Female Darts Players: Redefining The World Of Darts

Female Darts Players: Redefining The World Of Darts

There are a lot of amazing female darts players even though at first glance it might not look that way. The history-making exploits of Fallon Sherrock at the 2020 PDC World Darts Championship saw her become the first woman to beat a man in the biggest tournament in the world of darts.

But even before ‘The Queen of the Palace’ won on the Alexandra Palace stage, ladies’ darts has a long and extensive history, with the likes of 10-time world champion Trina Gulliver and the legendary Deta Hedman paving the way for the women darts players coming through today.

Here's our guide to some of the key women that are redefining the world of darts. In this article we will look back through some of the history of women in the darting world, as well as a look at the current women’s darts scene and profile some of the most famous professional female darts players competing at the top of the game right now.

Beau Greaves

A Brief History of Ladies Darts in the UK

There are many female dart players in professional darts now, but that was not always the case. It was not until 2001 that the British Darts Organisation (BDO) staged a Women’s World Championship for the first time, whilst the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) opened up now regular spots in their own World Championship in 2018.

Back in the 1930s, darts attracted the attention of women in the UK, when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth I visited Slough Community Centre and played a brief game of darts. The date was December 17, 1937 when the King and Queen had a game of darts, throwing three darts each. The Queen threw first and scored 21 points and the King scored 19 points, so the Queen won the game by two points.

The next day a photograph of the Queen playing darts appeared in the national newspapers and sparked lots of interest from women wanting to play the game themselves.

Queen Playing Darts

The darts craze lasted right up until World War Two, before the game would spread across Europe as ex-patriots and servicemen established their own darts clubs where they had been stationed during the war. These clubs were predominantly male with any female participation attracting headlines for the next few decades.

In 1958, the National Darts Association of Great Britain (NDAGB) held its first women’s pairs competition, won by Joan Adams and Rose Branham, of the Workers Club, in Kings Lynn. A women’s individual competition was then staged for the first time in 1967 and was won by Marjorie Drabbie, of the Marston Moor Club, in Chesterfield.

As darts started to attract television interest in the 1970s, the appearance of a female darts player would be few and far between. The formation of the BDO in 1973 would lead to more women-only tournaments being staged, whilst the popular News of the World Championship would not follow suit with a separate event for female players until 1989.

In 2001, the BDO launched a female darts players World Championship, which was won by England’s Trina Gulliver. Whilst Gulliver would dominate the competition’s early years, winning nine of the first 11 stagings at the Lakeside, and eventually a 10th in 2016, more players would emerge from around the world and win the title to become the best female dart player. Russia’s Anastasia Dobromyslova joined the roll of honour in 2008, followed by Francis Hoenselaar, from the Netherlands, and then Japan’s Mikuru Suzuki to showcase the global appeal of darts for female players.

The emergence of the PDC, and with it a professional darts circuit, has led to an increase in both exposure and opportunities for women in darts. In 2019, Fallon Sherrock made headlines worldwide with her two victories in the PDC World Championship, before Lisa Ashton became the first female dart player to win a PDC tour card at Q-School in 2020 and competed against the world’s best on the professional tour for the next two years.

Women’s Darts Ranking

Fallon Sherrock

There are now more opportunities than ever for a young female darts player to play the game. Off the back of Fallon Sherrock’s success at Alexandra Palace, the PDC launched the Women’s Series in 2020, which includes a number of female-only tournaments that also offers several invites to the organisation’s biggest events, such as the Grand Slam of Darts and World Championship. Many of the famous female darts players regularly compete in the Women’s Series, including Fallon Sherrock, Lisa Ashton and Deta Hedman.

Beau Greaves finished top of the Women’s Series Order of Merit in 2023, after pocketing £29,400 across the 24 events held during the season. The top eight players during a 12-month period also qualify for the Women’s World Matchplay – a one-day event held at the Winter Gardens, in Blackpool, and screened live on Sky Sports.

Alongside the Women’s Series, female players are also eligible to earn money towards the PDC Order of Merit, with the prize money won by the players that qualify for the Grand Slam and World Championship both counting towards the main world rankings. Women can also enter the annual Qualifying School and try and win one of the two-year PDC tour cards available to join the professionals in the ProTour events.

Meanwhile, the World Darts Federation (WDF) also has its own women’s rankings, based on results from their own ranking events. At the start of 2024, Beau Greaves held a strong lead in top spot having won the 2022 and 2023 stagings of the WDF Women’s World Championship.

A New Market

The growing presence of women in darts has also opened up a new market for female darts products. Our ladies darts collection includes the signature darts used by many of the top women’s players in the game, who have their own darts designed by well-established brands such as One80 and Dynasty.

