Lisa Ashton made history by becoming the first woman to secure a PDC Tour Card through Qualifying School as she…
Lisa Ashton made history by becoming the first woman to secure a PDC Tour Card through Qualifying School as she prevailed alongside a further 21 players on the final day of action.
Four-time Women’s World Champion Ashton will compete on the PDC ProTour for the next two years after clinching the twelfth and final qualification place on the UK Q School Order of Merit for a ground-breaking achievement.
Ashton’s success follows on from Fallon Sherrock’s historic run to the Last 32 of the recent World Championship, underlining the strength of the women’s game and marking a new era in PDC Darts.
Ashton, who starred in the 2018/19 World Championship and 2019 Grand Slam, had to endure a nervous wait after losing 5-2 to Justin Smith in her second game of the day resulting in no points being added to her Order of Merit tally.
However, results over the course of the day meant that Ashton’s nine points, the bulk of which were won in her run to the last eight on Day Two, were enough to secure her place on the lucrative PDC circuit for the first time.
Ashton was one of six players tied on nine points, but she and Darren Penhall held the advantage in number of legs won over the four days to take the final two qualification spots.
“I am so, so happy to finally get my Tour Card,” said Ashton, who missed out by one point at 2019 Q School.
“I was sat there all day with people trying to work out if I had qualified so I just said ‘tell me at the end, I can’t deal with the stress!
“So when I found out I’d done it, that was a great moment.
“I want to play all the tournaments I can. I’m going to have a damn good go at whoever I play, they need to be ready.
“To come through a field of over 500 men, I couldn’t be any happier.
“But I know I’ve got more in the tank and now I’m going to take my dreams wherever I can.”
A dramatic final day of action in Wigan and Hildesheim saw both UK and European Q Schools reach their climax as 22 players joined the nine previous automatic winners from the opening three days in earning two-year Tour Cards from a field of more than 800 players.
Two-time BDO World Champion Scott Waites will compete on the PDC circuit for the first time after winning his Tour Card outright on the final day along with Welshman Nick Kenny.
Having struggled on the opening three days of Q School, former Grand Slam winner Waites found his form on the final day, culminating in a 5-0 whitewash of 17-year-old Irish sensation Keane Barry in their Tour Card decider.
“To do this is amazing,” said Waites. “I knew I had to come here today and just win it outright, and I’ve played my game all day.
“Keane is a fantastic player so to beat him 5-0 is amazing, but with a bit of experience he’s going to be an awesome player.
“The time has never been right for me to move over before but now I think it is right to have a go so let’s see what happens.
“I’m going to put a lot of practice in now, this is going to give me the ‘get up and go’ I need.”
Two-time Development Tour winner Kenny will also be a new addition to the PDC circuit after he saved his best performance till last as he averaged 110.5 to defeat Scott Taylor 5-2 in their Tour Card play-off.
Joining Ashton in winning Tour Cards via the UK Q School Order of Merit are 11 players headed up by 2012 PDC World Championship runner-up Andy Hamilton, who racked up 12 points.
Junior Darts Corporation Chairman Steve Brown was unable to attend the final day of Q School due to JDC-related commitments in China, but his runs on the first two days were enough to ensure a return to the PDC Tour after a five-year absence.
Brisbane Masters champion Damon Heta was successful in his first Q School appearance and he will be joined on the circuit by fellow-Australian and surprise-package Penhall.
Scottish duo Ryan Murray and William Borland are also new names on tour, along with Wigan’s Martin Atkins.
Adam Hunt, Alan Tabern and Wayne Jones all secured immediate returns after losing their Tour Cards at the end of 2019, while Peter Jacques returns after a one-year absence.
At European Q School, Germany’s Steffen Siepmann booked his place on the PDC Tour for the first time by defeating Wesley Harms 5-3 in the Day Four final in Hildesheim.
However, two-time BDO Championship semi-finalist Harms did enough over the four days to earn a PDC Tour Card for the first time.
“It has been a really tough four days,” Harms admitted.
“My goal was to make the quarter-final every time but after I went out in the last 32 on the first day I was worried, but my last day made up for it.
“Everything will be new for me but I am looking forward to playing in the PDC for the first time.”
