Jacklin prepares for dream World Darts Championships debut against Aileen De Graff at Lakeside

Sam Hewson and Paula Jacklin
Sam Hewson and Paula Jacklin

A Gainsborough woman is preparing for the biggest event of her sporting career – the World Darts Championships at Lakeside.

The televised tournament is broadcast around the world, and players from across the globe will covet Paula Jacklin’s position as she represents Lincolnshire against the very best.

The 57-year-old, who captains her county side, has been playing darts most of her life.

But this will be the first time she has reached the biggest stage of all, what she calls the realisation of her dream, when she competes at Lakeside Country Club at Frimley Green, Surrey next Wednesday.

Not only is it a personal first, but county history, as no other Lincolnshire lady has graced the competition.

Jacklin will take on Netherlands star Aileen De Graff, who is considered the most consistent lady player in the world.

Recognising the talent of the woman standing in her way, the Gainsborough player said: “Aileen is a superb player who would beat most men, a nice person and a credit to her country.”

But regardless of the quality of opponent, Jacklin believes she’s in a win-win situation.

“On Wednesday I will do my best to win – if I do then ill be elated, if I don’t I’ve achieved my goal in my sport, I will have done my very best for myself, my family and all my friends who have supported me this year.”

Darts is very much a family affair for Jacklin, who counts fellow Lincolnshire captain and husband Des as her supporter in chief.

“My husband Des has taken me all over the world this year to accumulate the points in all the competitions, to push me to the limit to get me there.”

“He’s my rock,” she added.

Jacklin goes into the World Championship in fine form, winning the Bully’s Boardroom ladies singles last weekend and reaching the last 16 of the men’s event.

“I was absolutely on it,” she said. “It was my day.”

She will be joined at Lakeside by Lincolnshire lad Sam Hewson, the 21-year-old taking on Yorkshire’s Scotty Waites on Sunday night.