Lisa Ashton will make her PDC World Championship debut next month, after storming through the UK & Ireland Women’s World Championship qualifier in Milton Keynes on Sunday afternoon.
The four-time women’s world champion will compete alongside Anastasia Dobromyslova at the Alexandra Palace, after coming through a field of over 120 players on a dramatic day of qualification at the Arena MK.
The 48-year-old- who is the top-ranked BDO women’s player, underlined her class throughout an imperious campaign; dropping just five legs across her seven games to guarantee herself a minimum of £7,500 in the process.
‘The Lancashire Rose’ breezed through to the semi-finals without dropping a single leg, after securing whitewash wins over Sharon Costello, Stephanie Stutley, Sarah Ceska, Jane Densley and Denise Cassidy.
The two-time World Masters champion then defeated her BDO counterpart Rhian Griffiths 5-2 to set up a clash with England team-mate Maria O’Brien in the final, after O’Brien claimed the scalps of former Lakeside finalists Fallon Sherrock and Deta Hedman in the previous two rounds.
Nevertheless, she was unable to overcome the irrepressible Ashton, who sealed a fine 6-3 victory with a majestic 132 checkout culminating on the bullseye, to confirm her spot at the Alexandra Palace.
There was a high-quality field in Milton Keynes, evidenced by the fact that all four semi-finalists were established stars on the BDO circuit. Deta Hedman- a three-time UK Open qualifier during her time on the PDC circuit, was beaten by O’Brien 5-2 in the semi-finals, whilst Courtney Hine- daughter of Steve, was beaten in the quarter-finals.
Lorraine Winstanley- who will be top seed at the BDO World Championship in January, was beaten 4-3 by Hedman in the last 16, while Crissy Manley, wife of former world finalist Peter, was beaten at the second-round stage.
Ashton and Dobromyslova contested last year’s BDO World Championship final, and they will be amongst an expanded 96-player field for the 2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship, with two places having been made available for female qualifiers.
Dobromyslova and Gayl King are the only two women to have previously featured at the PDC World Championship. However, Ashton- who competed on the PDC Challenge Tour last year, becomes the third female player to represent the ladies game on the global stage.
Dobromyslova, who won last weekend’s Rest of the World Women’s Qualifier in Dusseldorf, played in the 2009 World Championship where she lost in the preliminary round to Remco van Eijden, but exactly a decade on, she is set for her Alexandra Palace return.
The final three places at this year’s World Championship will be confirmed at the last-chance PDC Tour Card Holders’ Qualifier in Milton Keynes on Monday. The initial two places have been increased to three with PDC Unicorn World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh having already qualified through the ProTour Order of Merit.
Photo Credit: David Gill
2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship
UK & Ireland Women’s Qualifier
Maria O’Brien 4-3 Fallon Sherrock
Deta Hedman 4-2 Casey Gallagher
Lisa Ashton 4-0 Denise Cassidy
Rhian Griffiths 4-0 Courtney Hine
Maria O’Brien 5-2 Deta Hedman
Lisa Ashton 5-2 Rhian Griffiths
Lisa Ashton 6-3 Maria O’Brien