to his ProTour season, the Masters champion backed up his recent big stage exploits with some impressive performances.

The former Lakeside Champion swept aside Ritchie Edhouse and Connor Scutt in the early stages of the afternoon, before whitewashing Kevin Doets with a ton-plus average to book his place in the last 16.

The 38-year-old then recorded successive 6-2 wins against Ian White and Danny Noppert, while he was forced to fend off a spirited fightback from former European Champion Ross Smith in the semi-finals.

The 2024 PDC ProTour season continues with Players Championship 6 on Tuesday, with coverage set to be broadcast live through PDCTV and bookmakers’ websites worldwide.

2024 Players Championship 5.

Last 16.

James Hurrell 6-4 Joe Cullen.

Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 Michael Smith.

Gary Anderson 6-1 Daryl Gurney.

Stephen Bunting 6-2 Ian White.

Danny Noppert 6-3 Jeffrey de Zwaan.

Ross Smith 6-5 William O'Connor.

Cameron Menzies 6-5 Jonny Clayton.


Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 James Hurrell.

Gary Anderson 6-4 Peter Wright.

Stephen Bunting 6-2 Danny Noppert.

Ross Smith 6-3 Cameron Menzies.


Raymond van Barneveld 7-6 Gary Anderson.

Stephen Bunting 7-5 Ross Smith.


Raymond van Barneveld 8-1 Stephen Bunting.