Debenham’s Jo Locke looks ahead to making her England debut in the British Internationals in Skegness this weekend
Debenham resident Jo Locke is excited to be representing England for the first time at the British Internationals this weekend.
The 53-year-old will be one of six players in the ladies’ team for the three-day event which starts today at the Golden Palm Resort, in Chapel St Leonards, near Skegness.
Locke will be only the fourth lady from Suffolk to play for England, following in the footsteps of Sharon Kemp, Deanna Goddard and Sue Talbot, and is the first female representative from the county in 21 years.
“I am excited about the weekend, but I don’t think it’s really hit me yet,” Locke said.
“It means the world. Everybody wants to play sport for their country and I was absolutely buzzing when I won that (trial for a spot in the team).
“I’m chuffed to bits to be playing for England. To be the fourth lady from Suffolk to do that is quite an achievement as I well I suppose.
“I didn’t realise that until I saw it on Saturday. To read something like that is pretty good.
“I don’t take compliments very well. I’d rather stay out of the limelight, if you know what I mean.
“A lot of people get in a sulk if they lose, but I think no, I can’t do that! Obviously for England that bothers me and I might be a little bit annoyed if I don’t win on Friday!”
It has been a long wait for Locke’s England debut with her victory in the England International Trials, at Bridlington Spa, coming in September of last year.
The former Malta Open champion recorded wins over Ashleigh Turner (2-0), Natalie Gilbert (2-0), Deta Hedman (2-0), Eleanor Cairns (2-0) and Lorraine Winstanley (2-1) to win the trial.
Locke closed out the victory in the final against former World Masters winner Winstanley in style with a 102 checkout to book her spot in the England team for the British Internationals this weekend.
The ladies’ side have won the last three stagings of the annual competition and Locke will be part of an England team that includes reigning WDF women’s world champion Beau Greaves.
“I’ve been on and off playing darts for 35-plus years,” Locke said. “I play Tuesday nights for the Smock in the men’s super league.
“Wednesdays I play at Stowmarket, Cedars Park, in the ladies’ super league, and then Thursdays in a Stowmarket and Old Newton league.
“I play county for Suffolk every month and all the local competitions that come up.
“I want to thank all of the Suffolk darts team for their support. I don’t think I’d have achieved this without being talked into playing for them.”
Locke is sponsored by Farnham Leisure, Evolution Darts and Sidekick Sports UK.