Picture credit: John Walton/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The draw for the William Hill PDC World Darts Championship has been made, and darting legend Phil Taylor – who prepares to walk out to his final tournament before retirement – has been handed a potential first round upset.

In his quest to bow out from the sport in triumph, Taylor has been drawn against world number 38 and one of the sports top young prospects, Chris Dobey of Bedlington.

The 16- time world champion shared his opinion on the match up between him and Dobey. “It will be a big challenge for me. Chris has made massive strides in the last couple of years and is wanting to make his mark, but I can go up there and relax as I have nothing to lose. It’s my last World Championship and I want to enjoy it.”

Taylor has not won this tournament since 2013, and has only made it past the quarter final stages once since his last victory (in 2014, where he lost in the final 7 – 6 to Gary Anderson), so in his final campaign for darting glory, he will be hoping to his barren world championship run.

The defending two time world champion, and number one seed Michael van Gerwen, was handed an all Dutch first round affair against former Lakeside world champion Christian Kist, as he aims to be only the 7th player in history to win more than 2 world titles.

Number two seed, and crowd favourite Peter Wright is up against debutant Diogo Portela, who is making history by being the first Brazilian to compete in the world championships.

Two-time world champion Gary Anderson has been drawn against the winner of the preliminary match between Canada’s Jeff Smith and Englishmen Luke Humphries.

Number four seed Daryl Gurney is drawn against Ronny Huybrechts, who’s younger brother Kim Huybretchs takes on Jamie Richardson, in what promises to be a tasty encounter.

Other notable match ups in the first round include the tantalising prospect of number five seed and Champions League of darts winner Mensur Suljovic against 2004 world finalist and former Players Champion Kevin Painter.

Additionally, there is a battle between two high scorers as Dave Chisnall takes on Vincent van der Vort. However, potentially, the match up of the first round could be between three-time semi-finalist James ‘The Machine’ Wade and youngster Keegan Brown, the former World Youth Champion destined for big things.

The William Hill PDC World Darts Championship commences on December 14 and concludes on January 1 2018.

 

2017/18 William Hill World Darts Championship Draw Bracket:

(1) Michael van Gerwen vs Christian Kist

(32) James Wilson vs Krzysztof Ratajski

(16) Gerwyn Prive vs Ted Evetts

(17) Ian White vs Willard Bruguier/Cody Harris

(8) Dave Chisnall vs Vincent van der Voort

(25) Steven Beaton vs Willam O’Connor

(9) Raymond van Barneveld vs Richard North

(24) Kyle Anderson vs Peter Jacques

(5) Mensur Suljovic vs Kevin Painter

(28) Robert Thornton vs Alan Ljubic/Brendan Dolan

(12) Jelle Klassen vs Jan Dekker

(21) Stephen Bunting vs Dimitri Van den Bergh

(4) Daryl Gurney vs Ronny Huybrechts

(29) John Henderson vs Marko Kantele

(13) Michael Smith vs Steven Lennon

(20) Rob Cross vs Seigo Asada/Gordon Mathers

(2) Peter Wrights vs Diogo Portela

(31) Jonny Clayton vs Kenny Neyens/Jamie Lewis

(15) Alan Norris vs Kim Viljanen

(18) Kim Huybrethts vs James Richardson

(7) Adrian Lewis vs Aleksandr Oreshkin/Kevin Munch

(26) Cristo Reyes vs Tony Alcinas

(10) Simon Whitlock vs Martin Schindler

(23) Darren Webster vs Devon Peterson

(6) Phil Taylor vs Chris Dobey

(27) Justin Pipe vs Xiao Chen Zong/Bernie Smith

(11) James Wade vs Keegan Brown

(22) Mervyn King vs Zoran Lerchbacher

(3) Gary Anderson vs Jeff Smith/Luke Humphries

(30) Mark Webster vs Kai Fen Leung/Paul Lim

(14) Benito van de Pas vs Steve West

(19) Joe Cullen vs Jermaine Wattimena