PHIL TAYLOR will play youngster Chris Dobey as he begins his final challenge at the William Hill World Darts Championship next month, while reigning champion Michael van Gerwen was handed an all-Dutch first round tie with Christian Kist.
Legendary Stoke star Taylor, 57, will retire following the World Championship as he bids to bow out of the sport in a blaze of glory at Alexandra Palace on New Year’s Day.
The 16-time World Champion has been drawn against one of the sport’s top young prospects for the first round as he takes on Bedlington’s Dobey, the world number 38.
“It will be a big challenge for me,” said Taylor. “Chris has made massive strides in the last couple of years and is wanting to make his mark, but I can go up there relaxed because I’ve nothing to lose.
“It’s my final World Championship and I want to enjoy it.”
Dobey, 27, was a quarter-finalist in the 2016 Grand Slam of Darts and reached the second round on his World Championship debut last year, but is rated at 500/1 with sponsors William Hill to go all the way at Alexandra Palace.
Reigning champion Van Gerwen, the 4/5 pre-tournament favourite with William Hill, will begin his challenge to claim a third Alexandra Palace triumph against former Lakeside Champion Kist.
Number two seed Peter Wright has drawn debutant Diogo Portela, who will become the first Brazilian to compete in the World Championship next month after making his breakthrough in 2017.
Two-time World Champion Gary Anderson, whose bid to claim a third successive title was ended by Van Gerwen in last year’s final, will take on the winner of the preliminary round meeting between Canada’s Jeff Smith and young Englishman Luke Humphries, the 2017 PDC Unicorn Development Tour Order of Merit winner.
Number four seed Daryl Gurney, October’s World Grand Prix champion, drew Belgian ace Ronny Huybrechts, whose younger brother Kim will meet James Richardson in the first round.
Champions League of Darts winner Mensur Suljovic, seeded fifth, plays 2004 World Championship finalist Kevin Painter in a tasty fixture, while five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld meets emerging star Richard North and Dave Chisnall drew Dutchman Vincent van der Voort.
Adrian Lewis, the 2011 and 2012 World Champion, will play either Russia’s Aleksandr Oreshkin or Germany’s Kevin Munch, with 2010 finalist Simon Whitlock set to face German newcomer Martin Schindler.
Three-time semi-finalist James Wade takes on former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown, Jelle Klaasen faces an all-Dutch tie with Jan Dekker, Michael Smith drew Irish debutant Steve Lennon and Benito van de Pas plays Steve West.
Alan Norris, the 15th seed, will meet Finland’s Kim Viljanen, whose fellow countryman Marko Kantele drew Scottish ace John Henderson, a World Grand Prix semi-finalist last month.
Welshman Gerwyn Price, seeded 16th, drew debutant Ted Evetts after the youngster won the PDPA Qualifier in Milton Keynes on Monday to secure his first World Championship appearance.
Number 17 seed Ian White will play either American policeman Willard Bruguier or New Zealand’s Cody Harris, while Joe Cullen drew quick-fire Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena.
European Championship finalist Rob Cross, the 9/1 co-third favourite with William Hill on his World Championship debut following a remarkable first year as a professional, has drawn either Japan’s Seigo Asada or Australia’s Gordon Mathers.
Former Lakeside Champion Stephen Bunting plays new World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh, Mervyn King drew Austrian qualifier Zoran Lerchbacher and Darren Webster faces South Africa’s Devon Petersen.
Auckland Darts Masters winner Kyle Anderson has drawn debutant Peter Jacques, the postal worker from Huddersfield who has broken through in 2017, while former Lakeside Champion Steve Beaton meets Irish Matchplay winner William O’Connor.
Spanish duo Cristo Reyes and Antonio Alcinas drew each other for their first round contest, while Justin Pipe takes on either Chinese youngster Xiao Chen Zong or New Zealand’s Bernie Smith.
Former UK Open and World Grand Prix winner Robert Thornton plays either Croatia’s Alan Ljubic or Northern Ireland’s Brendan Dolan, with former Lakeside Champion Mark Webster meeting Hong Kong’s Kai Fan Leung or Singapore’s legendary Paul Lim.
Welshman Jonny Clayton, the runner-up to Van Gerwen in the Players Championship Finals, meets either Belgium’s Kenny Neyens or fellow countryman Jamie Lewis, and 32nd seed James Wilson plays Polish debutant Krzystof Ratajski.
The William Hill World Darts Championship will be held from December 14 to January 1 at London’s Alexandra Palace, and will be broadcast live on the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel.
For tickets, visit www.pdc.tv/tickets.
