Andy Jenkins assessed the toughest of draws for The Untouchables event and told Adrian Lewis: You don’t scare me.
The Cosham ace was drawn against the reigning PDC world champion for tomorrow night’s extravaganza at the Pyramids in Southsea – although Lewis must overcome Jack Marriner in a preliminary round first.
It would be an extraordinary upset if the Petersfield under-21 ace could take the world champion’s scalp in their best-of-seven legs encounter, after Lewis lifted his first world crown at Alexandra Palace back in January.
Bedhampton qualifier and Portsmouth champion Danny Pinhorne faces Dutch legend Raymond van Barneveld in the first of the quarter-finals, while James Wade goes up against Arron Monk.
Mark Webster will battle Co Stompe – who has stepped in for the injured Simon Whitlock – with Jenkins waiting for the winner of the Lewis and Marriner clash in the last of the quarter-finals.
And even though his friends may not have faith in his ability to spring a surprise, former world championship semi-finalist Jenkins rates his chances of causing a big upset as ‘50-50’.
Jenkins smiled: ‘My mates found out about the draw and went straight into the bookmakers to bet on Lewis to win the event! They’re nice mates like that.
‘But seriously, I know how hard it will be. I’m playing the world champion, but I’ve beaten him a few times and I beat him the last time I played him.
‘He’s got to get past the first round yet anyway.
‘But if he does, as expected, I would say I have a 50-50 chance.
‘Put it this way, I’m not scared about playing him.’
Lewis has had a patchy season since taking the biggest prize of all almost a year ago.
He was beaten in the semi-finals of the Grand Slam of Darts by all-conquering Phil Taylor two weeks ago and Jenkins is counting on home support to give him the edge.
He said: ‘Adrian hasn’t had a brilliant year and he’s not playing as well as he was last year.
‘I will be up for it and there will be a big crowd, hopefully, giving me a bit of home support.
‘It’s a sell-out so it should be a great night.’
Jenkins will also be looking to put the recent disappointment at missing out on a place in this year’s World Championship behind him after coming up short in the qualifiers.
He said: ‘I didn’t qualify for the world championships, which I was gutted about.
‘I was two rounds away from making it. But now I have get on with it and look forward to next year.’
Meanwhile, Pinhorne, who normally turns out for Havant Town on a Monday and Admiral Drake B in the Portsmouth Tuesday League, is not a total stranger to the bigger events having qualified for the UK Open three times.
The Havant-based player was also a regular on the PDC circuit, until family commitments saw his darts take a back seat.
He said: ‘I’m really looking forward to it.
‘I’m not nervous now but I don’t know what I’ll be like on the day.’
The first match of the night starts at 7.45pm.