Oxfordshire county player Deta Hedman will put her friendship with Lorraine Farlam to one side when the pair meet in the BDO World Championship women’s first round at Lakeside tonight.
The 54-year-old is once again the No 1 seed and bookmakers’ favourite to claim her first world title at the Frimley Green venue in Surrey this week.
But the ‘Dark Destroyer’ knows she must perform a lot better than 12 months ago when she crashed out at the first hurdle to Lisa Ashton.
Reflecting on that shock defeat, she said: “Lisa is an amazing player and it was no disgrace losing to her.
“However, I don’t intend going out early this year.”
With that in mind, she has her sights on victory against Farlam in the opening round of a competition which has been extended to 16 women this year. “Lorraine is a great friend of mine and if (partner) Paul (James) isn’t at an event we often share a hotel room. She is also an England teammate,” said Hedman.
“But once ‘game on’ is called, we go to work and friendship is put on the backburner.”
Hedman arrives at Lakeside on the back of an incredible season, which has seen her capture 14 ranking titles, including the prestigious Winmau World Masters and the World Cup singles and pairs.
And she admits her success brings extra pressure with it.
“To a certain extent yes,” she said. “I have had a mind-blowing season and people assume you should win every time you play.
“Unfortunately that doesn’t happen in darts. Sometimes your opponent plays brilliantly and there’s little you can do. You also need a little luck.”
However, she can take confidence from having a solid record against Farlam, who she beat in the 2012 semi-final on the way to finishing runner-up to Anastasia Dobromyslova.
“At Lakeside we are 1-1,” said Hedman. “Lorraine beat me in the BDO Gold Cup three years ago and I returned the favour in 2012.
“Outside of Lakeside, I have a good record against her. Normally both of us bring out our ‘A’ games which is what I want to do tonight.”
Hedman lives at Witham in Essex, but is well backed by her adopted county of Oxfordshire.
“As always, the support I receive from Oxfordshire people humbles me,” she added.
“I am from outside the area, but get immense pride every time I play in the blue shirt.
“I couldn’t have been made more welcome anywhere in the country, and I hope to bring home the world title trophy to Bicester Ex-servicemen’s Club for our next home match against Yorkshire on January 18 and 19.”