William Hill World Darts Championship
First Round Draw & Tournament Bracket
(1) Michael van Gerwen v Christian Kist
(32) James Wilson v Krzystof Ratajski
(16) Gerwyn Price v Ted Evetts
(17) Ian White v Willard Bruguier/Cody Harris
(8) Dave Chisnall v Vincent van der Voort
(25) Steve Beaton v William O’Connor
(9) Raymond van Barneveld v Richard North
(24) Kyle Anderson v Peter Jacques
(5) Mensur Suljovic v Kevin Painter
(28) Robert Thornton v Alan Ljubic/Brendan Dolan
(12) Jelle Klaasen v Jan Dekker
(21) Stephen Bunting v Dimitri Van den Bergh
(4) Daryl Gurney v Ronny Huybrechts
(29) John Henderson v Marko Kantele
(13) Michael Smith v Steve Lennon
(20) Rob Cross v Seigo Asada/Gordon Mathers
(2) Peter Wright v Diogo Portela
(31) Jonny Clayton v Kenny Neyens/Jamie Lewis
(15) Alan Norris v Kim Viljanen
(18) Kim Huybrechts v James Richardson
(7) Adrian Lewis v Aleksandr Oreshkin/Kevin Munch
(26) Cristo Reyes v Antonio Alcinas
(10) Simon Whitlock v Martin Schindler
(23) Darren Webster v Devon Petersen
(6) Phil Taylor v Chris Dobey
(27) Justin Pipe v Xiao Chen Zong/Bernie Smith
(11) James Wade v Keegan Brown
(22) Mervyn King v Zoran Lerchbacher
(3) Gary Anderson v Jeff Smith/Luke Humphries
(30) Mark Webster v Kai Fan Leung/Paul Lim
(14) Benito van de Pas v Steve West
(19) Joe Cullen v Jermaine Wattimena
William Hill World Darts Championship (Sponsors odds)
4/5 Michael van Gerwen
6/1 Gary Anderson
9/1 Peter Wright, Phil Taylor, Rob Cross
25/1 Daryl Gurney
33/1 Mensur Suljovic
40/1 Adrian Lewis
50/1 Raymond van Barneveld
66/1 Dave Chisnall
100/1 James Wade, Kyle Anderson, Michael Smith
125/1 Jelle Klaasen, Kim Huybrechts, Simon Whitlock
150/1 Alan Norris, Gerwyn Price, Ian White
200/1 Benito van de Pas, Darren Webster, Dimitri van den Bergh, Jeff Smith, Joe Cullen, Robert Thornton, Stephen Bunting
250/1 Chris Dobey, Cristo Reyes, James Wilson, Johnny Clayton, Krzysztof Ratajski, Mark Webster, Mervyn King
300/1 Steve West, Ted Evetts, Vincent van der Voort
500/1 Antonio Alcinas, Brendan Dolan, Chris Dobey, Christian Kist, Cody Harris, Devon Peterson, Diogo Portela, Jamie Lewis, Jan Dekker, Jermaine Wattimena, John Henderson, Keegan Brown, Kevin Painter, Ronny Huybrechts, Steve Beaton, Steve Lennon
750/1 Aleksander Oreshkin, Seigo Asada, William O’Connor
1000/1 Justin Pipe, Paul Lim, Richard North, Willard Bruguier, Zoran Lerchbacher
2000/1 Kenny Neyens, Kevin Munch, Kim Viljanen, Luke Humphries
2500/1 Alan Ljubic, Bernie Smith, Gordan Mathers, Xiao Chen Zong
EW 1/2 Odds Place 1,2
Nationality of Winner: 4/6 Dutch, 11/4 Scottish, 10/3 English, 8/1 Rest of the World
Total Nine Dart Finishes 6/5 None, 11/8 Exactly One, 3/1 Two Or More
Total 170 Checkouts: 9/1 None, 7/4 1-2, 7/4 3-4, 3/1 5-6, 8/1 7 Or More
Odds courtesy William Hill and correct at time of writing. Subject to fluctuation.
TED EVETTS, Brendan Dolan & Jamie Lewis won William Hill World Darts Championship places at the PDPA Qualifier to complete the field for the sport’s biggest tournament.
A total of 144 players competed in Monday’s PDPA Qualifier at Arena MK in Milton Keynes as they battled for three places in the prestigious event, which will be held from December 14-January 1 at London’s Alexandra Palace.
Youngster Evetts, 20, secured his World Championship debut and a spot in the first round of the £1.8 million event as the PDPA Qualifier winner, defeating Darren Brown, Robbie Green, Ian Moss, Luke Woodhouse, Jeffrey de Graaf, Chris Quantock and Dolan on the day.
A teenager when he won his PDC Tour Card in 2016, Evetts has previously competed in the UK Open and Grand Slam of Darts and won a PDC Unicorn Development Tour title earlier this month.
