Ricky Evans is in confident mood as he gears up for the PDC’s William Hill World Darts Championship.
The Kettering ace has enjoyed a decent year on the PDC ProTour and secured his place at the Alexandra Palace in London by virtue of his position in the Order of Merit.
Evans made his return to the live televised stage at the end of last month when he competed in the Players Championship Finals in Minehead.
But the big one is now here and Evans will be in action on the opening night tomorrow (Thursday) when he goes up against world number 10 Michael Smith in the first round.
The eye-catching clash is a repeat of the 2013 World Youth final when Smith claimed a 6-1 victory over Evans.
Smith has gone on to feature in the Premier League since then but Evans, who lit up the first round last year with a stunning fightback to beat Simon Whitlock before suffering a disappointing exit at the hands of Jamie Caven, believes he has what it takes to upset the odds.
Evans, who is nicknamed ‘Rapid’ due to the quickness of his throw, joked: “I hope I can win more than one leg this time!
“But in all seriousness, Michael has shown that he is a fantastic player and it will be a very tough match.
“I think I am a decent player as well so it should be interesting.
“He will be expected to win, I know that. But I think Simon was expected to beat me last year as well and I managed to get a result out of that.
“If I turn up and play to my best then I’ll be in with a great chance.
“It’s that time of year when the darts takes over and I can’t wait.
“I have had a really good year, I think I’ve played pretty well throughout it.
“As usual, it’s just about consistency with me. One day I could beat the world number three and the next, I could lose to the world number 103.
“I think the key is to not get too over-excited when I win matches, the standard is so high at the moment and everyone is getting better all the time.
“I want to go as far as I can. I always feel I have a good chance.
“I had a great win over Simon last year when I played really well in the latter part of the match but then I didn’t turn up on Boxing Day and it was really disappointing.
“But I am feeling confident and you can never really predict what will happen, it will all be about what happens on the day.”