Peter Wright to open World Darts Championship defence against Mickey Mansell or Ben Robb

Peter Wright will begin his Cazoo World Darts Championship title defence on the opening night of the 2022/23 event, with the schedule of play for the first and second rounds now confirmed.

The pre-Christmas period in the sport's showpiece event will feature a festive feast of darts at Alexandra Palace, as the first and second rounds are played across nine days from December 15-23.

The tournament's opening night will see reigning champion Wright begin his bid for a third Sid Waddell Trophy against either Northern Ireland's Mickey Mansell or New Zealand's Ben Robb, who will open proceedings on Thursday December 15.

Thursday's action will see also see UK Open semi-finalist Keane Barry face South African debutant Grant Sampson, while quick-fire Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena plays emerging star Nathan Rafferty.

The first double session of this year's World Championship will take place on Friday December 16, as two-time runner-up Michael Smith takes on either Wattimena or Rafferty in his opener.

Two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis faces Sweden's Daniel Larsson in the afternoon session, before eight-time PDC Women's Series winner Beau Greaves makes her highly-anticipated Ally Pally bow against William O'Connor in Friday's evening session.

Belgian number one Dimitri Van den Bergh and World Youth Champion Josh Rock headline the action on Saturday December 17, while former finalist Simon Whitlock, Daryl Gurney and Lisa Ashton also feature.

Two-time semi-finalist Nathan Aspinall gets his campaign underway on Sunday December 18, on a day which includes a potential second round showdown between World Cup winner Damon Heta and Stoke star Lewis.

World number one Gerwyn Price is set to begin his bid for a second World Championship crown on Monday December 19, with the Welshman up against Luke Woodhouse or Ukrainian debutant Vladyslav Omelchenko in round two.

Monday's play will also see Steve Beaton mark his 32nd consecutive World Championship appearance with a tie against Dutch youngster Danny van Trijp, while former Grand Slam champion Jose de Sousa meets Whitlock or PDC Asian Champion Christian Perez.

Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld enters the fray on Tuesday December 20, and the Dutch legend will begin his 30th World Championship campaign against Ryan Meikle or four-time Women's World Champion Ashton.

Women's World Matchplay winner Fallon Sherrock also opens her challenge on a blockbuster Tuesday night, as she takes on Ricky Evans for the right to play Joe Cullen in the second round.

The first round draws to a close on Wednesday December 21, on a day when three-time champion Michael van Gerwen begins his bid to end a stunning year by lifting the Sid Waddell Trophy for the first time since 2019.

St Helens duo Dave Chisnall and Stephen Bunting will also be in action, while Germany's number one Gabriel Clemens plays O'Connor or Greaves in round two, after last year's quarter-finalist Callan Rydz features in the afternoon session.

Two-time World Champion Gary Anderson headlines a star-studded double session on Thursday December 22, which also includes ten-time TV title winner James Wade and fifth seed Luke Humphries.

The second round will conclude across two sessions on Friday December 23, when 2018 World Champion Rob Cross, seventh seed Jonny Clayton and Masters champion Cullen are among the high-profile names in action.

Following a three-day Christmas break, the third and fourth rounds will be held from December 27-30, with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final taking place from January 1-3.

Schedule of Play

Thursday December 15 (1900 GMT) - 3x First Round, 1x Second Round

  • Mickey Mansell v Ben Robb (R1)
  • Keane Barry v Grant Sampson (R1)
  • Jermaine Wattimena v Nathan Rafferty (R1)
  • Peter Wright v Mansell/Robb (R2)

Friday December 16 Afternoon Session (1230 GMT) - 3x First Round, 1x Second Round

  • Alan Soutar v Mal Cuming (R1)
  • Boris Krcmar v Toru Suzuki (R1)
  • Adrian Lewis v Daniel Larsson (R1)
  • Kim Huybrechts v Barry/Sampson (R2)

Evening Session (1900 GMT) - 3x First Round, 1x Second Round

  • Rowby-John Rodriguez v Lourence Ilagan (R1)
  • William O'Connor v Beau Greaves (R1)
  • Keegan Brown v Florian Hempel (R1)
  • Michael Smith v Wattimena/Rafferty (R2)