However, he will now get the chance to step onto the sport’s biggest stage for the first time at Alexandra Palace next month.
Northern Irish ace Dolan put aside his disappointment at dropping out of the world’s top 32 this year as he secured his tenth successive World Championship appearance, albeit this time starting in the preliminary round.
The former World Grand Prix finalist defeated Berry van Peer, Coni Singh Nagi, Martin Lukeman, Alan Tabern, Ricky Evans and Jamie Lewis as he ensured his Alexandra Palace return.
Welshman Lewis will play in his sixth successive World Championship after he claimed the final preliminary round place by overcoming Chris Quantock in the third-place play-off.
Lewis defeated Stuart Kellett, Kevin Simm, Paul Nicholson, Mick McGowan and David Pallett as progressed through the field before ending the hopes of young left-hander Quantock,
York ace Quantock enjoyed wins over Jamie Caven, Gary Stone, Scott Dale, Barrie Bates and Ron Meulenkamp in a strong run on the day, only for losses to Evetts and Lewis deny him a World Championship debut.
There was disappointment for three-time World Champion John Part as he lost out 5-3 to Mick McGowan in his bid to return to Alexandra Palace, with former World Youth Champion Max Hopp and former TV finalists Colin Osborne, Wes Newton and Andy Hamilton also losing out in round one.
Josh Payne, the PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship runner-up on Sunday, won through to the last 16 before losing out to Ricky Evans, with former World Championship finalist Mark Dudbridge and 2006 UK Open runner-up Barrie Bates also reaching round four.
Dutch duo Ron Meulenkamp and Jeffrey de Graaf joined Evans and Pallett in losing out at the quarter-final stage in Milton Keynes, where the action was streamed live through PDCTV-HD and the Sky Sports Facebook page.
PDPA Qualifier Results
Ryan Palmer 5-2 Max Baulcomb
Jamie Bain 5-3 Robert Owen
Wes Newton 5-3 Simon Stevenson
Kurt Parry 5-2 Barry Lynn
Paul Nicholson 5-3 Warrick Scheffer
Ryan Harrington 5-4 Jason Wilson
Jimmy Hendriks 5-1 Kevin McDine
Mark Barilli 5-4 Callum Loose
Scott Dale 5-0 Roxy-James Rodriguez
Madars Razma 5-3 Colin Littlecott
Ritchie Edhouse 5-3 Prakash Jiwa
Scott Rollings 5-4 Mark Hylton
Vincent Kamphuis 5-0 Laurie Selby
Arron Monk 5-2 John Morris
Andy Hamilton 5-1 Ricky Williams
Paul Harvey 5-0 Steve Randall
Brendan Dolan 5-2 Berry van Peer
Coni Singh Nagi 5-4 Yordi Meeuwisse
Martin Lukeman 5-1 Colin Osborne
Ryan Palmer 5-4 Ian Lever
Jeffrey de Zwaan 5-0 Sam Head
Wayne Jones 5-3 Jay Foreman
Alan Tabern 5-3 Kevin Thomas
Jamie Bain 5-4 Craig Gilchrist
Ricky Evans 5-0 Mick Todd
Steve Brown 5-3 Martin Thomas
Terry Temple 5-4 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
Aden Kirk 5-4 Wes Newton
Josh Payne 5-2 Shaun Griffiths
John Bowles 5-1 Nathan Derry
Harry Ward 5-1 Dave Ladley
Kurt Parry 5-3 Eddie Dootson
Jamie Lewis 5-3 Stuart Kellett
Kevin Simm 5-1 Andreas Hajimina
Scott Taylor 5-2 Callan Rydz
Paul Nicholson 5-3 Bradley Brooks
Mick McGowan 5-3 John Part
Mark Walsh 5-0 Michael Power
Nigel Birch 5-0 Roger Scrivens
Ryan Harrington 5-3 Andy Jenkins
Stephen Burton 5-1 Max Hopp
Mark Dudbridge 5-2 Nick Fulwell
Ricky Nathan 5-4 Jonathan Worsley
