Trailblazer Ashton eyeing elusive Alexandra Palace victory
Lancashire trailblazer Lisa Ashton has broken a host of records throughout her career, and she's hoping to create further history by claiming a first victory on the Alexandra Palace stage at this year's Cazoo World Darts Championship.

Ashton will become the first woman to feature in four World Darts Championships later this month, when she kicks off her campaign against Suffolk star Ryan Meikle on December 17. The four-time Women's World Champion will return to Ally Pally following another record-breaking campaign, which has seen her scoop seven Women's Series titles. The 52-year-old - who finished top of the 2022 Women's Series Order of Merit - is now bidding to cap off another successful season by claiming a first win in the sport's showpiece event.
Ashton has suffered successive first round defeats against Jan Dekker, Adam Hunt and Ron Meulenkamp in the capital, and she's desperate to break her duck against Meikle later this month.

"I just want to get that win up there now," admitted Ashton, who succumbed to Hunt in a dramatic five-set affair two years ago. "My form has been up and down this year. I've been picking my game up recently, and my scoring is coming back. "My finishing is coming back too, so fingers crossed it all clicks this time and I can get over that winning line."

Ashton has made a habit of creating history over recent years, becoming the first woman to win a PDC Tour Card at Qualifying School in January 2020. She was also the first female player to produce a ton-plus average in a televised event at the 2021 UK Open, dispatching Aaron Beeney in emphatic fashion. However, a win on the World Championship stage has so far proven elusive for Ashton, who will take on five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld if she overcomes Meikle.

"I'm happy. I'm 52 and I'm still qualifying for these major tournaments," added the four-time Grand Slam of Darts qualifier. "At the UK Open I hit the first 100+ average, so that's one tick in the box there. "I also did really well to win my Tour Card, so my number one target now is to get that first World Championship win."

This year's showpiece is set to be another landmark event for the women's game, with three women set to feature for the first time in World Championship history. Teenage sensation Beau Greaves and Women's World Matchplay winner Fallon Sherrock will join Ashton in the 2.5 million extravaganza, with Greaves winning eight consecutive Women's Series titles to qualify. The 18-year-old also posted a stunning 107 average - the highest on record by a female player - in victory over Sherrock in October, and Ashton believes the sport's strength in depth has never been greater.

"I think the women's game is in a fantastic place," continued the Lancashire veteran, a winner of 14 Women's Series titles since the tour's inception in 2020. "With the Women's Series, the standard has improved so much, and look at Beau - she has been a breath of fresh air. "She is playing phenomenal darts, and the levels are getting higher and higher. "It's nice to see more women entering the Women's Series now, and hopefully the standard keeps rising."

You can read the full interview with Lisa in the Cazoo World Darts Championship commemorative programme.

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