New Zealand's Barney Army can mobilise one last time - Dutch darts superstar Raymond van Barneveld has been confirmed for the NZ Darts Masters in August.

It will be the five-time world champion's final visit before he retires after the World Championship at London's Alexandra Palace over Christmas.

Van Barneveld has been a mainstay of the showpiece event in New Zealand's darts calendar, enjoying loud support from his fans, known as the Barney Army.

In four appearances he's reached the final twice – most memorably at the inaugural event in 2016. Then, he and Adrian "Jackpot" Lewis played to a sudden-death 21st leg, with both missing multiple match darts before Lewis staggered over the line.


Van Barneveld almost didn't make it to this year's event – being held in Hamilton after four years in Auckland.

The 52-year-old emotionally announced his immediate retirement in March, moments after the second of two 7-1 defeats on successive nights that saw him eliminated from the Premier League as the bottom-ranked player.

Worse still was that both matches were before huge partisan crowds in Rotterdam, in his native Holland.

"I don't want the pain anymore," he told UK Sky TV the night he made the call. "It's good to see that everyone loves you, but they don't have one single clue what I'm going through."

However, 24 hours later, he changed his mind and issued a statement about his decision to play on.

"For months my life has been a rollercoaster of emotions. I felt ashamed on stage in front of my family, my friends and the Barney Army. I felt I let everyone down and that pain was very hard to deal with.

James "The Machine" Wade will return to New Zealand after a period of strong form.

"In the heat of the moment I only wanted to never feel that again, but I realise that I should not speak out like that when I feel such raw emotion. I want to end my career at Alexandra Palace during one final World Championship."

As well as slipping in the rankings, van Barneveld has had problems off the oche , with the break-up of his marriage.


"I hope people understand the difficult times my family and I have been going through and I need to get my head together," the statement said.

"I will take a couple of days off for this and then try to compete as well as I can in the floor tournaments out of the spotlight in the coming weeks."

Van Barneveld was one of two stars confirmed in the second player announcement for the NZ Darts Masters, at the Claudelands Arena on August 23 and 24. The other is the resurgent James Wade.

The 36-year-old, known as "The Machine", reached the semifinals of the Premier League this year to cap a strong return from a disappointing period which saw him dip out of the world top 10 in 2017.

He and van Barneveld join the previously-announced Michael van Gerwen, Rob Cross, Gary Anderson, Daryl Gurney, Peter Wright and Simon Whitlock as the eight Professional Darts Corporation representatives.

They will face eight Oceanic representatives in the first round, including Kyle Anderson and Corey Cadby. The Aussie duo contested the 2017 NZ Darts Masters final on a weekend when the big names found them too much to handle, Anderson lifting the trophy.

Cody Harris was a standout performer as New Zealand reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup of Darts.
Cody Harris was a standout performer as New Zealand reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup of Darts.

And fresh from steering New Zealand to the quarterfinals of the World Cup of Darts in Germany earlier this month, Cody Harris and Haupai Puha will also be among the Oceania octet. They will be joined by fellow Kiwi Craig Caldwell, with more qualifiers to be confirmed.