Daryl Gurney faces a testing world darts start as nemesis Pipe lies in wait
Northern Ireland's Daryl Gurney will face either Justin Pipe or Benjamin Pratnemer in the second round of the PDC World Darts Championship following yesterday's draw.
The World No.6, who receives a bye through the first round due to his ranking, will be hoping he can find some form at the Alexandra Palace in London and improve on his best finish - the quarter-finals in 2017 - when the action gets under way on December 13.
It could be a potentially tricky draw, however, as the Derry man has never beaten Pipe in a competitive match, losing the two times they have clashed in the past, and it is the Englishman who will be expected to progress to face Gurney.
One of two other Northern Irishmen in the field, Brendan Dolan, has been handed a tasty second round tie should he overcome qualifier Nitin Kumar in an interesting first round match.
Enniskillen's Dolan has the incentive of a second round tie against two-time world champion Gary Anderson, which he should reach as favourite against India's Kumar, who has never won a first round tie at the World Championships before.
Tyrone's Mickey Mansell, meanwhile, faces Japan's Seigo Asada for the right to take on Keegan Brown in round two.
Meanwhile, World No.1 Michael van Gerwen has been drawn against either Jelle Klaasen or Kevin Burness as he gets his title defence underway.
The Dutch maestro defeated Michael Smith in last year's final and is once again the overwhelming favourite to win the Sid Waddell Trophy in the New Year's Day final.
Smith will play the winner of Paul Woodhouse and Paul Lim's first round clash, while Rob Cross potentially faces a tricky tie first up against either Kim Huybrechts or Geert Nentjes.
Gerwyn Price is up against the victor of William O'Connor's clash with Marko Kantele, while Peter Wright has been handed a tie with either Rowby-John Rodriguez or Noel Malicdem.