Jamie Robinson 5-4 Jimmy Hendriks
David Pallett 5-4 Kevin Dowling
Lee Bryant 5-1 John Gibson
Alan Tabern Jnr 5-2 Ross Smith
Mark Barilli 5-2 Ross Twell
Chris Quantock 5-3 Jamie Caven
Gary Stone 5-0 Nolan Arendse
Nicholas Bloor 5-4 Nick Jennings
Scott Dale 5-1 Richie Burnett
Andy Boulton 5-3 Ryan Searle
Barrie Bates 5-2 Dennis Smith
Kevin Garcia 5-1 Jim Moston
Madars Razma 5-3 Peter Hudson
Andrew Gilding 5-3 Adam Smith-Neale
Nathan Aspinall 5-1 Dick van Dijk
Richard Baillie 5-1 Jason Lovett
Ritchie Edhouse 5-2 Steve McNally
Ron Meulenkamp 5-1 Matt Clark
James Hubbard 5-4 Mark Frost
Rob Hewson 5-3 David Marson
Matthew Edgar 5-3 Scott Rollings
Joe Murnan 5-3 Paul Milford
Darron Brown 5-4 Michael Barnard
Jim Walker 5-1 Steven Harbert
Vincent Kamphuis 5-2 Curtis Hammond
Jeffrey de Graaf 5-3 Darren Johnson
Steve Hine 5-3 Kelvin Hart
Adrian Gray 5-4 Ian Withers
Arron Monk 5-0 Andrew Poynton
Robbie Green 5-3 Adam Hunt
Ted Evetts 5-1 Darren Brown
Ian Moss 5-1 Charlie Jackson
Ryan Murray 5-3 Andy Hamilton
Luke Woodhouse 5-4 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Dawson Murschell 5-4 Ryan Meikle
Mickey Mansell 5-3 John Brown
Kirk Shepherd 5-1 Paul Harvey
Brendan Dolan 5-2 Coni Singh Nagi
Martin Lukeman 5-4 Ryan Palmer
Wayne Jones 5-3 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Alan Tabern 5-3 Jamie Bain
Ricky Evans 5-3 Steve Brown
Terry Temple 5-4 Aden Kirk
Josh Payne 5-1 John Bowles
Kurt Parry 5-4 Harry Ward
Jamie Lewis 5-0 Kevin Simm
Paul Nicholson 5-4 Scott Taylor
Mick McGowan 5-3 Mark Walsh
Nigel Birch 5-2 Ryan Harrington
Mark Dudbridge 5-3 Stephen Burton
Ricky Nathan 5-1 Jamie Robinson
David Pallett 5-0 Lee Bryant
Mark Barilli 5-2 Alan Tabern Jnr
Chris Quantock 5-3 Gary Stone
Scott Dale 5-0 Nicholas Bloor
Barrie Bates 5-2 Andy Boulton
Kevin Garcia 5-1 Madars Razma
Nathan Aspinall 5-0 Andrew Gilding
Richard Baillie 5-0 Ritchie Edhouse
Ron Meulenkamp 5-1 James Hubbard
Matthew Edgar 5-4 Rob Hewson
Joe Murnan 5-1 Darron Brown
Jim Walker 5-2 Vincent Kamphuis
Jeffrey de Graaf 5-4 Steve Hine
Adrian Gray 5-3 Arron Monk
Ted Evetts 5-3 Robbie Green
Ian Moss 5-4 Ryan Murray
Luke Woodhouse 5-4 Dawson Murschell
Kirk Shepherd 5-3 Mickey Mansell
Brendan Dolan 5-1 Martin Lukeman
Alan Tabern 5-4 Wayne Jones
Ricky Evans 5-4 Terry Temple
Josh Payne 5-3 Kurt Parry
Jamie Lewis 5-3 Paul Nicholson
Mick McGowan 5-1 Nigel Birch
Mark Dudbridge 5-4 Ricky Nathan
David Pallett 5-4 Mark Barilli
Chris Quantock 5-4 Scott Dale
Barrie Bates 5-2 Kevin Garcia
Nathan Aspinall 5-2 Richard Baillie
Ron Meulenkamp 5-4 Matthew Edgar
Jim Walker 5-3 Joe Murnan
Jeffrey de Graaf 5-3 Adrian Gray
Ted Evetts 5-3 Ian Moss
Luke Woodhouse 5-2 Kirk Shepherd
Brendan Dolan 5-1 Alan Tabern
Ricky Evans 5-3 Josh Payne
Jamie Lewis 5-4 Mick McGowan
David Pallett 5-3 Mark Dudbridge
Chris Quantock 5-3 Barrie Bates
Ron Meulenkamp 5-4 Nathan Aspinall
Jeffrey de Graaf 5-3 Jim Walker
Ted Evetts 5-3 Luke Woodhouse
Brendan Dolan 5-1 Ricky Evans
Jamie Lewis 5-2 David Pallett
Chris Quantock 5-4 Ron Meulenkamp
Ted Evetts 5-3 Jeffrey de Graaf
Brendan Dolan 5-4 Jamie Lewis
Ted Evetts 5-3 Chris Quantock
Ted Evetts 5-1 Brendan Dolan
Jamie Lewis 5-3 Chris Quantock
Source : Dave Allen – Professional Darts Corporation
Photo : Lawrence Lustig – Professional Darts Corporation