The 2021 European Darts Championship gets under way in Salzburg on Thursday, with three former champions in action on opening…
The 2021 European Darts Championship gets under way in Salzburg on Thursday, with three former champions in action on opening night.
The top 32 players on the 2021 European Tour Order of Merit will battle it out for the title and £500,000 prize fund in front of up to 3,500 fans at the Salzburgarena.
This year’s PDC European Tour was comprised of just two events – the Hungarian Darts Trophy and the Gibraltar Darts Trophy – thus resulting in a number of debutant qualifiers.
Scotland’s William Borland is among the 14 newcomers in this year’s European Championship and features in the opening match of the tournament against 2012 champion Simon Whitlock.
Whitlock, who also finished runner-up in 2018, missed out on the recent World Grand Prix and will be keen to make up for lost ground against the 24-year-old who is making on his third appearance in a televised PDC event.
Peter Wright begins the defence of his title against Florian Hempel – one of only two Germans in the field.
Wright, who has picked up the World Matchplay and World Cup of Darts titles this year, is out to bounce back from a First Round defeat at the Grand Prix, but faces a potential banana skin against the highly-rated German – who came through European Qualifying School this year.
Rob Cross is facing huge pressure to defend his title-winning prize money from 2019 on his ranking and has been handed a tricky opening tie against Irish youngster Keane Barry.
Cross, currently ranked world number 12, could drop as low as 24th with defeat to the 19-year-old – a former BDO World Youth champion and Challenge Tour event winner last year.
Mensur Suljovic, runner-up in the 2016 European Championship, opens up with a clash against debutant Adam Hunt – a two-time Challenge Tour event winner.
Grand Slam champion Jose De Sousa starts out against emerging Welsh star Lewis Williams – who has twice reached the Last 16 on the ProTour this season, as well as the Last 16 of the Hungarian Darts Trophy.
Two players who have enjoyed breakthrough seasons so far go head-to-head as UK Open finalist Luke Humphries takes on Players Championship event winner Callan Rydz.
Brendan Dolan, twice a quarter-finalist on the Euro Tour this season and winner of a Players Championship event, faces a resurgent Kim Huybrechts – who reached the Semi-Finals of this event back in 2012.
Joe Cullen aims to arrest a recent dip in form when he meets 13-time Development Tour winner Ted Evetts.
Cullen has suffered First Round defeats in three of his last five events, but has two Players Championship titles to his name this season and reached the Semi-Finals of this event in 2018.
Evetts only previous European Championship appearance came in 2019 when he was beaten 6-4 by Gerwyn Price in the opening round.
The action gets under way from 7pm BST, with First Round matches to be contested over the best of 11 legs.
European Darts Championship 2021 Schedule
All times BST (local time one hour ahead)
Thursday October 14
7.15pm Simon Whitlock v William Borland
7.45pm Brendan Dolan v Kim Huybrechts
8.15pm Rob Cross v Keane Barry
8.45pm Luke Humphries v Callan Rydz
9.15pm Jose de Sousa v Lewis Williams
9.45pm Peter Wright v Florian Hempel
10.15pm Mensur Suljovic v Adam Hunt
10.45pm Joe Cullen v Ted Evetts