The darts used by the top female stars in the game are also used by men too as they are good quality darts, with lots of steel tip darts made from premium materials such as tungsten. As female players tend to be shorter in height they will usually opt for a lighter dart, but that is not always the case. For example, Fallon Sherrock uses a 23g dart which is the same weight that PDC professional Damon Heta has for his darts. It is important to find a dart that suits your own game and personal style, and the signature darts of some of the top female players will be available in several different weights to cater for more players.

The Best Female Darts Players

The strength in depth in the ladies game continues to grow each year with new names emerging and showcasing their talents. Below we have highlighted the women who have garnered attention for their dedication to the game along with their own personal achievements over the years.

The list below include players who have shone on the big stage, winning World Championships or achieving milestones in the women’s game with notable victories, as well as players who have forged legendary careers with their success and longevity in the game.

Lisa Ashton

Lisa Ashton

Lisa Ashton is a British female darts player regarded as one of the best ever given her success in the women’s game and in the ranks of the PDC. The Bolton-born star first rose to prominence in 2008 when she won the Zuiderduin Masters on her debut, before following up that victory by winning the 2011 World Masters.

‘The Lancashire Rose’ narrowly missed out on a first World Championship when she lost in the final at Lakeside in 2013, but went one better 12 months later as she lifted the first of her four world titles in the women’s game. Ashton would go on to triumph at the Lakeside three more times, in 2015, 2017 and 2018, leaving only Trina Gulliver (10 titles) ahead of her in the roll of honour.

Born on August 27, 1970, Ashton celebrated her 50th birthday in 2020, which was also the year she made history at Q-School. The four-time world champion became the first female player to win a PDC tour card at Q-School, with her success in January 2020 earning her a two-year tour card to play on the professional circuit.

Now with a career haul of more than 100 titles, Ashton continues to regularly compete on the PDC Women’s Series, alongside the World Seniors and WDF circuits. Shop our Lisa Ashton collection for her signature darts and replica playing shirts from Legend Darts.

Fallon Sherrock

Fallon Sherrock

December 17, 2019 is a date that will forever be etched into the darts history books as the date that a woman first beat a man in the PDC World Championship. Fallon Sherrock MBE’s memorable 3-2 victory against Ted Evetts at Alexandra Palace sparked a media frenzy rarely seen in the darting world.

Soon after that win the Milton Keynes-based player adopted one of the most famous female darts players nicknames and is now introduced on stage as ‘The Queen of the Palace.’ Born on July 2, 1994, Sherrock celebrates her 30th birthday in 2024 and remains one of the most instantly recognisable players in darts.

Sherrock’s first breakthrough came on the BDO circuit when she reached the final of the Women’s World Championship, then at the age of just 20. Her major title breakthrough followed soon after with victories in the 2015 Zuiderduin Masters and the 2018 BDO World Trophy.

Now with 75+ tournament wins on her darting CV, Sherrock continues to achieve more milestones for women playing in the PDC system. After her two victories at Alexandra Palace, ‘The Queen of the Palace’ went on to reach the final of the Nordic Darts Masters and the quarter-finals of the Grand Slam of Darts in 2021 – both firsts for a female player. Check out our Fallon Sherrock collection for the 2023 Women’s World Matchplay champion’s signature Dynasty darts.

Aileen de Graaf

Aileen de Graaf

With her 75+ titles to her name, Aileen de Graaf is a fierce competitor in the women’s game and has the resumé to back it up. Born on April 25, 1990, the Dutchwoman has been mixing it with the best female players for more than a decade now, reaching her first major final at the Zuiderduin Masters back in 2011.

De Graaf would go on to reach the final at the Hotel Zuiderduin in four consecutive years, from 2011 to 2014, picking up the title in 2013 and finishing as runner-up on the other three occasions. Her biggest success to date came in 2015 when she beat Lisa Ashton in a last-leg decider to lift the prestigious World Masters title.

In more recent years her title joy has been on home soil in the Netherlands, winning the Dutch Open in both 2020 and 2023. A regular face in the TV events, de Graaf has also enjoyed runs to the finals of the 2022 Women’s World Matchplay and 2023 WDF Women’s World Championship.

Deta Hedman

Deta Hedman

Deta Hedman is one of the pioneers in the women’s game and has won a staggering 230+ titles during her career. ‘The Heart of Darts’ was born in Jamaica on November 14, 1959 before moving to the UK in 1973. She was then introduced to darts by her older brother and was soon playing competitively for her local super league team in Essex.

Hedman reached the World Masters final for the first time in 1990, before winning the title four years later in 1994. Although she currently does not have a World Championship on her CV, the World Masters was seen as the biggest tournament for female players up until the BDO started a World Championship for the ladies in 2001.

After taking a five-year break from darts in 1997, Hedman returned in 2002 and started competing in the PDC. She made history as the first woman to beat a man in a major televised tournament when she beat Aaron Turner and Norman Fletcher in the early rounds of the 2005 UK Open. Another retirement, due to work commitments, followed shortly after before Hedman’s next comeback saw her playing in the BDO system in 2009.

