Home favourite Jamie Hughes kept his 2019 Grand Slam of Darts dream alive as the Tipton-based ace secured an emphatic 5-1 victory over British Darts Organisation ladies no.1 Lisa Ashton.
Hughes, who came through Monday’s qualification event to secure his place at his third Grand Slam campaign fired in four maximums and a 174 en route. In terms of the result, Hughes still has a chance of progressing from Group E, but he’ll need to produce a five-star performance to defeat the World no.2 Rob Cross on Monday evening by a particular margin, depending how Dave Chisnall fares against Cross on Sunday evening.
Hughes admits that he’s just happy with the result regardless of the performance.
“I’m just happy with the result,” said Hughes. “In the group stages it’s all about results. The average wasn’t pretty, but that doesn’t put money in the bank.”
Hughes, who has known the five-time ladies world champion for many a year conceded that Ashton has much more to offer.
“I’ve known Lisa for many, many years. She’s got the game to beat anyone in the world on her day, believe me. I knew that I was in for a tough match and that’s why I had to dig deep. I hit a lot of 180’s at the right times.”
Knowing that a result was ‘massive’ in terms of getting out of Group E, Hughes told Live Darts: “I tried to approach it the same as I do for every game. I had a good start, settled myself down quite early and Lisa started playing well towards the end of the game.”
Hughes has been recovering from bursitis and admits that the worst is behind him now: “It’s okay now. There’s no pain really, but I haven’t really tested it to be fair. It all feels good, I went to the doctors recently and they put me on some good anti-inflammatories and they seem to have worked, so hopefully it keeps it away.”
In terms of preparing for Rob Cross on Monday evening, Hughes added: “I’ll prepare the same as always – get here a few hours early, get plenty of practise in and get that will to win.”