European Championship Draw: Defending champion Cross to face Kleermaker
Mensur Suljović will play Daryl Gurney in the pick of the first round ties at next weekend’s European Championship in Oberhausen.
The field for the culmination of the European Tour was confirmed following the conclusion of the International Darts Open, and it looks very intriguing with the shortened campaign throwing up some fascinating sections of the draw.
That Suljović-Gurney clash is in the same quarter of the draw as second seed Gerwyn Price, who takes on Kim Huybrechts, as well as World Champion Peter Wright who meets Gabriel Clemens.
After Wright’s decision not to play in the final two European Tour events, ‘Snakebite’ could meet ‘The Iceman’ as early as the second round.
The other game in that quarter features 2019 Gibraltar Darts Trophy champion Krzysztof Ratajski against Steve West.
Defending champion Rob Cross meets debutant Martin Kleermaker, while top seed Joe Cullen plays William O’Connor, who only moved into the field courtesy of Glen Durrant’s withdrawal.
Bradford thrower Cullen was one of four different European Tour champions in 2020, alongside Price, Devon Petersen and José de Sousa.
Petersen takes on former World Championship finalist Andy Hamilton in the first round, while De Sousa plays Jeffrey de Zwaan.
Four-time European Champion Michael van Gerwen has been handed a tie with Darius Labanauskas, and he could have another meeting with Mervyn King should the veteran beat Ian White.
There is an all-Dutch clash between the in-form pair of Danny Noppert and Dirk van Duijvenbode, with the winner to take on Michael Smith or Ross Smith.
2018 champion James Wade faces Steve Lennon, and if he wins that, he will play Nathan Aspinall for the third weekend in a row if ‘The Asp’ can get past another debutant in the form of Maik Kuivenhoven.
Elsewhere in the bracket, Jamie Hughes takes on Dave Chisnall and Jonny Clayton plays 2018 semi-finalist Max Hopp.
Among the absentees are Gary Anderson, who hasn’t played in any European Tour events for several years, as well as the likes of Adrian Lewis, Simon Whitlock and World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh.
October 29-November 1
König Pilsener Arena, Oberhausen
(1) Joe Cullen v (32) William O’Connor
(16) Jamie Hughes v (17) Dave Chisnall
(8) Nathan Aspinall v (25) Maik Kuivenhoven
(9) James Wade v (24) Steve Lennon
(4) Devon Petersen v (29) Andy Hamilton
(13) Rob Cross v (20) Martijn Kleermaker
(5) Michael van Gerwen v (28) Darius Labanauskas
(12) Mervyn King v (21) Ian White
(2) Gerwyn Price v (31) Kim Huybrechts
(15) Peter Wright v (18) Gabriel Clemens
(7) Mensur Suljović v (26) Daryl Gurney
(10) Krzysztof Ratajski v (23) Steve West
(3) José de Sousa v (30) Jeffrey de Zwaan
(14) Jonny Clayton v (19) Max Hopp
(6) Michael Smith v (27) Ross Smith
(11) Danny Noppert v (22) Dirk van Duijvenbode
by Jamie Cameron
(Featured Image: PDC Europe)