Lisa Ashton and Fallon Sherrock suffered first-round defeats as the UK Open got underway in Minehead on Friday.
The pair became the first women to participate in the UK Open in more than 10 years, Sherrock coming through the regional qualifiers and Ashton by virtue of her status as a PDC Tour card hold which she secured at Q-School in January.
Anastasia Dobromyslova played in the tournament in 2008 and 2009 and more than a decade on, Ashton was first, going down 6-2 to Mike de Dekker before Sherrock took centre stage against Kyle McKinstry – but the Northern Irishman’s finishing proved decisive in a 6-1 win.
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Sherrock, won through a field of over 250 players in Wolverhampton just to secure her UK Open debut, after starring with her historic wins at the World Championship and a Premier League draw with Glen Durrant last month.
Swapping her trademark pink for the red of the Riley’s qualifiers, Sherrock was forced to dig deep early as a nerveless McKinstry made light of his opponent who brings a raucous atmosphere with her.
The Village Man hit three of his first four darts at double to open up a 3-0 lead as Sherrock, usually so adept in taking the chances that come her way, frittered away a couple of opportunities.
The Queen of the Palace finally got on the board to trail by two only for McKinstry to reel off the next two, a brilliant 112 finish punishing two more missed darts at double from Sherrock before the man from Tandragee applied the finishing touch with a spectacular 128 finish.
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A 160 player field assembled in Minehead less than 24 hours after Thursday’s Premier League action in Exeter and after play got underway on the outside boards at 11am, Ashton opened the action on Stage One against Mike de Dekker.
The Lancashire Rose was left playing catch-up against the Dutchman who started fast against the four-time women’s world champion and in a flash was 3-0 in front before Ashton pinned double 12 to get a leg on the board.
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