‘The Heart of Darts’ would go on to appear in three World Championship finals at Lakeside, in 2012, 2014 and 2016, and reach the summit of the women’s rankings, whilst also racking up titles on the BDO, and then WDF, circuits. In late 2020, Hedman qualified for the PDC World Championship for the first time, edging out Fallon Sherrock on legs won in the inaugural Women’s Series to earn a debut at Alexandra Palace. Shop our Deta Hedman collection for her signature darts and flights.

Anastasia Dobromyslova

Anastasia Dobromyslova

Anastasia Dobromyslova is another trailblazer in ladies darts and has the trophy cabinet to back it up, having won three BDO World Championships amongst her 70+ career titles. Born in Russia on September 26, 1984, Dobromyslova started playing darts from a young age and enjoyed instant success on home soil winning several Russian National Championships.

After making her World Championship debut in 2007, where she reached the semi-finals, ‘From Russia With Love’ ended Trina Gulliver’s dominance at Lakeside a year later, beating the unbeaten champion 2-0 in the final to become only the second winner in the tournament’s history.

Dobromyslova then started to compete on the PDC circuit and in 2009, making headlines with a victory against Vincent van der Voort in the group stage of the Grand Slam of Darts. It was only the second time in history that a woman had beaten a man in a PDC major on television.

After a four-year absence, Dobromyslova returned to the Lakeside and regained her title, beating Deta Hedman 2-1 in the final. ‘From Russia With Love’ then defended her title in 2013 to become a three-time women’s world champion. She went on to complete the set of BDO majors with successes at the World Masters and World Trophy, further outlining her stature as one of the all-time greats in the ladies game. Check out the Anastasia Dobromyslova collection for her signature darts and flights.

Beau Greaves

Beau Greaves

Beau Greaves is quickly establishing herself as one of the best ever female darts players and is widely regarded as the best in the world right now. Born in Doncaster on January 9, 2004, ‘Beau ‘n’ Arrow’ only celebrated her 20th birthday at the start of 2024 but has already won virtually everything there is to win in the ladies game.

Greaves showed her potential from an early age, cleaning up on the girls circuit before making the jump to the women’s events in the BDO in 2019, then as a 15-year-old and soon lifting silverware. In 2020, she became the youngest player to compete in the BDO Women’s World Championship, where she narrowly lost out to the then reigning champion Mikuru Suzuki in the semi-finals.

After a break during the pandemic, the Women’s World Championship returned to the Lakeside in 2022, now under the WDF banner, and Greaves made more history as she won the title, and at the age of 18 becoming the youngest ever winner. She would then go on an astonishing 70-game winning run on the PDC Women’s Series to secure a debut at the PDC World Championship at the end of 2022.

Greaves continued to dominate the women’s game in 2023, winning the Women’s World Matchplay on her debut, before successfully retaining her title at the Lakeside to become a back-to-back women’s world champion. An impressive first appearance at the Grand Slam of Darts saw her beat Ricardo Pietreczko and narrowly lose out to Nathan Aspinall and Damon Heta, finishing just one leg short of topping her group and qualifying for the knockout stages. Shop the Beau Greaves collection for her signature One80 darts.

Mikuru Suzuki

Mikuru Suzuki

Few players have made as quick an impact in the women’s game as Mikuru Suzuki. After spending many years playing soft tip darts in Asia, ‘Miracle’ won through the qualifiers to book a debut in the BDO World Championship for the start of 2019, which she would go on to win without even dropping a set.

Born in Japan on February 5, 1982, Suzuki’s successful first trip to Lakeside saw her whitewash Lisa Ashton, Sharon Prins, Maria O’Brien and Lorraine Winstanley to become the first player from outside Europe to win a women’s world title. The following year Suzuki retained her crown, this time at The O2, with a victory over Ashton in the final.

In between those two World Championship titles, Suzuki would also qualify for the PDC World Championship, narrowly losing out in a deciding set to James Richardson on her debut at Alexandra Palace. In 2023, she ended the 70-match winning run of Beau Greaves in the Women’s Series and went on to also reach the final of the Women’s World Matchplay on her debut.

Suzuki won three Women’s Series titles in 2023, following on from her first victory in 2021, to book a return to Alexandra Palace. Well known for her ‘Baby Shark’ walk on, she remains an immensely popular player in the game and still regularly competes on the Women’s Series and WDF tours.

The Future of Women’s Darts

We hope this article has given you an overview of some of the notable female darts players in the game right now. If there are any other players you would like to see talked about, please get in touch with us via our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter/X and let us know.

The world of darts is thriving at the moment so we can expect to see many more women emerge onto the scene in the future. The likes of Trina Gulliver, Deta Hedman and Fallon Sherrock have blazed a trail for more talented players to make a name for themselves and compete for the biggest titles in the ladies game.

Pictures: Chris Sargeant/Tip Top Pics/PDC

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