DARTS: Smith relishing Barney test
DENNIS Smith is refusing to be intimidated by the prospect of facing five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld as he returns to the PDC circuit after the summer break this evening.
The 44-year-old beat close friend and fellow Swindon player Johnny Haines to qualify for the German Darts Championship and his reward is a first round clash with the superstar Dutchman this evening.
Smith has lost all four of his previous meetings with van Barneveld, but with each clash being a close affair the Swindon player believes he has a chance of turning the tables in Hildesheim.
“I’m looking forward to it because I’ve played Raymond three or four times and the only thing that’s really let me down is my doubles,” he said.
“I won’t worry about playing him because I’ve had three weeks to think about it and I know what I have to do, and that’s the nice thing leading up to it because you can get used to it.
“I’ve lost every game against him but it’s all been down to the crucial doubles, and it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve lost in the past it’s all about what happens on the day.
“It’s a fresh board for me, and I know he’s going to be more worried about me than I am about him.”
Smith hasn’t played on the tour since the middle of July and despite having spent much of August playing exhibitions and smaller tournaments he admitted he’s itching to get back on the circuit as attention turns to qualifying for December’s World Championship.
“It’s been a nice break which has been good for, but playing darts is what I love to do and I’m just itching to get back into it,” he said.
“I’ve been practising hard through August and playing different tournaments although it was great to have a break from the PDC for a bit.
“You are already on money as soon as you get out there because you’ve already qualified, but there’s good money offer which can really help.
“I’ve qualified for a few of these now after only getting to one last year, but we’re in the final part of the year now and there isn’t many tournaments left to qualify for the World Championship.
“I’m sitting in a good position at the moment but I’m not taking that for granted and will give my best for the rest of the year.”
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