By Liam Moakes 17/07 Updated: 18/07 10:52
REDDITCH darts star Zoe Jones enjoyed her finest moment on the oche yet when she won the BDO Gold Cup ladies' singles event at the Lakeside Country Club in Frimley Green.
The Gold Cup is one of the most prestigious competitions in the BDO calendar and has been going for over 20 years, whilst it is also the only other event held at the Lakeside other than the World Championships.
Nineteen-year-old Jones bagged her biggest scalp of the tournament when she defeated Russia's two-time and current world champion Anastasia Dobromyslova in the semi-final before going on to clinch glory in the final against Norfolk's Dawn Standley.
The Gold Cup sees all counties in England, Wales and Scotland hold play-offs to determine ladies' and men's singles and doubles champions and these winners go to the Lakeside in a bid to be crowned overall champion.
Jones' first match saw her up against Derbyshire's county qualifier Joanne Oldershaw and the Worcestershire ace hit scores of 100, 140 and 96 to take a 2-1 lead before scores of 100 and 180 in the fourth leg helped seal a 3-1 victory.
In the second round Jones took on Surrey's England international Apylee Jones and, after going a leg down, started going through the gears to win the next three legs in 15 darts (180), 18 darts and 17 darts to triumph 3-1 and book a place in the last 16.
Next up was Staffordshire's Sarah Cope and in a one-sided affair Jones again produced some heavy scoring including another maximum as she emerged a 3-0 winner.
The quarter-finals saw Jones come up against Welsh number one and world number two Julie Gore and Jones went into the match with a 4-2 deficit in the head-to-head record against her great friend following some fantastic matches in the past.
This game was no different as Jones took the first leg in 16 darts and in the second leg she scored heavily in hitting 180, 123 and 100 to leave tops after 12 darts and eventually finished on double ten to take a 2-0 lead thanks to another 16-darter.
Gore won the third leg convincingly but Jones was in no mood to let this match slip away and again hit 180 to leave 36 after 15 darts.
Gore hit 140 to leave a finish and put the pressure back on Jones but, with 36 left, she took all three darts to win on double nine and clinch a 3-1 victory.
In the semi-final Jones got her first chance to play on the famous Lakeside stage against Dobromyslova, who in her previous appearance on the stage had clinched her second world crown with victory over Deta Hedman in January.
If nerves were going to get the better of Jones then this was the match in which they were most likely to strike, but both players began shakily and Jones missed five darts at the double before the Russian finished the first leg at the ninth time of asking.
Jones responded well and narrowly missed a 111 checkout before making it 1-1, but Dobromyslova showed her class with a 15-dart leg to regain the lead.
She then started the fourth leg well with scores of 100, 100 and 81 but it was Jones with 140 and a 52 checkout who levelled the match at 2-2 to set up a sudden death leg.
The world champion won the bull but it was Jones who booked her place in the final with scores of 100, 97, 140 and a 46 checkout as she recorded a 24.74 average to march into her first ever Gold Cup final.
The final obstacle in the way of Jones and ultimate glory on the day was Standley, winner of this event in 2008.
Jones got off to a good start and took the first leg with a 60 checkout but missed doubles cost her in the second leg and Standley levelled.
Jones again started well in the third leg with scores of 100 and 134 and Standley hit 123 and 139 but it was Jones who took a 2-1 lead.
Her opponent drew level again but Jones held her nerve in another sudden death leg, again against the bull, to win the trophy with a 50 checkout.
Jones has now been playing for five years and as a youth player was ranked number one in the world and won over 20 singles titles including two world titles (2009 and 2010).
She also played at international level for England youth, winning the Europe Cup singles and doubles in 2009, and was also runner-up in the World Cup in America in 2009.
This Gold Cup triumph is a remarkable success for Jones in only her second year at senior level, having finished her first year 18th in the world rankings.
She is now up to eighth and closing in on a place at the World Championships at Lakeside in January.
Zoe and her family would like to thank Red Dragon Darts and The Redditch Trades & Labour Club for their continued support.
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