Wayne Jones keeps up UK record

Wolverhampton darts player Wayne Jones will maintain his record of competing at every UK Open since it began in 2003.

Wayne Jones in action during the walk on during day five of the William Hill World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace, London (Steven Paston/PA Wire)
Wayne Jones in action during the walk on during day five of the William Hill World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace, London (Steven Paston/PA Wire)

‘The Wanderer’ is one of only three players to have achieved the feat – and will join Steve Beaton and two-time winner James Wade in the draw again.

This year’s tournament will also feature Lisa Ashton and Fallon Sherrock, with Ashton hoping other women will be afforded the same opportunities Sherrock has since breaking through at the World Championships.

“It is good for the ladies, it could have been any of us who won games that got the chances,” said 49-year-old Ashton. “It was just that it has been Fallon’s time, and she got it and what she has got out of it is brilliant.

“It is brilliant, whether it is Fallon or any lady it is fantastic. It just shows we are all ready to take them on and if more ladies get more exposure it shows we all can do it and we are all ready. I just hope more ladies get through and the opportunities they have given her, I hope they can give me and some other ladies. I am just going through with my tour card and doing it that way. If they offer us anything then absolutely.

“I just have to wait and see if they give me the opportunity, if not I will keep going with my tour card.

“It is in my hands, I have just got to play my game and show what I can do and if I get the win it just shows them that we are all ready.”

Ashton will get that chance this weekend as she takes part in the UK Open at Minehead, where she qualified automatically through her tour card.

She came through Q-School earlier this year and it is a feat she is proud of.

“I am absolutely proud. It is history-making,” she said. “No woman has ever done it, to actually make history is a dream come true.

“To actually show that women can compete against men is a massive achievement.

“I think I play better against the men, that’s nothing against the ladies, you know you have to play a higher standard, I always have done.

“I really looked forward to it and then when I got it it was a dream. Hopefully I can keep going, I know I have got two years at it so all I can do is progress higher and higher.

“It is different, completely different to what I am used to, but I am settling in to it slowly so I will just keep going and see how far I can get.

“It is a lot different, we play once a week now, I could have played once or twice a month, it is every week now.

“The standard is higher, the games are a lot longer and the set up is different. It is nice to know that I am playing every week. I am playing more darts now.

“Every week I am progressing and playing better darts and it is bringing my game up so hopefully if I keep going my levels will get higher.”

Ashton takes on Mike De Decker in the first round at Minehead on Friday.

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