Harms’ fellow-Dutchmen Derk Telnekes and Martijn Kleermaker also secured Tour Cards for the first time, while Dirk van Duijvenbode won back his card at the first time of asking.
Sweden’s Daniel Larsson, Croatia’s Boris Krcmar and Poland’s Krzysztof Kciuk also won Tour Cards for the first time via the European Q School Order of Merit.
Former UK Open finalist Wes Newton was among four players on nine points to miss out on a Tour Card by virtue of legs won, while the likes of Jim Williams, Scott Mitchell, Paul Nicholson, Fallon Sherrock and Seigo Asada also fell short.
All 31 PDC Tour Card winners will get their first taste of the PDC ProTour in 2020 at Players Championships One and Two which will take place at The Barnsley Metrodome from February 8-9.
UK Qualifying School Day Four Results (Last 32 onwards)
Wayne Jones 5-2 Ian Mcfarlane
Thomas Lovely 5-2 Terry Roach
Scott Taylor 5-3 Matthew Finch
Alexander Morrison 5-1 John O’Shea
Darren Johnson 5-2 Adam Mould
Stephen Burton 5-4 Carl Hamilton
Darren Penhall 5-0 Jamie Clark
Nick Kenny 5-2 Dave Prins
Matthew Dennant 5-3 Peter Hudson
Wes Newton 5-1 Alan Tabern
Graham Usher 5-4 Stuart White
Keane Barry 5-0 Lewis Williams
Connor Scutt 5-4 William Borland
Scott Waites 5-3 Scott Mitchell
Adam Hunt 5-2 Leonard Gates
Steve Hine 5-2 Damien O’Driscoll
Wayne Jones 5-4 Thomas Lovely
Scott Taylor 5-3 Alexander Morrison
Stephen Burton 5-0 Darren Johnson
Nick Kenny 5-3 Darren Penhall
Matthew Dennant 5-0 Wes Newton
Keane Barry 5-1 Graham Usher
Scott Waites 5-3 Connor Scutt
Adam Hunt 5-4 Steve Hine
Scott Taylor 5-1 Wayne Jones
Nick Kenny 5-1 Stephen Burton
Keane Barry 5-2 Matthew Dennant
Scott Waites 5-4 Adam Hunt
Nick Kenny 5-2 Scott Taylor
Scott Waites 5-0 Keane Barry
European Qualifying School Day Four Results (Last 32 onwards)
Steffen Siepmann 5-3 Radek Szaganski
Zoran Lerchbacher 5-4 Manfred Bilderl
Gino Vos 5-3 Adam Gawlas
Jose Justicia 5-3 Krzysztof Kciuk
Wesley Plaisier 5-4 Richard Veenstra
Lukasz Sawicki 5-2 Andrew Beeton
Danny van Trijp 5-4 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
Dennis Nilsson 5-2 Gabriel Pascaru
Wesley Harms 5-4 Ronny Huybrechts
Boris Krcmar 5-1 Szabolcs Nemeth
Kevin Blomme 5-2 Marco Obst
Michael Unterbuchner 5-4 Martijn Kleermaker
Dirk van Duijvenbode 5-3 Willem Mandigers
Derk Telnekes 5-0 Roemer Mooijman
Cody Harris 5-4 Christian Kist
Daniel Larsson 5-2 Christian Kallinger
Steffen Siepmann 5-4 Zoran Lerchbacher
Jose Justicia 5-4 Gino Vos
Lukasz Sawicki 5-0 Wesley Plaisier
Danny van Trijp 5-3 Dennis Nilsson
Wesley Harms 5-3 Boris Krcmar
Kevin Blomme 5-3 Michael Unterbuchner
Dirk van Duijvenbode 5-3 Derk Telnekes
Cody Harris 5-0 Daniel Larsson
Steffen Siepmann 5-4 Jose Justicia
Danny van Trijp 5-4 Lukasz Sawicki
Wesley Harms 5-0 Kevin Blomme
Dirk van Duijvenbode 5-2 Cody Harris
Steffen Siepmann 5-1 Danny van Trijp
Wesley Harms 5-1 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Steffen Siepmann 5-3 Wesley Harms