SCOTT Mitchell might consider his darts career a “glorified hobby” but the Bransgore thrower expects to be in the mix for World Masters glory this weekend.

Mitchell was a quarter-finalist in the competition in 2014, three months before he became world champion at Lakeside Country Club. That same venue is hosting this year’s Masters, with second seed Mitchell due to get his campaign under way at the last-32 stage today.

Mitchell told the Daily Echo: “This is the highest I’ve been seeded so everybody will be expecting a little bit from me – and I’m expecting a little bit from myself. They are talking about a few others in front of me, even though I’m number two seed.

"That’s a good sign, I prefer that. We don’t choose our seeding. It’s where we are and you just hope you’re playing near the level you need to.”

If there is a note of caution to be sounded it is that this competition is renowned for its propensity to knock the favourites from their perch. Each set is a brisk affair, contested over just three legs, and the top 16 players start on the back foot, given their respective first-round opponents will be in the groove following a gruelling qualifying process.

“It’s a leveller,” said Mitchell. “The guys who’ve already been playing the format for a day jump in and play against us.

“If you get through that first game it’s all well and good but this one is notorious for being a giant-killing job.”

Indeed, the 46-year-old tumbled out at the first stage last year, beaten by eventual runner-up Larry Butler.

But Mitchell is desperate to add his name to a star cast of former winners, with John Lowe, Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen among those crowned World Master since the competition’s launch in 1974.

In Mitchell’s favour during this busy period – with the illustrious Finder Masters coming hot on the heels of this tournament and the World Championship to follow in the new year – is that he is able to take a step back from his day jobs.

“I really look forward to this time of year,” said Mitchell, a landscape gardener and farmer.

“It’s a bit colder so I want to get indoors and have a throw. There’s not so much gardening and farm work so I can get a couple of hours on the board every day.”

Mitchell’s confidence is borne out by his performance for Dorset against London last week, when he threw a year’s best 98.73 three-dart average.

Nevertheless, with the Masters champion pocketing £25,000, compared with the £250 prize for first-round losers, Mitchell is keen to hit his straps from the off.

He said: “It’s exciting. Everybody knows it’s not my full-time job. It’s a glorified hobby for me!

“I’m feeling in tidy nick but you can be a bit over-confident and fall on your backside. I’d say I’m apprehensively confident.”