REDDITCH darts star Zoe Jones will grace the 2015 BDO World Darts Championship on the opening day of the event at the Lakeside Country Club in Surrey.
This year the famous competition is being broadcast on both the BBC and BT Sport and Jones will be in action as the drama unfolds on Saturday, January 3.
The 22-year-old Easemore Road resident is the number seven seed for the women’s singles event and has drawn the impressive qualifier Sarah Brent from Nottinghamshire.
This is the pair’s first appearance at Lakeside in the World Championship and Jones is looking to secure a prestigious victory on the back of a very impressive year.
Over the past six months Jones has reached seven semi-finals, finished runner-up in the Swedish and Belgium Opens and won the England Matchplay for the second time in three years, beating former world champions Anastasia Dobromyslova and Trina Gulliver on the way to the title.
After defeating nine-time world champion Gulliver 6-1 in the final, Jones did not stop there as she went on to win the Turkish Open a month later.
Jones, who has also been winning numerous doubles titles along the way, said she is playing the best darts she has ever played at the moment and believes there is more to come.
‘The Pink Panther’ said: “I’m becoming more consistent with my game and it’s starting to show in my results recently.”
Jones plays county darts for Worcestershire and last season went unbeaten, winning nine out of nine whilst clinching all nine lady of the match awards and finishing fourth in the ladies’ averages out of hundreds of ladies playing in the 66 counties in the BICC.
After nearly four years on solely the senior tour and two near misses, Jones has finally made it to the biggest stage of all. Last year she only missed out by one point, which was a bitter pill to swallow for the rising star.
“After missing out narrowly last year, I was determined to get there this year and I managed it by a large margin.” added Jones.
World number one could await
If the Redditch ace gets past her first opponent, she could face world number one and three-time Lakeside champion Dobromyslova in the quarter-finals, but the Russian herself has a very difficult opening game against the talented and experienced German international Irina Armstrong.
Jones has played Dobromyslova several times over the last six months and enjoyed some fantastic matches, with most going the distance and the head-to-head score being 4-3 to the Russian, so a last eight meeting would be one to relish.
Not one to tempt fate, Jones said: “I’m very excited at the prospect of playing Ana, she’s the best in the world at the moment, but I have a difficult first match so I am just concentrating on the game against Sarah first.”
Jones will be going to the grand stage in Lakeside with her father Mark, mother Nicky and big brother Matt, along with other family members and people who have supported her rise through the ranks of ladies’ darts.
She has played on the Lakeside stage twice before – once in the Gold Cup pairs this year with Worcestershire county team-mate Kim Jones and when winning the singles two years ago – but she knows with the first day being a sell-out and playing in front of a packed crowed it is going to be totally different, especially in front of potentially millions of people watching at home.
However, given her current form, the two-time World Masters youth champion and Europe singles and doubles champion at under 18s level has every reason to be optimistic.
She has played for England for three years as a youth and this year was called up to play for England for the seniors, which has been her biggest achievement to date.
Dad Mark would like to thank everyone who has helped his daughter over the last few years with sponsorship money, as it is difficult to send Zoe to all the competitions on his salary alone as owner and director of the family business HQ Decorators.
Zoe also would like to thank people who have helped over the last few years and especially her parents and brother for supporting her since she took up the game nearly seven years ago.
“It may have cost my family a lot in time and money, but now I have the chance to give back to them and prove that I am one of the best in the world.” added Jones.
“If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have made it to the most famous of stages and I can’t wait.
“I hope the rest of Redditch can get behind me and show their support as this means the world to me, and I hope I do you all proud, from the supporters to everyone I know in the darts leagues around the area.”
Anyone interested in sponsoring Zoe can contact Mark Jones on 01527 61183.