Five unmissable first round ties at the William Hill World Championship

Raymond van Barneveld

With one week to go to the start of the 2021/22 William Hill World Darts Championship, we've picked out five first round ties you won't want to miss...

5. Ron Meulenkamp v Lisa Ashton (Thursday December 16, evening session)
After strong showings in defeats to Jan Dekker and Adam Hunt, Lisa Ashton will be hoping to make it third time lucky against Ron Meulenkamp.

History-maker Ashton became the first woman to average over 100 in a televised match in March at the UK Open and is also the first, and so far only, woman to win a Tour Card at Qualifying School.

However, the four-time Women's World Champion faces the prospect of returning to Q School in January if she fails to win at least two matches at Alexandra Palace.

Meanwhile, world number 53 Meulenkamp is looking to recapture his 2018 form which saw him qualify for and reach the second round of the World Grand Prix.

Adrian Lewis, Darren Webster
Adrian Lewis has played out some epic contests on the Ally Pally stage

4. Adrian Lewis v Matt Campbell (Wednesday December 15)
For the first time in his career Adrian Lewis will head to Alexandra Palace as one of the unseeded players in the field.

A year of unwanted firsts for Lewis also saw him fail to qualify for both the World Matchplay and World Grand Prix for the first time since 2003.

Now ranked 34th on the PDC Order of Merit, Lewis has a point to prove and recent displays on the ProTour and at the Players Championship Finals show the two-time World Champion is up for the fight.

Lewis will be in opening night action against upcoming Canadian Matt Campbell, who narrowly lost out to Scott Waites in one of the most exciting games of last year's first round.

3. Florian Hempel v Martin Schindler (Sunday December 19, evening session)
German darts fans will no doubt have winced when the draw pitted two of the country's brightest prospects against each other in the first round.

Florian Hempel and Martin Schindler have impressed in 2021, but for one the year will have a disappointing end.

Former professional handball player Hempel has enjoyed a strong first year as a professional, a Players Championship semi-final being the highlight, while Schindler has impressed since winning back his Tour Card in January.

The pair met in the final of the PDC Europe Super League in April as Schindler ran out an 11-10 winner in a dramatic contest.

Raymond van Barneveld
Raymond van Barneveld waves farewell to the Ally Pally crowd in December 2019

2. Raymond van Barneveld v Lourence Ilagan (Monday December 20)
When Raymond van Barneveld suffered a shock defeat to Darin Young two years ago it looked certain that the Dutch legend would never grace the Alexandra Palace stage.

But two years is a long time in darts and the five-time World Champion has enjoyed his fresh start after regaining his Tour Card in January, winning a Players Championship event and qualifying for the Grand Slam.

No doubt one of the biggest motivations behind Van Barneveld's decision to come out of retirement will have been to exorcise his Ally Pally demons.

To do so he must first find a way past Lourence Ilagan, the dangerous, energetic Filipino who will perhaps feel unfortunate not to have picked up a win in his five previous World Championship appearances.

Fallon Sherrock, Ted Evetts
Fallon Sherrock and Ted Evetts acknowledge the crowd after their historic contest

1. Steve Beaton v Fallon Sherrock (Sunday December 19, evening session)
A tie that needs no justification for its placing at the top of this list.

Two years on from her life-changing run which saw her become a global sensation overnight, Fallon Sherrock returns to the Alexandra Palace stage.

Sherrock's return will see her face an all-time icon of darts' in Steve Beaton who will be appearing in his 31st successive World Championship at the age of 57.

The most experienced player in this year's field, Beaton will present a major challenge to Sherrock who has already thrust herself back into the limelight in 2021 with historic runs to the final of the Nordic Darts Masters and the quarter-finals of the Grand Slam.

'The Queen of the Palace' will be determined to replicate that form on the sport's biggest stage once again.

Tickets for some sessions remain available through SeeTicketsHospitality Packages are available through this link, and Hotel & Ticket Breaks are available through

The tournament will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7, and on PDCTV (excluding UK and Netherlands based subscribers).