Bray has ‘best seat in the house’ for MVG v Barney classic

GREAT VIEWING: Russ Bray (left) calls another leg for Michael van Gerwen at Alexandra Palace. Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
GREAT VIEWING: Russ Bray (left) calls another leg for Michael van Gerwen at Alexandra Palace. Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Leading darts referee Russ Bray conceded he has never called a better match than the one served up by Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld on Sunday.

The Dutch duo faced off at the famous Alexandra Palace with a place in the final of the William Hill World Darts Championship at stake.

And they went on to serve up a classic, with world number one and eventual champion Van Gerwen, who won the match 6-2, averaging 114.05 — a best ever for the tournament.

Meanwhile, Van Barneveld’s average of 109.34 was the highest ever for a losing player at the Worlds.

Leading pundits have since described it as the best ever match at the north London venue, and Soham-based Bray is in agreement.

“I had the best seat in the house and that was absolutely the best game I have ever been a part of,” he said.

“There was big out shots, 33 180s and Michael missed double 12 for a nine-darter. It was incredible darts.”

At present, the standard of darts is improving year upon year, with the last fortnight widely lauded as the best Worlds to date.

And Bray is expecting 2017 to follow a similar trend.

“Phil Taylor set a massive benchmark, but Van Gerwen has raised the bar again,” he added.

“There is darts being played virtually every week and all the big names are involved.

“That exposure makes everyone improve. It will only get stronger and stronger.”