Column #CM94 One of the best Women’s World Championship Finals: Trina Gulliver vs. Anastasia Dobromyslova

Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Column CM94
One of the best Women’s World Championship Finals: Trina Gulliver vs. Anastasia Dobromyslova

The final is not always the best match of a tournament but there were some World Championship finals which surely rate among the best matches in the history of darts.

I picked three and checked them out…

To break first ground – according to the motto “Ladies First” – here follows the final of the 2008 BDO Women’s World Championship.

It took until 2001 before the first BDO Women’s World Championship was played – with just four players. That quickly changed – in 2002 eight women took part.  By 2014 the number increased again, and sixteen players stood on the stage of the Lakeside Country Club in Frimley Green.

What never ever changed over all these years was the short format of the matches.  The players always complained best of three sets was much too short.

But what did change a little bit over the years was the significance of female darters and the television time for the Women’s World Championship.

At first, only the last few darts of the final were shown and by that time scarcely anybody still sat in front of their TV.  That change began to occur had at least a little bit to do with Anastasia Dobromyslova – and to be sure with the 2008 Women’s World Championship Final which entered the history books as one of the best women’s finals.

In 2008, the BDO Women’s World championships was played for the eighth time – and Trina Gulliver had won the event every time without problems. Often her opponent was her close friend, Francis Hoenselaar from the Netherlands – but Hoenselaar had lost every time.

But in 2008 all was different…

Russian Anastasia Dobromyslova had been a successful youth player who won the 2001 World Masters girl’s event and the 2001 and 2002 WDF Europe Cup Youth. As an adult she celebrated her first successes in 2006 when she won the British Open – and people began to take notice of the young, blond woman, who scored so well and was breathing new life into women’s darts.  In 2007 Dobromyslova qualified for the first time for the BDO World Championship but lost 0-2 in the semi-finals to Trina Gulliver.  During the year she won several titles – among them the England Open and British Open and secured (together with Irina Armstrong) the pairs title at the WDF World Cup in the Netherlands. For the World Championship she was seeded, as in the year before, as number four.

Trina Gulliver in 2007 had won, among other titles, the Dutch Open and in the World Masters reached the semi-finals. So, she looked in form as well for the World Championship.

But this year it was Francis Hoenselaar who was the number 1 seed – Gulliver was “only” seeded second.

Nevertheless, everybody was convinced Trina Gulliver would once again win the title – in keeping with the motto “The same procedure as every year.”

In the quarterfinals Gulliver competed against Welsh Julie Gore, who debuted that year.  It was no problem for Gulliver although she did lose one set. She won the other two – both 3-0 and had a match average of 78.33.

Dobromyslova met in the quarterfinals English Dee Bateman, who was a debutant as well, and had a hard fought first set which she came through 3-2 before she won the second set as well without losing a leg.  Her average was with 78.30 almost identical with Gulliver’s.

In the semi-finals Gulliver met Dutch Karin Krappen – a very experienced player, who reached the semi-finals in 2004 and 2009 as well. Gulliver defeated her 2-0 and with a slightly lower average. In each set she lost one leg to her opponent.

Dobromyslova played in the semi-finals against English Stephanie Smee who took only part in this World Championship and played her last tournament in 2014. Dobromyslova won without losing a leg as well 2-0 with almost the same average as in her first match.

And so, we had a final between the established and seemingly composed Englishwoman Trina Gulliver and the young, upcoming and girly Russian Anastasia Dobromyslova, who was foretold a rosy future.

Dobromyslova – who had commented after her defeat the year before that defeat made her angry and made her practice even more – looked well prepared for another Gulliver clash.

Gulliver opened the match with a 180, but it was Dobromyslova who kept her nerve, and she forced a deciding leg in the first set. Gulliver had the throw, but it was her opponent who reached a finish first after twelve darts while Gulliver was well behind. The Russian missed with her first set darts but in the end won the first set of the match – and Gulliver had lost a set in which she had the throw. The experienced Gulliver looked clearly nervous and just was not able to gain control of the match.

The first leg of the second set was a head-to-head race which Dobromyslova decided with a bullseye finish.  This spurred her on and she threw in the second leg her first 180 and outscored Gulliver once again. Again, she was so far ahead in a leg that it caused her problems, and she missed her first leg darts. Dobromyslova’s first throw in the last leg was a 140 and Gulliver – who urgently needed a high score was out of luck with a bouncer – she had hit with both her first two darts the triple 20 but the third dart landed so awkwardly in the same segment that the other two bounced out and landed on the floor. Instead of an 180 she only scored 60 points. She nevertheless found a way back into the leg but couldn’t hit the bullseye for her finish and Dobromyslova hit with her third darts the winning double.

It was a deserved win for the Russian. She averaged in the final ten points higher than her opponent.

But for the world of darts, it was really an upset that the “Golden Girl” was dethroned for the first time.

It was the end of an era and similar to Fallon Sherrock after her two wins in the PDC World Championship last year.  Dobromyslova was now in the limelight of the media.  And – not to forget either – for the very first time a woman not from England had won the BDO Women’s World Championship.

Since then, Gulliver won the title three more times while Dobromyslova was twice more the Women’s World Champion.

With a total of ten titles Gulliver holds the record – and she holds the record for the highest match and the overall tournament average.

In 2006, Gulliver won her semi-final match against Clare Bywaters with a 95.97 average and her overall tournament record average is 89.45 from 2001.

1n 2015, Lisa Ashton had in the quarterfinals against Gulliver a 90.18 average – which sits in the overall tournament average table just behind in Gulliver.

Gulliver’s tournament records will stand the test of time…

… after the end of the organisation there will be no more BDO Women’s World Championships.

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Charis Mutschler
The founder of Global Darts, darts journalist Charis Mutschler hails from Marbach, near Stuttgart, Germany. A regular at most major PDC tournaments, a lover of literature, dance and music and cats, Charis' popular writings about darts and its players often transcend the usual. She brings something unique to the chroniclers of the sport we all love.