Sick of the taunts: Lisa Ashton

Red Dragon Darts

Lisa Ashton will make her entrance into the 2021 William Hill World Darts Championship this evening in her attempt to claim the famous trophy pictured above. Recently she spoke to Phil Lanning for Darts World Magazine:

You have to make more noise than anybody else, you have to make yourself more obtrusive than anybody else, you have to fill all the papers more than anybody else, in fact, you have to be there all the time and see that they do not show you under if you are really going to get your reform realised.”

The words of Emmeline Pankhurst could well be attributed to the dramatic rise of ladies’ darts on the world stage during that spectacular few weeks in late December and January.

Pankhurst famously helped women get the right to vote, the likes of Fallon Sherrock and Lisa Ashton are putting women on the map in the sporting world. Sherrock, as Sky Sports commentator Rod Studd proclaimed “smashed the glass ceiling” when she beat Ted Evetts at the Alexandra Palace last December. Ashton, by contrast, is the least likely to shout from any rooftops. She’s more crash the pan than flash in the pan. When she won her third World Championship she turned down champers for “a brew and a ham butty”.

By design, she is the epitome of a northern powerhouse. A Bolton lass with gravy running through her veins, a Coronation Street accent, and hard as cobbles. That’s why the “women aren’t strong enough” jibes are undoubtedly the presumptions that really grind Ashton. When I questioned why that is said, it clearly fired-up her up.

She admitted: “It’s hard, very hard. It’s always been viewed as a man’s sport. It’s always been in the pub and the men playing.
“For women to breakthrough in the sport we’ve had to overcome hurdles. It’s always been said that women aren’t strong enough to compete with the men.

“But slowly we are breaking that down. It’s still hard, we are still classed as they don’t think we can do it. “We are always determined, we are going to do it. We are trying our best. We just need those people who knock us to give us time.

“It is annoying that we are considered weak. I don’t get it. I’m sick of those taunts.

“I’m the youngest and grew up with five brothers, I’ve always had to stand up for myself. I always tell them what they have to do.

“They say the women aren’t strong enough and I ask ‘why are they not’. They’ve got three darts, we’ve got three darts. It’s not about physically how we are built.
“We are mentally and physically strong enough. Just because we don’t shout the loudest about it, we think things through and then do it. We have to be heard.

“I’m doing that now on stage like Fallon has. I’m going to do it with this tour card, it’s only me in the men’s game at the minute. I still have to fight.

“I haven’t come into the tour to make the numbers up. I’m here to do my best and take you lot down. “I don’t think about the wider picture, I just look at what I can achieve in darts. When people ask you about what the effect on women is, that’s the only time you realise.

“All I think about is what we can do. It’s like Billie Jean King, she fought to get the ladies’ more money. It’s still worth fighting. “We are grateful that the PDC have still kept two places in the World Championship. Hopefully in time that will improve to double.

“The more opportunities we can get for ladies to play in the World Championship, it will open more doors for more ladies to make a huge impression on the biggest stage of all.” The PDC are certainly throwing open the doors for the women’s game. Ashton has her eye on a slice of history:

“They say the women aren’t strong enough and I ask ‘why are they not’. They’ve got three darts, we’ve got three darts. It’s not about physically how we are built.

There has been a groundswell of support for the women’s game since 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, 50, now reckons the ladies have to take this opportunity.

She said: “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 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 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, 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.


Words: Phil Lanning Featured Pic: L Lustig
Manscape offering Darts World readers 20% off in support of Darts World Issue 572

Original article appeared in Issue 571 of Darts World magazine subscribe:


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