Ireland's women have been handed a mammoth task to reach the women’s BDO World Cup as they have been confirmed in a group with Australia for their qualifier next April.
They will play in Santiago, Chile on April 24 to May 2, 2010 with in a pool which features the host country, Malaysia, Scotland and Trinidad & Tobago.
As in the recently completed men's WCQ competition, only one qualifying place in the 2010 World Cup - which will be held in Argentina - is available.
Ireland's performances in the recent European championships meant they were in the pot of second seeds but the surprise loss of world number five-side Australia to New Zealand on penalty strokes, though, immediately threw a shark into the water when it came to the draw.
Subsequent qualifiers left Ireland as the sixth highest ranked side for the WCQs and thus destined, by the FIH's draw system, to be pitted against the Aussies ahead of the other first seeds, the USA or Japan.
It leaves Ireland, as world number 15s, facing a tough, uphill task to reach the tournament's final. Malaysia were beaten 1-0 (world number 22) in Kazan last summer while a 0-0 draw in the Europeans against Scotland show how tight the battle will be.
Hosts Chile have jumped to 16th in the world after their bronze medal in the Pan-Am games; an event where Trinidad finished fifth.