UK Open Darts 2021: Raymond van Barneveld to make big-stage return against Scotland’s Alan Soutar

Raymond van Barneveld will make his big-stage return against Scottish fireman Alan Soutar at the UK Open on Friday afternoon, with the draw for the first three rounds of the tournament now confirmed.

The five-time world champion lifted back-to-back UK Open titles in 2006 and 2007, and having regained his PDC Tour Card at Qualifying School after cutting short his retirement, Van Barneveld claimed a first ranking title for over seven years at the Super Series.

The Dutch legend will enter ‘The FA Cup of Darts’ at the second round stage on Friday’s opening day, and he’s been pitted against UK Open debutant Soutar in a mouth-watering tie, with the winner set to play Mickey Mansell in round three.

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UK Open Roll of Honour

Soutar secured his Tour card at UK Qualifying School in Milton Keynes last month, and the 43-year-old has made a stunning start to life on the professional circuit, claiming the scalps of Adrian Lewis, Dave Chisnall, Peter Wright and Nathan Aspinall during the Super Series.

The Arbroath ace advanced to the quarter-finals of Players Championship 3 on Saturday, where ironically he was beaten 6-2 by Van Barneveld, who went on to clinch his first individual PDC title since his Premier League triumph in May 2014.

Elsewhere, four-time women’s world champion Lisa Ashton will lock horns with Aaron Beeney in round two, as she targets a first televised win over a male opponent.

‘The Lancashire Rose’ is also bidding to become the first woman to register victory at the UK Open since Deta Hedman in 2005, although Beeney will have been buoyed by his win over world champion Gerwyn Price at the Super Series.

Former World Youth finalists Martin Schindler and Berry van Peer will collide in a tasty opening round tie, while Australia’s Gordon Mathers meets former World Championship runner-up Kirk Shepherd for a place in round two.

American Danny Baggish makes his UK Open debut against Brett Claydon, 2020 Lakeside runner-up Jim Williams locks horns with Austria’s Zoran Lerchbacher, while John Brown has avoided his father Steve in the draw, as the 20-year-old plays Gavin Carlin in round one.

Steve begins his 10th UK Open campaign against former Grand Slam champion Scott Waites in the second round, 2013 UK Open finalist Andy Hamilton faces either Ritchie Edhouse or Damian Mol, while World Youth champion Bradley Brooks takes on Martin Atkins.

Another intriguing second-round tussle sees emerging Irish player Keane Barry face either Geert Nentjes or former Lakeside champion Richie Burnett, while Canada’s World Cup quarter-finalist Jeff Smith meets the winner of Van Peer or Schindler at the same stage.

Wayne Jones is one of three UK Open ever-presents in this year’s field, and ‘The Wanderer’ gets his campaign underway against talented Dutchman Martijn Kleermaker in round two.

Steve Beaton enters the fray in round three against former Lakeside finalist Mark McGeeney, while two-time winner James Wade begins his campaign alongside the world’s top 32 in Friday evening’s fourth round.

The PDC have revealed that Wesley Harms, Robert Marijanovic, Daniel Larsson, Michael Unterbuncher, Darren Penhall and Boris Kcrmar are the six Tour Card holders not competing in the first ranking major of the 2021 season.

As a result, six players have received a bye through to the second round, including 2015 semi-finalist Andrew Gilding and former Lakeside champion Scott Mitchell.

Newly crowned world champion Price and former UK Open winners Michael van Gerwen and Peter Wright will all be in action from March 5-7 at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, and from the third round onwards, an open draw will be made live on stage.

2021 UK Open Draw – Selected Ties
First Round

Geert Nentjes v Richie Burnett
Brett Claydon v Danny Baggish
Keelan Kay v Kevin McDine
Boris Koltsov v Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
Berry van Peer v Martin Schindler
Geert De Vos v Niels Zonneveld
Adam Gawlas v Gino Vos
Zoran Lerchbacher v Jim Williams
Gordon Mathers v Kirk Shepherd
John Brown vs Gavin Carlin

Second Round
Scott Waites v Steve Brown
Keane Barry v Nentjes/Burnett
Andy Hamilton v Edhouse/Mol
Alan Soutar v Raymond van Barneveld
Aaron Beeney v Lisa Ashton
Martin Atkins v Bradley Brooks
Martijn Kleermaker v Wayne Jones
Lerchbacher/J Williams v Mathers/Shepherd
Jeff Smith v Van Peer/Schindler
Jon Worsley v Andrew Gilding
Luc Peters/Lewy Williams v Scott Mitchell

Third Round
Beeney/Ashton v Darius Labanauskas
Max Hopp v William O’Connor
James Wilson v Keegan Brown
Mark McGeeney v Steve Beaton
Ted Evetts v Darren Webster
J Smith/Van Peer/Schindler v Kleermaker/W Jones
Justin Pipe v Luke Humphries
John Henderson v Matt Edgar
Damon Heta v Siepmann/D Evans
Andy Boulton v Jelle Klaasen
Soutar/Van Barneveld v Mickey Mansell

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