LISA ASHTON has qualified for the William Hill World Darts Championship after winning the UK & Ireland Women’s Qualifier in Milton Keynes.
The four-time Lakeside Women’s Champion will make her debut in the PDC’s World Championship after joining Russia’s Anastasia Dobromyslova in secure Alexandra Palace spots.
Ashton, a 48-year-old from St Helens, is the top-ranked BDO women’s player and her dominance on the circuit was reflected in her qualification at the Marshall Arena as she lost only five legs in seven games.
Ashton enjoyed 4-0 whitewash wins in her opening five matches as she defeated Sharon Costello, Stephanie Stutley, Sarah Ceska, Jane Densley and Denise Cassidy.
She then overcame Rhian Griffiths 5-2 in the semi-finals before sealing a 6-3 defeat of Maria O’Brien in the final with a 132 finish on the bull.
Ashton had been joined in the qualifier by daughters Danielle – who reached the last 16 – and Lindsey, who lost in round one, with a total of 122 female players taking part.
“I’m so chuffed to get through,” said Ashton. “For me this is a massive win and it’s a massive opportunity to play the men at Ally Pally.
“It’s a dream come true and I hope I do the ladies proud. It’s been such an amazing day, the quality has been excellent.”
Plymouth’s O’Brien ended the hopes of BDO number two Deta Hedman and number four ranked Fallon Sherrock in the latter stages, but missed out in the decider.
Hedman – a three-time UK Open qualifier during her time on the PDC circuit – lost out in the semi-finals alongside Griffiths, while Courtney Hine, the daughter of PDC player Steve, was amongst the quarter-finalists.
Lorraine Winstanley, the wife of former PDC star Dean, lost out 4-3 to Hedman in the last 16.
Ashton and Dobromyslova 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.
Ashton has previously competed on the PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour circuit, where she reached one quarter-final, while she has claimed nine tournament wins during 2018 on the women’s circuit.
Dobromyslova, who won last weekend’s Rest of the World Women’s Qualifier in Dusseldorf, played in the 2009 World Championship and is a three-time Lakeside Women’s Champion.
Ashton added: “We’ll be flying the flag and hopefully we can do everyone proud.”
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