Trina Gulliver MBE broke her own record by winning the Women’s World Championship for a 10th time last weekend, and could hardly contain her delight after ending a five-year gap between Lakeside triumphs.
It took a deciding set in all four of her games to lift the biggest trophy in ladies darts again, with victories over Dee Bateman, defending champion Lisa Ashton, Aileen de Graaf and then Deta Hedman in the final going the distance.
Trailing 2-1 in sets to Hedman in the final, the Golden Girl reeled off six of the next seven legs to claim a record-breaking 10th world title.
Gulliver said: “I jumped up and down and then cried! It was an amazing feeling, to get your 10th and go into double figures, it was brilliant.
“I had a tough side of the draw all the way through, playing against some great players. They’re all great players don’t get me wrong.
“They wouldn’t be there otherwise, but I did tend to have the more difficult side of the draw.
“After beating Lisa in the quarter-finals I just enjoyed the moment there, and then I was thinking ‘I’ve got Aileen next and she’s been playing really well.’
“So I really needed to be on the ball in all of my games. I didn’t play my best game in any of them, I wasn’t on my top form, but I showed bottle all the way through.”
Away from the oche, Gulliver has faced some challenging moments in the years which followed her ninth world title win back in 2011.
The passing of her mother Muriel two days before the start of the 2012 BDO World Championships brought with it a tough time for the 46-year-old, who then bravely took part in the tournament at the request of her mother before she died, and managed to reach the semi-finals before being defeated by eventual winner Anastasia Dobromyslova.
“The five years in-between have been quite personally challenging,” Gulliver said. “It hasn’t been an easy year for us and the family.
“I did think at one point it was never going to happen again, so to go up there and win it is great.
“Not only for the fact that it has given me belief, but for the other people who have believed in me as well. It hasn’t been my best five years but I’ve had sponsors stay with me and other sponsors come on board at the same time.
“It’s their belief in me that has given me belief in myself again, and it’s the encouragement and fight every sportsperson needs.”
Gulliver took on Hedman in her 12th World Championship final aiming for her 10th title, while her opponent was looking to lift the trophy for the first time in what was her third final appearance.
The Dark Destroyer had lost in a deciding set to Ashton in the final two years ago, and the same scenario would play out in 2016.
“It’s such a short format,” Gulliver said. “You have to be straight off. If you’re not you have to dig deep and hope that you can pull it off.
“Deta’s been in the final three times now and that stage seems to elude her.
“It was quite tense because she was looking for her first and I was looking for my 10th. It’s quite a different scenario for us both.
“But that stage hasn’t been very kind to Deta, so that gave me a little bit of encouragement.
“I still went two sets to one down so I had to bring that back to 2-2, and then in the final set I turned the screw and it was 3-0.”
The BDO launched the Women’s World Championship back in 2001, with the Golden Girl winning the first seven editions before bagging back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011. It was Gulliver’s vast experience on the big stage which she then drew on to fight back to win the deciding set.
“Subconsciously I suppose you do,” she said. “It’s not something you do deliberately, it’s just something that kind of comes naturally. I think experience counts for a lot, and it must have been in the back of Deta’s mind, the fact that she’s been in the final three times and not yet won it.”
With the BBC yet to renew their contract to screen the BDO World Championships, Gulliver’s success on Saturday could be the last ladies final on terrestrial television.
“I know the BBC are cutting back on sport but I don’t know whether that’s going to be the last one they show of the BDO,” she said.
“I think BT Sport will have enjoyed their time there, so perhaps there’s an option.
“I’m not sure what’s happening, but let’s hope they stay with us. It would be a blow for darts and in the ladies game I think it’s the best it’s ever been.
“That’s showing in the TV coverage we’re getting as well. I think people are realising how entertaining the ladies game is to watch, and that can only be a positive thing for ladies darts.”
Regardless of whether the BDO can secure television coverage for their showpiece event, record-breaking champion Gulliver is likely to be busier than ever in preparation for title no. 11!