Saturday December 17 Afternoon Session (1100 GMT) - 3x First Round, 1x Second Round

  • Martin Lukeman v Nobuhiro Yamamoto (R1)
  • Simon Whitlock v Christian Perez (R1)
  • Adam Gawlas v Richie Burnett (R1)
  • Daryl Gurney v Soutar/Cuming (R2)

Evening Session (2000 GMT) - 3x First Round, 1x Second Round

  • Ryan Meikle v Lisa Ashton (R1)
  • Cameron Menzies v Diogo Portela (R1)
  • Josh Rock v Jose Justicia (R1)
  • Dimitri Van den Bergh v Rodriguez/Ilagan (R2)

Sunday December 18 Afternoon Session (1100 GMT) - 3x First Round, 1x Second Round

  • Madars Razma v Prakash Jiwa (R1)
  • Karel Sedlacek v Raymond Smith (R1)
  • Luke Woodhouse v Vladyslav Omelchenko (R1)
  • Damon Heta v Lewis/Larsson (R2)

Evening Session (2000 GMT) - 3x First Round, 1x Second Round

  • Mike De Decker v Jeff Smith (R1)
  • Scott Williams v Ryan Joyce (R1)
  • Matt Campbell v Danny Baggish (R1)
  • Nathan Aspinall v Krcmar/Suzuki (R2)

Monday December 19 Afternoon Session (1230 GMT) - 3x First Round, 1x Second Round

  • Andrew Gilding v Robert Owen (R1)
  • Danny Jansen v Paolo Nebrida (R1)
  • Niels Zonneveld v Lewy Williams (R1)
  • Jose de Sousa v Whitlock/Perez (R2)

Evening Session (1900 GMT) - 3x First Round, 1x Second Round

  • Geert Nentjes v Leonard Gates (R1)
  • Ritchie Edhouse v David Cameron (R1)
  • Steve Beaton v Danny van Trijp (R1)
  • Gerwyn Price v Woodhouse/Omelchenko (R2)

Tuesday December 20 (1900 GMT) - 3x First Round, 1x Second Round

  • Jim Williams v Sebastian Bialecki (R1)
  • Jamie Hughes v Jimmy Hendriks (R1)
  • Ricky Evans v Fallon Sherrock (R1)
  • Raymond van Barneveld v Meikle/Ashton (R2)

Wednesday December 21 Afternoon Session (1230 GMT) - 2x First Round, 2x Second Round

  • John O'Shea v Darius Labanauskas (R1)
  • Martijn Kleermaker v Xicheng Han (R1)
  • Callan Rydz v Rock/Justicia (R2)
  • Dave Chisnall v Gilding/Owen (R2)

Evening Session (1900 GMT) - 4x Second Round

  • Mervyn King v Campbell/Baggish (R2)
  • Gabriel Clemens v O'Connor/Greaves (R2)
  • Michael van Gerwen v Zonneveld/L Williams (R2)
  • Stephen Bunting v Nentjes/Gates (R2)

Thursday December 22Afternoon Session (1230 GMT) - 4x Second Round

  • Krzysztof Ratajski v Jansen/Nebrida (R2)
  • Ryan Searle v Gawlas/Burnett (R2)
  • Mensur Suljovic v De Decker/J Smith (R2)
  • Dirk van Duijvenbode v Sedlacek/R Smith (R2)

Evening Session (1900 GMT) - 4x Second Round

  • Gary Anderson v Razma/Jiwa (R2)
  • James Wade v J Williams/Bialecki (R2)
  • Luke Humphries v Brown/Hempel (R2)
  • Vincent van der Voort v Menzies/Portela (R2)

Friday December 23 Afternoon Session (1230 GMT) - 4x Second Round

  • Brendan Dolan v Hughes/Hendriks (R2)
  • Chris Dobey v Kleermaker/Han (R2)
  • Ross Smith v O'Shea/Labanauskas (R2)
  • Rob Cross v S Williams/Joyce (R2)

Evening Session (1900 GMT) - 4x Second Round

  • Martin Schindler v Lukeman/Yamamoto (R2)
  • Danny Noppert v Edhouse/Cameron (R2)
  • Jonny Clayton v Beaton/Van Trijp (R2)
  • Joe Cullen v Evans/Sherrock (R2)

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