NI's Daryl Gurney to face Huybrechts in first round of PDC World Championships

Northern Ireland's number four seed Daryl Gurney will face Belgian Ronny Huybrechts in the first round of the PDC World Championships.

Daryl Gurney
Daryl Gurney

Londonderry man Gurney will go into the event with genuine title hopes after winning the World Grand Prix title in Dublin in October.

Fermanagh man Brendan Dolan will face Croatia’s Alan Ljubic in the final qualifying round at Alexandra Palace.

Victory will set up a first-round game against 28th seed Robert Thornton.

Scotland’s Thornton won the World Grand Prix in 2015 and is also a former UK Open and World Masters champion.

The tournament will take place at the London venue from December 14 to January 1.

Gurney reached the quarter-finals at last season’s PDC World Championships and also progressed to the semi-finals at the UK Open and the World Matchplay.

His first-round opponent Huybrechts has never been beyond the last 32 at the world championships.

Fourteen-time world champion Phil Taylor will face Chris Dobey in the first round of the PDC World Championship - his last event before he retires.

Taylor, 57, announced in January that 2017 would be his final year on the Professional Darts Corporation tour.

World number one Michael van Gerwen will start the defence of his title against fellow Dutchman Christian Kist.

Former winner Adrian Lewis will play either Alexsandr Oreshkin or Kevin Munch, with 2007 champion Raymond van Barneveld up against Richard North and Peter Wright taking on Brazil’s Diogo Portela.