Holding a five leg lead, at 12-7, Dutchman, Raymond Van Barneveld, looked in complete control of his quarter-final match against Wayne Mardle. Then, with defeat staring him in the face, Mardle upped the intensity. With the crowd on his side, he gradually and spiritedly, eroded Van Barneveld’s lead, to edge a thriller, 17-15.
This was a match that Van Barneveld, should not have lost. But he appeared to lose his composure. Somehow, the crowd, rooting feverishly for Mardle, seemed to get to him. He lost the critical containment, that was holding his fragile game together.
Belatedly, he did appear to regain his cool, and levelled the match late on. But Barney had allowed cracks to appear in his armour. Mardle, knew what he had to do, to disrupt Barneveld’s rhythm. And was able to do so.
Barney needed to find a place within himself, where the crowd could not get to him. A sanctuary of calm, and settlement. He needed to go there and stay there. But somehow, he got drawn out of his den of calm. As if, there was too much doubt in his mind, about his own ability to finish off this classic.
Doubts about his own game, that had been obvious, since his first round struggle against Mark Frost. Doubts that meant he couldn’t be sure, what, exactly, he was going to hit.
As one of the game’s eminent players, Barney has the experience to handle this type of situation. But, somehow, he hadn’t done enough of the right mental work, to help him through this tight, noisy encounter.
As he reflects on this defeat, Barney will rue the fact that he could have won. Should have won. But, somehow, had temporarily forgotten, how to win.