MARIA O’Brien will be hoping to continue in the same rich vein of form that won her the Slovak Open and a new world ranking of No.8, when she tackles three individual events at the PokerStars Isle of Man International Festival of Darts, which runs from tomorrow through to Sunday March 10.
The four-day international darts festival offers a prize fund of over £30,000 and will be hosted at the Villa Marina in Douglas.
Maria had an ill-fated start to the tournament 12 months ago and bowed out of the Isle of Man classic in the second round before turning that poor form around on her next showing.
She won through to the quarter-finals of the Isle of Man Masters which included a win over Dutch star Aileen de Graaf before being edged out 4-3, after taking the then World champion, Lisa Ashton, the full distance.
Maria competed the following day in the Isle of Man PokerStars Open, the most prestigious of the competitions which carried maximum ranking points.
O’Brien began well with a 4-0 defeat of Scotland’s Amanda Cox and followed it up with a 4-3 victory against Felicia Blay, a player who was a losing semi-finalist at the Turkish Open in 2017.
That victory took her into the last 16 where she faced her nemesis Sharon Prins who had defeated O’Brien in the 2018 World Championships, but the Dutch player was outclassed this time around.
O’Brien took the honours by a 4-2 margin but went out at the quarter-final stage when defeated 4-1 by Aileen de Graaf, the same player she had beaten only the day before.
The Business Development Manager will begin her assault on the 2019 Isle of Man Classic against the winner of Tracy Ingrouille v Margaret Sutton and if matches go to form, should play Fallon Sherrock in the last eight in order to progress as group winner.
The following day, the Isle of Man Masters will be contested over the best of seven legs and Sandra Page will be Maria’s first opponent with the likelihood of Deta Hedman waiting at the quarter-final stage.
The Isle of Man Open will be the main event on Saturday and Maria has been drawn in group seven of eight.
She will play the winner of Sue Green v Helene Partington and should, as the No.7 seed for all the three events, be the winner of the group who will then go forward to the quarter-finals.
Maria’s final event of the weekend will be the Women’s pairs with Lisa Ashton on Sunday and the duo will be hoping they can achieve their first title, since the new partnership came to fruition in early February at the Dutch Open.