Dubbed the queen of the palace after her stunning debut success at the World Darts Championships in 2019, Fallon Sherrock marked her return to arms at this years tournament on December 19th with an opening round clash with former BDO World Champion Steve Beaton.
With the return of spectators it is sure to be an action packed and star studded event, with so many contenders in prime position to mount an assault on the prestigious Sid Waddell trophy and the £500,000 jackpot on offer.
The standard of play has never been higher in the men’s game as astronomical averages are being set on a weekly basis, and this is sure to set the stage for a thrilling tournament.
Amongst that prestigious field sits Fallon Sherrock who has punched a path through the men’s game unlike any female has ever managed in the sport before.
Her appearance at the 2019 World Championship saw the first ever victory for a female at the tournament in its forty year history, an unforgettable moment that captured the imagination of every sports fan in the country.
She would eventually succumb to Chris Dobey 4-2 in sets in the third round of the tournament, yet her journey through those three rounds mattered so much more than the final destination, as Sherrock had finally shattered the glass ceiling for female athletes in a predominately male sport. Ladies had competed in this tournament previously but not one had managed to overcome such a monumental obstacle, and in doing so Fallon Sherrock became a overnight sensation and won an entire legion of fans in the process, both male and female.
Her groundbreaking performance laid waste to the notion that women cannot compete with men in elite level sports, whilst some naysayers believed her to be a flash in the pan.
Sherrock went on to silence any doubters however, with a series of hugely impressive outings in multiple televised events, most notably in September 2021 she became the first woman in the history of the PDC to reach the final of a televised tournament at the Nordic Masters, eventually falling to the mighty Michael Van Gerwen 11-7 on legs.
Her imperious form continued in earnest at last months Grand Slam of Darts, as she yet again barged down the door of male superiority by reaching the quarter finals of a major event filled with household names. Her narrow and subsequent 16-13 loss on legs to former World Champion Peter Wright was greeted with a shower of praise from fans and pundits of the game alike, as she continues to fly in the face of convention each time she steps onto the oche.
The next stop for her is a return to Alexandra Palace where Sherrock’s star shone so bright in 2019, and it is sure to be an emotional return for her after failing to qualify for last years event during the on-going pandemic.
Her strides forward as a competitor has been nothing short of remarkable, as the svelte lady in pink continues to make a mockery of any shallow belief that women cannot emulate the men at the highest level, and in doing so she has earned the respect of her male peers within the game.
To do so whilst placed under the microscope every time she steps up on stage deserves a huge amount of respect, as it cannot be easy to be thrust into the limelight so quickly. Yet she admirably seems to take it all in her stride as she continues her inspiring tale of success into the men’s game, where as previously women would only compete against each other in a separate tournament.
Much to their credit the Professional Darts Corporation are offering more opportunities to women than ever to battle it out amongst their male counterparts, and once again Lisa Ashton will also compete in this years World Championship, however she continues to be without a win in the tournament.
Ultimately though it is Fallon Sherrock who has taken her opportunities and ran with them, as she looks to build upon her budding reputation as a genuine threat in any competition that she enters. With a solid showing at this years World Championship we may also see her square off against the cream of the crop on a weekly basis in the Premier League, which would be yet another monumental first.
As far as I can see I would say that it would fully deserved as this pioneer for women’s sport continues to prove that she belongs on the big stage, rather than to have her participation treated as a mere sympathy act.
Her journey has shone the spotlight on what women are truly capable of when given equal opportunities and she has not just pushed against centuries old boundaries, she has smashed through them with great gusto. Thus, it is time to celebrate her marvelous achievements since her magical debut at Alexandra Palace in 2019.
Consequently, I feel that there are certain sports that would benefit from simply handing females the opportunity to compete, as it would see many more eyes on the product, and with Fallon Sherrock making such a positive impact in the world of Darts it can surely only inspire other women to participate in any sport that they wish.
Over time women’s role in society has changed and adapted enormously from just being mothers and wives in the not so distant past, as now we see them as people of power, friends, and important role models for many children in all walks of life. Alas, our attitude to women has changed so much over the last century and I feel it is time that sport echoes those sentiments and their achievements should be held in as much high regard as the men.
I do feel that has been prevalent over the last few years with the likes of Emma Raducanu deservedly gaining hero like status for her astonishing major win at the US Open tennis, but there is still some work to do as far as I can see in terms of equal pay and recognition in society as a whole.
What Fallon Sherrock has accomplished should be the first steps in the evolution of Darts and possibly other sports, as surely if you are talented enough to reach the required standard then you deservedly belong on that playing field regardless of gender.
I sincerely believe that Fallon Sherrock can continue to challenge the status quo at this years highly anticipated World Championship as she has quickly become a precious commodity to both Darts and sport in general, as her popularity has known no bounds as both male and female fans have taken her to their hearts.
It is now almost time for her to ruffle some feathers once more, and personally I am looking forward to what she can achieve at this tournament and beyond, as she blazes a trail that no female has ever travelled down previously.
Professional Darts requires an innate ability to perform under pressure and be able to harness mental clarity at pivotal moments, and from what I have witnessed it seems that Fallon Sherrock has these attributes in abundance as her quest for a maiden major title continues to gain pace.
Personally, I hope that she makes that giant leap sooner rather than later!
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