POORLY Raymond van Barneveld peppered the doubles bed after rising from his sick bed – and his hopes have not gone down the pan.
Barney, 55, had a horrible bout of food poisoning on Monday night after visiting a Central London Chinese restaurant and there were doubts about his condition ahead of his 30th world darts championship.
But the No 32 seed – watched on by fiancée Julia Evans – managed to avoid being booted out of the second round at Ally Pally with a 3-1 victory over qualified barber Ryan Meikle.
It is the first time in FIVE YEARS that he has made it to the last 32 of a tournament he last won in 2007.
The former Dutch postie has now set up a blockbuster third-round tie with world No.1 Gerwyn Price after Christmas and the Barney Army will be in strong voice for that one.
It will bring back memories of their tussles at last month’s Grand Slam of Darts, which saw Van Barneveld twice emerge as the winner.
Van Barneveld said: “Ryan never stopped playing. In the first set, I thought when does this guy stop hitting his double 20s? An awesome player.
“Wow, what a great player, All credit to him. I am so happy. I had to work hard.
“I went to a Chinese restaurant in Piccadilly Circus and the whole day I was in bed with food poisoning, me and my manager.
“I didn’t have a good practice. I was very tired.
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“I had worked so hard the whole year and then suddenly we get this.
“You never know what you will get in the prawn crackers.
“My whole stomach had gone. This had been a nightmare. If I managed to play, I am already happy. To play like this, wow, this was a fight against myself, I had to show willpower.
“Julia was emotional, she knew what I had to go through. We were all today in bed.
“I am playing well, I believe in myself. I have a week to prepare, with pills and to relax. I love this game. I didn’t feel happy when I retired.”
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