A Perfect 10?

Red Dragon Darts

Women’s darts has often witnessed the sceptical voices raised above those who can see a little past the end of their own noses. 

During the 50 years of Darts World Magazine we have progressed from the point where women were not even allowed into the area of play, through the time of women’s teams that were chiefly social ventures, and toward the fast approaching era where the women’s game will have a complete structure from junior to professional elite. 

At the same time as those able, and wishing to do so, can also compete with the men in the open category.

During each of these stages of progression there have been voices raised to scoff, mock or even to raise caution from genuinely held motives. Perhaps the most recent example was the thought that the PDC Women’s Series (WS) was a vehicle for one or two big names to book their high profile visits to Ally Pally and The Grand Slam each year and to get paid a few quid along the way.

Originally, poorly informed folk thought Fallon would walk every event. They reckoned without Mrs Ashton! So they widened their gaze to two and still suggested it would be boring etc. Still they were utterly wrong as a  teenager ripped through the field time and time again in the second half of 2022.

So of course those same siren voices predict that Miss Greaves will be unopposed for the next decade and start talking about ‘Taylor-like’ domination etc.

And yet, the final weekend of the 2023 season saw Tamworth’s Natalie Gilbert finally claim her first WS title, she had reached a final previously as well as countless quarter and semis, and, after only three full seasons, the ladies have produced their starter-for-ten.  

Lisa Ashton: Four-Time Women’s World Champion (WDF) claimed the first ever WS event as well as being the first (and so far only) female player to earn a Pro Tour Card at Q-School and compete on the open tour. The Lancashire Rose would dominate the first WS.

Deta Hedman: The stateswoman of Women’s darts, the Caribbean Queen claimed the second event of that very first weekend, and qualified for Ally Pally, to add another remarkable chapter to her incomparable career.

Fallon Sherrock: The Queen of the Palace managed to adapt to the new pressures of being the figurehead for the PDC Women’s  game and bagged the fourth event of the opening weekend.

Mikuru Suzuki: The back-to-back Lakeside Women’s Champion broke up what had threatened to become a monopoly for Fallon and Lisa in 2021. The Japanese won the twelfth and final WS of the season to remind those watching that The Miracle, another impressive World Champion, was not to be discounted.

Trina Gulliver: In a moment of true sporting justice the 10-time Women’s World Champion found a percentage of her best to write her name in the pages of the PDC by claiming event 5 of the 2022 season. After The Golden Girl’s well documented battles against illness and addiction over recent years, her triumph was enough to soften the hardest of hearts.

Lorraine Winstanley: The former World Master became the sixth winner of a WS defeating Rhian O’Sullivan to add event 10 of the 2022 season’s WS to her already formidable list of darting achievements.

Beau Greaves: There have been few debuts as impressive as the weekend Beau ‘N’ Arrow hit the WS. Four events, four wins a perfect weekend nor previously managed by any WS player. Not content though the WDF Women’s World Champion clean swept the next series as well and qualified for Ally Pally en route. Greaves started the next year banking the opening 2 events of the 2023 season meaning she managed a total of 10 successive wins and 70 WS matches before being defeated by Suzuki.

Robyn Byrne: The talented Irish woman had already been to the final and had begun to get a little of the ‘always the bridesmaid’ tag associated with her. However, she simply refused to accept that role and kept going until she grabbed her opportunity during the second batch of 2023 events going on to a top 6 position in the order of merit.

Rhian O’Sullivan: The Welsh woman had threatened to add her name to the list long before the day in 2023 when she finally did so. The Lakeside runner-up had also been second best on the WS and reached the later stage multiple times. Defeating Greaves in the final surely put any doubts, about finishing line fever, to bed!

Natalie Gilbert: The remarkable story of a stroke victim going from wheelchair bound to World Masters semi finalist. The Warwickshire thrower who claimed a maiden WS title at the last opportunity of 2023, had taken up darts to aid her balance and strength as she sought to regain her independence. Outside her unmissable backstory Gilbert is a hardworking extremely determined player who those who pay attention, including PDPA chief, and former world No.1, Peter Manley and Lisa Ashton herself had tipped for success!

The 11th Wonder: Stacy Bromberg

There may have been a perfect 10 Women’s Series winners and, even if you include the new Women’s World Matchplay, there are the same number of PDC Women’s title winners in their current incarnation. 

However, in 2011 the PDC held a Women’s World Championship. The championship was substantially floor based, being played out during a Pro Tour weekend, with the final in Blackpool during the Matchplay weekend.

A highly competitive event, for major prize money (£10k and a place at the Grand Slam of Darts) saw many of the best female players from around the globe including Deta Hedman and Irina Armstrong take to the oche.

Anastasia Dobromyslova was expected to triumph, but was defeated in the last 4 by a force of nature from the USA. Stacy Bromberg edged out Anna 4-3 and went on to defeat home nation favourite Tricia Wright 6-5 in the final to claim the first – and thus far only – PDC dedicated Women’s World Championship.

Sadly, Stacy is no longer with us, ‘The Wish Granter’ died in 2017 but her legacy of boundless charity work and larger than life darting excellence will live long in the memory of those who met her.


Images: PDC

Grab the current print issue 585 here  or a 50th Anniversary Darts World bundle 581 here 

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