Lisa Ashton 2 Deta Hedman 1

In aquirk of the draw for this year’s BDO Women’s World Championship at theLakeside, last year’s finalists were paired together in the very first round. DetaHedman was seeded number one in the world this year (for the fourth yearrunning), but it was her opponent Lisa Ashton who took the title last year in aclassic final. The ‘Lancashire Rose’ went into this year’s event unseeded,based on results during the year, but turned in a wonderful performance torepeat last year’s victory and recorded a more than respectable 80+ three-dartaverage in the process.

For the two-time runner-up Hedman, it was adisappointing early exit for her as she was unable to avenge last year’s defeat.

Ashton started by far the better this time around, takingthe first set at a canter in the best of three match, as Hedman strayed far tooregularly into the beds either side of the twenty that she was aiming for.Ashton by contrast seemed in control and hitting both the high scores and thenecessary doubles to win the legs.

Into the second set and Hedman opened better, taking thefirst leg as Ashton began to miss her opportunities and wasted the advantage ofher own throw, but her adversary roared back to take the second leg also againstthe darts of Hedman to draw level.

The third leg saw both ladies matching eachother’s scoring as the tension mounted. Hedman strained for the accuracy, knowingthat losing the leg would put her one leg away from an early dismissal from thecompetition but as the doubles were missed she took the leg. Leg four sawAshton open with 140 to pile the pressure back on to the number one seed andshe seemed the more secure in her throwing with consecutive 100 scores.

Hedmanresponded in kind, though, with a magnificent 152 checkout to take the leg andthe second set, keeping the tie alive!

The decisive thirdset started with Hedman on throw and hence starting favourite to clinch thematch, as the crowd delighted in a great start to this year’s competition. Legone saw a further break of the darts as Ashton finished on the bullseye. Shebettered that with an amazing 156 finish to put herself just one leg away fromthe next round and in doing so recorded the biggest finish ever in women’sWorld Championship history. Hedman was fighting for her very survival as Ashtonscored a solid ton to leave another finish but missed double top at the firstattempt. Hedman couldn’t capitalise and Ashton needed just one more dart on herreturn to the board to hit double top and take the match with a 3-0 set, inwhat was a great advert for the women’s game.