World champion darts players could be coming up against a rather unusual opponent in the British Darts Organisation Tournament today.
For a teenage girl from the Fylde coast is hoping her skills will help her go far in the prestigious competition, having already won 34 championships on her way there.
Natasha Eaves, 14, has only been playing darts for two years – but she’ll be rubbing shoulders with the cream of the crop when the action gets under way at Blackpool Tower.
“I’m sort of used to competitions now,” the St Aidan’s CE Technology College pupil said. “I’m very competitive and like winning.
“I get butterflies beforehand, about the live streaming, but it’s exciting and I just think about winning.”
The Fleetwood teen has already won a string of tournaments, from local competitions to bigger tournaments.
At 14 she will be one of the youngest competitors at the tournament but it could put her at an advantage as she will be eligible to compete in the women’s, under 18s and under 14s categories.
And though she never would have dreamt of reaching such heights just a few years ago, she says the sport caught her eye at a young age.
She added: “My aim is to compete professionally but I can’t do that until I am 18.
“There’s no way I thought I’d be a darts player, not a chance. But if ever I used to watch it I thought I could do better than them.
“When I was five my brother would play but I wasn’t allowed, so if they went out the room I’d quickly throw a few in.”
And these days Natasha always beats big brother Thomas, 17.
She added: “He doesn’t really like the idea of being beaten by a girl but I think he’s used to it now. I’m proud of myself.”
Natasha will be playing from 1pm today.
The first day of the tournament is a knockout competition and the semi-final and final will be televised live on Eurosport.
Thousands of fans are expected to descend on the resort for the tournament, which will see some of the world’s top players taking part. The contest is part of a year-long programme of darts events.
Natasha said: “I put a lot of effort in, I practice every day so I do expect to win. I just think if I play my game I will win.”