GWENT darts ace Gerwyn Price will face either Irish or Finnish opposition when he starts his quest for glory at next month’s PDC World Championship.

Alexandra Palace has not been kind to Markham’s Price since he made his tournament bow back in 2015.

After three first-round defeats, the 34-year-old recorded his best performance to date in 2018 when losing to Dutchman Michael Van Gerwen in round three.

However, he took a step backwards 12 months ago with a second-round exit at the hands of Nathan Aspinall.

But in-form Price is a serious contender for the Sid Waddell Trophy this time around, beginning his campaign against Ireland’s William O’Connor or Marko Kantele of Finland.

Three-time world champion Van Gerwen heads up the top 32 players from the PDC Order of Merit, who are seeded and will enter at the second-round stage.

The first round features 32 qualifiers from the ProTour Order of Merit, based on prize money won across 43 non-televised events in 2019, and 32 international qualifiers.

Third seed Price is in the same quarter of the draw as three-time BDO champion Glen Durrant, while top seed Van Gerwen faces Jelle Klaasen or Kevin Burness first up.

Japan’s Mikuru Suzuki and England’s Fallon Sherrock are the two women to qualify for this year’s event and they will play James Richardson and Ted Evetts respectively in round one.

Price goes into the event on the back of his second successive Grand Slam of Darts triumph earlier this month, and a run to Sunday’s Players Championship final.

He came within touching distance of claiming back-to-back televised titles as he edged into an 8-7 lead at Butlin’s Minehead Resort.

However, Van Gerwen found one last push to claim an 11-9 win, a fifth title and the £100,000 top prize, erasing the memories of his loss to Daryl Gurney in last year’s final.

Price had averaged almost 109 in his quarter-final thrashing of Stephen Bunting, before coming from 4-1 down to defeat Chris Dobey 11-8 in the last four.

Despite coming from two legs behind to go 8-7 up against Van Gerwen, the Welshman was left to rue the Dutchman’s late blitz as he was forced to settle for the £50,000 runner-up prize.

“Michael was the better player,” said Price. “I’ve got no complaints, and the opening leg probably set the tone for the match.

“I battled back to get in front, but Michael was too strong in the end. I’ve had another great weekend and the crowd were fantastic, they gave me great support.”