October 26, 2020, 14:22

Lisa Ashton says competing on the PDC Pro Tour is improving her game

Lisa Ashton says competing on the PDC Pro Tour is improving her game

Lisa Ashton enjoyed a breakthrough week at the PDC’s Autumn Series

Eight months after her heroics at Q-School, Lisa Ashton is settling into life on the PDC Pro Tour.

With her results improving since darts’ restart, ‘The Lancashire Rose’ feels she is moving in the right direction.

“Where I live, we’ve been in total lockdown, so all I’ve been doing is practising at home, improving on the things I need to pick up on,” Ashton, whose hometown is Bolton, told The Darts Show Podcast.

“I know my scoring has always been there. It’s just improving on my doubles, my checkouts, which have been paying off. So all I can do is keep going, improving on them.

“The way I’ve slowed down a bit, focused a bit more…it’s something that’s just happened, and it seems to suit the way I play, and the way I am playing at the minute. It’s not something I’ve worked on, it’s just something that’s naturally happened. So that makes it easier for me.

“The more practice, the more naturally it’s coming.”

Ashton is feeling more comfortable, mixing it with the sport’s elite

It was quite the Autumn Series for Ashton, as she produced her best form since winning her Tour Card earlier this year. She overcame world No 4 Michael Smith on the opening day, and reached the last 16 on Day Three, finding a consistent level throughout the week.

“After the [Summer] Series where I didn’t do well, I knew I had to pick myself up. And then when I played like I did, I was absolutely over the moon with it,” she said.

“It was hard with everything to get back into [the Summer Series]. Playing the best players in the world, I knew it was going to be tough, but I just had to keep going. I’ve learned a lot from it, and I knew what to expect. Going into this one I had to raise my game, but playing and practising, my game is improving every time we play.

“Playing the best players in the world, if I can push getting into the last 16, and just miss out on going further than that, it’s given me confidence. I know my game is improving every game I play, and every person I play. So if we’re doing it every day over five days, I’m learning more, improving more, and I’m getting match practice against the best players. So hopefully I can keep taking that forward and keep improving, ready for the next series coming.”

When she was drawn against Smith in the first round in Germany, Ashton feared her luck had deserted her.

“When I saw the draw, I was like ‘oh really?’. Michael had just come from the Premier League!” she laughed.

“But I thought, ‘right, he’s got three darts like me, I know I’ve been playing well, so just go for it and play like you can’.

“To take him out in the first game, it gave me a massive boost of confidence, to go on and say, ‘you can beat the other guys, just go on and do it’.”

Ashton is the first woman to win a PDC Tour Card

And echoing the thoughts of Fallon Sherrock, Ashton does not want her achievements noted due to her gender.

She said: “People keep saying, ‘it’s a woman’, but at the end of the day we’re playing just the same as the men. We don’t do the sexes thing, it’s just I’ve got a [Tour] Card and I’m playing darts just the same as everyone else.”

Women’s Series

The PDC has made a significant move this year, announcing its Women’s Series; a four-day event with Grand Slam and World Championship spots on offer for the winners.

“It’s fantastic news for the ladies game at the minute,” said the four-time BDO world champion.

“We’ve all been asking for it, and to be fair the PDC have given us this opportunity. I just hope the ladies back it up. You can’t ask for a better opportunity.

“You never know what happens on these days. And we’re doing [over] four tournaments, it’s fantastic. So I’m really looking forward to it, and I just hope the ladies back it up and they enjoy it.”

There are no shortage of big names in the mix, along with Ashton, Sherrock and reigning BDO world champion Mikuru Suzuki.

“The main name is the young girl, Beau Greaves, who has been playing really, really well. And she’s done brilliant on the ladies tour,” said Ashton.

“You’ve got the top end, you’ve still got Anastasia [Dobromyslova], Lorraine [Winstanley], Deta [Hedman], you’ve got Maria [O’Brien], you’ve still got Laura Turner who has been doing some online [tournaments], so there’s still quite a lot of them ladies who are still playing and coming through. So it could be wide open. It’s always on the day.”

But as the only PDC Tour Card holder, Ashton will be hoping to go there and win.

“It’s another tournament,” she said. “I’ve got to keep focused and play like I’m playing another Pro Tour. But a lot of people do put targets on you and expect you to do that. But what I’m doing is I’m going to go into it, as if it’s another Pro Tour hopefully, and I can try and claim a Grand Slam and a World Championship spot.”

Darts is back on Sky Sports in October with seven days of World Grand Prix action under way from October 6 and the Premier League Play-Offs from The O2 on October 22.

Source: skysports.com

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