"We're not scared of the men, we'll have a good go" - Lisa Ashton almost had it 7 months ago

"We're not scared of the men, we'll have a good go" - Lisa Ashton almost had it

"Hopefully I've done ladies proud."

There was a moment on Thursday night when Ally Pally paid attention.

Now, that doesn't often happen. If you look at the crowd in the background of the World Darts Championship, they're having the time of their lives but a lot of them aren't even facing in the right direction never mind glued to what's happening above.

There's just a murmur throughout, a constant chatter, laughs and the sound of glasses being slammed and chants of boys on stag dos. There's pushing and shoving, singing, arms being waved, cameras being chased and the idea that being in the crowd is the why you came in the first place.

There's always a buzz and, surely enough, when it gets down to it, everyone eventually comes back to the oche because, at its best, darts is one of the most gripping sports around.

But it's not always about the darts.

On Day 1 of the 2019 PDC World Darts Championship, Lisa Ashton made them take notice.

Ranked number five in the BDO Women's game, the English player has been cleaning up in 2018. She won the Finder Masters, she won the World Masters and she won the World Championship for a fourth time - and a second year in a row.

She booked her place in the biggest event of the year in Alexandra Palace on merit and, for a while, she was looking like she was about to book her place in the second round too.

After Ashton took the first set, Jan Dekker from the Netherlands clean swept her in the second but, despite going two legs up in the third set, Ashton pegged him right back and the anticipation in the place as she stepped up to checkout and make a right game of this was palpable.

Dekker is ranked 44th in the world and reached the last 32 in last year's competition.

He was made to sweat to firstly take the lead and then to finally see off Ashton who had the crowd in her corner.

After Day 1, Lisa Ashton holds the current highest checkout alongside champion Rob Cross. She finished a 121 to bring the fans who weren't already dancing to their feet and, in that first set that she won, she was averaging a phenomenal 107.

She couldn't maintain the pace and regrets not seeing it out but, in her interview afterwards, she explained what this could do for ladies darts:

"Hopefully it takes ladies darts forward," she said.

"To show we're all playing well but we're not scared of the men, we will give them a good go.

"And hopefully I've done ladies proud."

On Monday night, Anastasia Dobromyslova returns to the championship where she takes on Ryan Joyce in round one before Raymond van Barneveld makes his first appearance of the tournament.