HANKEY'S FOCUS ON SPEEDY SERVICES UK OPEN AS STARS WARM UP FOR BOLTON
Winmau’s TED HANKEY is preparing himself for a big stage debut in the Speedy Services UK Open next Thursday, when he faces unknown amateur Danny Dutson on the opening night of 'The FA Cup of Darts'.
The two-time Lakeside Championship winner was the most high-profile player to join the PDC this year when he took up a Tour Card in January.
Hankey has since qualified to play in the UK Open in Bolton, where he has drawn Speedy Qualifier Danny Dutson in the Preliminary Round.
Hankey could also face Andy Jenkins and Mervyn King on the opening night of the £200,000 tournament - but insists that, after reaching the last 16 for the first time on the PDC circuit in Crawley last weekend, he's ready for the challenge in Bolton.
"The first target was to qualify for the UK Open and I've got there, so I'm happy," said Hankey.
"I'm playing an amateur qualifier and I'm looking forward to it, but you can't underestimate anybody.
"I've been in the PDC for five months and the standard I've seen is incredible, so I know I've got to play good darts.
"I had a great weekend in Crawley and I'm looking forward to Bolton now because I want to get on a roll.
"My problem has been finishing and hitting my doubles, but I've put a lot of time in with practice and I played really well in Crawley."
With professional players having competed in eight £35,000 Qualifiers to win their places in Bolton, the leading 32 will sit out next Thursday's opening night before entering at the Third Round stage on Friday.
However, the early rounds will feature reigning champion James Wade, who finished 40th in the final UK Open Order of Merit, as well as last year's two losing semi-finalists in Bolton, Mark Webster and Denis Ovens.
Paul Nicholson, Wayne Jones, Steve Beaton, Jelle Klaasen and Ronnie Baxter are also in action on Thursday, while Co Stompe and Alan Tabern will face each other for a place in the third round draw.
They are joined by the 64 amateur qualifiers who have won through the knockouts held in Speedy Superstores and Rileys Darts Zones over the past two months, and get the chance to share the stage with some of darts' biggest names on the opening night.
Play in the early rounds is split across eight stages simultaneously in the Premier Suite at the De Vere Whites in Bolton, with the tournament screened live on Sky Sports HD.
The Preliminary Round action will begin on the Main Stage when PDC newcomer Tony West - the former World Masters champion who won a Tour Card in January - plays Rileys Qualifier Michael Burgoine.
Steve Beaton and Arron Monk then play Speedy Qualifiers Jon Jukes and Paul Boulton before Steve Brown meets Michael Barnard.
Dutch youngster Gino Vos then plays another amateur hopeful Paul Harvey before two-time World Champion Ted Hankey makes his UK Open debut against Danny Dutson, who won through the Speedy Qualifier in Leeds.
The Preliminary Round games on Board Two include Ovens - who has been a semi-finalist for the past two years - playing amateur Craig McCaskill, Steve Farmer's clash with youngster Jamie Lewis, Andy Jenkins' meeting with Rileys Qualifier Gus Santana and Scotland's John Henderson up against Lee Bryant.
The winner of the game between Farmer and Lewis will meet Mark Stephenson in the first round on the Main Stage, with Nicholson - who knocked out Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson in Bolton 12 months ago - meeting either Harry Miles or Andy Melling.
Wolverhampton's Jones plays Germany's Bernd Roith or Rileys Qualifier Jason Wilson, and young star Adam Hunt - a winner on the PDC Unicorn Youth Tour last year - meets either Steve Maish or Dave Solly.
The Second Round games on the Main Stage will include reigning champion Wade beginning the defence of his title against one of four possible opponents; former UK Open quarter-finalist Mark Lawrence, Rileys Qualifiers Jamie Robinson, Glen Durrant or Stephen Bunting.
Mark Hylton, a quarter-finalist in Bolton last year, faces Spain's Antonio Alcinas, 2011 semi-finalist Webster plays Johnny Haines and James Richardson plays Jim Walker.
Dutch pair Stompe - who plays Tabern - and Klaasen compete on Board Two in the Second Round, with that board also featuring a potential First Round contest between Hankey and Jenkins.
Ireland's Connie Finnan, who won the Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay last year and competed in the World Championship, has withdrawn from the UK Open, meaning that his Preliminary Round opponent Andy Murray now receives a bye into the First Round.
The draw for the Third Round will be made at the conclusion of Thursday night's play, with the top 32 players - including Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld, Adrian Lewis and Gary Anderson - entering at that stage alongside the 32 survivors from Thursday's play.
Tickets for the Speedy Services UK Open televised finals, from June 7-10 in the Premier Suite at De Vere Whites, Bolton, are still available by calling SeeTickets on 0844 871 8807 or by visiting www.seetickets.com.
Speedy Services UK Open
Friday June 8
Saturday June 9
Sunday June 10
Date : 06-06-2012