Column #HR359 LADIES in SPOTLIGHT, but first…

Friday, July 22, 2022
Column HR359
LADIES in SPOTLIGHT, but first…

After a long wait, the ladies of darts get their own worldwide TV stage when the Winter Gardens opens its doors on Sunday afternoon (July 24) for the PDC Women’s Matchplay.  

It’s a quality field of 8 that have survived 12 events spread over 5 months.  They all deserve to be here.  Critics, of which there are many, will complain that some lady players are not included.  Unlike the World Darts Federation, the PDC bans no one – so those not here either didn’t play well enough to qualify or chose not to compete.

The ladies were met with great news when the PDC announced its commitment to ladies darts again in 2023. There will be a Women’s Matchplay in Blackpool next year.  To qualify, the ladies will have a 12-month window beginning in August 2022.  The Ladies Series has been expanded to include 24 events with a prize fund of £145,000 with £5,000 to the winner of each event.

When the first match kicks off, as we know from the Miller Report, the weather will be “hotter than a pepper patch” as etched in our memory by Nany Sinatra where her “Boots (were) made for Walking”.  The weather report calls for temperatures in the 70’s with rain and humidity punishing.

The winner will have to be able to withstand the heat, both in the air and presented by their fellow contestants and the added pressure being on the world TV stage. 

MEET THE LADIES  

#1 – Lisa Ashton is the #1 seed and rightfully so.  She secured 38 major titles while dominating the PDC women’s series.  In World Championships she’s 4-2 including a 3-1 win over Fallon Sherrock.  Her kryptonite seemed to be Anastasia Dobromyslova and Mikuru Suzuki and neither here.  Lisa Ashton dominated her probable opponent, Fallon Sherrock, 3-1 in the PDC Series.

#2 – Fallon Sherrock, like Lisa Ashton, also has 38 major titles.  Called “Queen of the Palace”, this year has not been stellar – although she has won 3 Women’s Series events but has not been the dominate player she was. Many think her play in many “exhibitions” with men has affected her play.  Historically however, #1 Ashton has her number.

#3 – Lorraine Winstanley is a quality player who typifies “a given day.”  She can be very good with 1 win and 4 semis in this year’s series.  Her win in June came against a depleted field.  She beat her first round draw (Rhian Griffiths) 5-4 in the semis on the way to her win.

#4 – Aileen de Graaf won the World Masters in 2015 beating Lisa Ashton 5-4 in final.  She has 5 semi-final and 2-runer up finishes.  de Graaf is ranked #10 in the WDF rankings.

#5 – Laura Turner exchanges her Sky PDC mike for the oche.  She reached two finals this year in the Women’s Series and lost both to Lisa Ashton 5-1 and 5-2.  Her record in big events is lacking.

#6 – Rhian Griffiths reached one semi and a final – where she lost to Lisa Ashton 5-2.  She has no major wins but is ranked #9 by the WDF.

#7 – Ireland’s Katie Sheldon has one semi appearance – and lost to Lisa Ashton 5-4.

#8 – Scottish lass Chloe O’Brien made it to a pair of semi-finals, losing both – to Rhian Griffiths 5-2 and Laura Turner 5-3.

FORMAT

The format calls for first round matches to be best of 7 with winners advancing to best of 9 semis and a best of 11 final.

First round: Best of 7

#1 Lisa Ashton vs #8 Chloe O’Brien.  Ashton has owned O’Brien this year, beating her twice 4-0 and 5-3.  Ashton strolls to the win.

#4 Aileen de Graaf vs. #5 Laura Turner.  Upset alert as Turner has been good when she appears.  She has a win over Sharrock (5-1) but lost her only meeting with de Graaf (1-4).  The Dutch lass will be favored.  She’s beatable. 

#2 Fallon Sherrock vs. #7 Katie Sheldon.  Sheldon did beat Sherrock 5-4 when she went to finals against Lisa Ashton, losing 5-2.  Sherrock’s the pick.

#3 Lorraine Winstanley vs #6 Rhian Griffiths.  These two didn’t play in top 8 of series this year.  Winstanley will advance.

Semi-finals: Best of 9 

#1 Lisa Ashton vs. #5 Laura Turner.  They met 3 times with Ashton prevailing 5-2, 4-1 and 4-1.  Ashton to finals.  

#2 Fallon Sherrock vs. #3 Lorraine Winstanley.  These two longtime rivals surprisingly have met just 3 times in the top 8 of Series events this year.  Sherrock has wins of 5-2 andv4-2 but lost to Winstanley in the first match of series 3-4.

Final

The final between Ashton and Sherrock will be like a “Battle at the OK Corral” as they play best of 11 without the dust and darts instead of guns.

The ODC is going out on the limb calling for a Sherrock win here – she comes from behind with a three dart out.

How about that?

Stay thirsty my friends.

 

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Howie Reed
The one and only Howie Reed (the Old Dart Coach) goes back decades with the legends of our sport - he knows where the skeletons are buried. Just ask any of the ADO and WDF old-timers! His widely popular column, Toeing the Oche, is a must-read.