Fallon Sherrock will mark her Alexandra Palace return with a blockbuster opening-round showdown against Steve Beaton at this year’s World Darts Championship, after the draw for next month’s event was made on Monday.
Sherrock generated global headlines on her PDC World Championship debut in 2019, defeating Ted Evetts and Mensur Suljovic to become the first woman to beat a male opponent in the tournament’s history.
‘The Queen of the Palace’ will return to the scene of her ground-breaking exploits with a glamour tie against former Lakeside champion Beaton, who is set to feature in a record-breaking 31st World Darts Championship.
Sherrock became the first female player to reach a major PDC televised quarter-final at the recent Grand Slam of Darts, and she will play 32nd seed Kim Huybrechts in the second round, if she can overcome the legendary ‘Bronzed Adonis’.
Gerwyn Price will begin his World Championship title defence against either Ritchie Edhouse or Lihao Wen, as the Welshman looks to join an exclusive list of players to defend the PDC world title.
The world No 1 claimed his maiden World Championship triumph at Alexandra Palace on January 3, defeating his old adversary Gary Anderson to lift the coveted Sid Waddell Trophy and scoop the £500,000 top prize.
The draw – conducted by five-time semi-finalist Wayne Mardle and former world No 1 Colin Lloyd, sees the top 32 players from the PDC Order of Merit seeded through to round two, with the first round pitting the ProTour Order of Merit Qualifiers up against the Qualifiers & International Representatives.
Dutch legend Raymond van Barneveld will be seeking redemption on his Alexandra Palace return, having succumbed to Darin Young in his 2019 opener, which saw him retire from the sport before making his comeback at Qualifying School in February.
The five-time world champion will take on the mercurial Lourence Ilagan for a place in the second round, where Van Barneveld could take on Rob Cross in a battle of the former world champions, as ‘Voltage’ bids to replicate his 2018 success.
Two-time world champions Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis could also meet in a mouth-watering second round tie, though Lewis must first defeat Canada’s Matt Campbell – the winner of the European Challenge Tour in 2021.
World No 2 and newly crowned Players Championship Finals winner Peter Wright begins his quest for a second World Championship crown against either Ryan Meikle or 16-year-old German Fabian Schmutzler, who will become the second-youngest player to feature in the event.
Three-time world champion Michael van Gerwen is still eyeing a first televised triumph of the season, and he is guaranteed to face a debutant in his opener, as either Pro Tour qualifier Chas Barstow or the enigmatic Canadian John Norman Jr await in the last 64.
Jonny Clayton’s pursuit of a fifth major title in 12 months could begin with a clash against exciting Irish teenager Keane Barry, who plays Hong Kong’s Royden Lam in the opening round.
Fourth seed James Wade will play Maik Kuivenhoven or Ky Smith – who is featuring at Ally Pally alongside his father Raymond, while World Matchplay finalist Dimitri Van den Bergh will lock horns with the winner of the all-German affair between Florian Hempel and Martin Schindler.
Four-time women’s world champion Lisa Ashton will face Dutch qualifier Ron Meulenkamp for the right to meet 2019 runner-up Michael Smith, while 67-year-old Paul Lim could be set for a showdown against tenth seed Nathan Aspinall, if ‘The Singapore Slinger’ prevails against Joe Murnan.
Image Credit: Sky Sports Darts
2021/22 William Hill World Darts Championship
Draw Bracket – Second Round Onwards
(1) Gerwyn Price v Ritchie Edhouse/Lihao Wen
(32) Kim Huybrechts v Steve Beaton/Fallon Sherrock
(16) Stephen Bunting v Ross Smith/Jeff Smith
(17) Dirk van Duijvenbode v Jermaine Wattimena/Boris Koltsov
(8) Jonny Clayton v Keane Barry/Royden Lam
(25) Gabriel Clemens v Lewy Williams/Toyokazu Shibata
(9) Michael Smith v Ron Meulenkamp/Lisa Ashton
(24) Glen Durrant v William O’Connor/Danny Lauby
(4) James Wade v Maik Kuivenhoven/Ky Smith
(29) Vincent van der Voort v Adam Hunt/Boris Krcmar
(13) Joe Cullen v Ted Evetts/Jim Williams
(20) Simon Whitlock v Martijn Kleermaker/John Michael
(5) Dimitri Van den Bergh v Florian Hempel/Martin Schindler
(28) Devon Petersen v Jamie Hughes/Raymond Smith
(12) Krzysztof Ratajski v Steve Lennon/Madars Razma
(21) Mervyn King v Ryan Joyce/Roman Benecky
(2) Peter Wright v Ryan Meikle/Fabian Schmutzler
(31) Damon Heta v Luke Woodhouse/James Wilson
(15) Ryan Searle v William Borland/Bradley Brooks
(18) Danny Noppert v Jason Heaver/Juan Francisco Rodriguez
(7) Jose de Sousa v Jason Lowe/Daniel Larsson
(26) Mensur Suljovic v Alan Soutar/Diogo Portela
(10) Nathan Aspinall v Joe Murnan/Paul Lim
(23) Brendan Dolan v Callan Rydz/Yuki Yamada
(3) Michael van Gerwen v Chas Barstow/John Norman Jnr
(30) Chris Dobey v Rusty-Jake Rodriguez/Ben Robb
(14) Dave Chisnall v Darius Labanauskas/Charles Losper
(19) Luke Humphries v Rowby-John Rodriguez/Nick Kenny
(6) Gary Anderson v Adrian Lewis/Matt Campbell
(27) Ian White v Scott Mitchell/Chris Landman
(11) Rob Cross v Raymond van Barneveld/Lourence Ilagan
(22) Daryl Gurney v Ricky Evans/Nitin Kumar