LISA ASHTON believes the ladies are ready to go up “another level” after the PDC announced their first-ever Women’s Series.
The PDC will stage a four-event Women’s Series in October, giving players the opportunity to qualify for the William Hill World Darts Championship as well as the Grand Slam of Darts.
Two places in the 2020/21 World Championship will be on offer for female players based on prize money won across the four events to be held on October 17-18 in Cannock.
There has been a groundswell of support for the women’s game since Fallon Sherrock’s two wins at the Worlds and Ashton becoming the first woman to gain a PDC tour card in January.
Three-time World Champion Ashton, 49, now reckons the ladies have to take this opportunity.
“It is brilliant news and it’s come at the right time for ladies darts to be fair. It’s nice that they’ve been listening to us and giving us this opportunity.
“I’m really looking forward to it and hopefully I can do well in them.
“It’s giving ladies darts another step, another level. We’ve always had the BDO and that’s the only competition we’ve ever had. We’ve never had the opportunity to go up another level.
“To be brought into the Professional Darts Corporation. This is the chance now and we’ve got to back it and prove what we’ve been saying. I know we are all determined to do it.
“We have had the BDO for years, but with this new progress we are starting from scratch. We’ve now got to push it forward.
“There’s younger girls coming into the Junior Darts Corporation now, we’ve got to build a structure for them now and into the PDC. Then they’ve got something to aim for.
“The money is massive there they can potentially win. Hopefully they can build it up and gain as much money as the men have got.”
The mini-tour in October will replace the two separate qualifying tournaments for the World Championship which have been staged over the past two years, offering £20,000 prize money in total across the four events.
Entry will be £25 per player per event, and the PDC Women’s Series will be open to all female players aged 16 and above.
Ahead of the four PDC Women’s Series events, a separate, free-to-enter Grand Slam of Darts Qualifier will be staged on Friday October 16, offering one place in November’s tournament.
Ashton added: “The way I’m looking at it is that I’m focusing on myself because it’s a new chapter in my life. I just want to be so successful.
“But I want to keep proving what ladies darts is all about and what our levels can go to. Then when I do retire hopefully I have left a legacy for young girls to look at and know they can do this and follow in my footsteps.”
Picture by Taylor Lanning.