There will be an all-Merseyside clash in the first round of the Cazoo European Darts Championship in Germany.
Stephen “The Bullet” Bunting will be looking to avoid an early exit on Friday night as he takes on St Helens-born Dave “Chizzy” Chisnall in what should be an exciting match up.
Fellow St Helens player Michael “Bully Boy” Smith faces Czech-born Karel Sedláček on Thursday night.
Bunting has a tough match on his hands against world number 15 Chisnall. Chizzy, a first-round exit at the Grand Prix earlier this month, will want to continue the good form he showed at the Players Championship 25, where he defeated the likes of Gerwyn Price and Gary Anderson on his way to victory over rookie Josh Rock in the final.
While The Bullet went one step further than Chisnall in the Grand Prix, he will have to be more consistent than his recent form has shown, with seven wins and five defeats in his last 12 matches since then.
Bully Boy has a more favourable match up with world number 84 Sedláček making his debut at the European Championships. Smith is expected to come through this tie with relative ease, despite his poor double-hitting at the Grand Prix. However, there is the possibility of an upset with the Czech hitting some high averages in recent tournaments.
Sedláček managed an average of 106.94 against Madars Razma at the Players Championship 26. If the debutant can reach anything close to those averages, then he could pose a threat to Smith in this first round tie.
There are some other interesting ties to see who progresses into the weekend. Defending champion Rob Cross takes on world number five James Wade. Jonny Clayton faces off against Gabriel Clemens, whereas potential world number one Gerwyn Price takes on Rowby-John Rodriguez and Grand Prix finalist Nathan Aspinall is up against high-flying youngster Josh Rock.
The 2022 European Championship will take place from Oct 27-30 at the Westfalenhallen in Dortmund with the winner taking home £120,000 from a £500,000 prize fund.