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From hairdresser to history-maker, watch The Rise of Fallon Sherrock at 6.30pm on Sky Sports Action followed by Phil Taylor vs Fallon Sherrock in the latest Darts From Home Series
Last Updated: 14/05/20 3:15pm
Darts had always been seen as a male-dominated sport and then along came Fallon Sherrock to turn the game on its head…
On December 17, 2019 Sherrock became an overnight superstar when she catapulted herself to worldwide fame at the iconic Alexandra Palace.
Her 3-2 victory over Ted Evetts was not only a landmark moment for the game of darts but a groundbreaking moment for aspiring young women. The 25-year-old continued her giant-killing form by ousting 11th-seed Mensur Suljovic in the next round before her fairy-tale run came to an end at the hands of Chris Dobey, but the story had already been written.
“The sky is the limit now, us women are showing that we can beat men and hopefully it will open more doors,” Sherrock said after her groundbreaking exploits at Ally Pally.
Her historic achievements on the big stage are a far cry from her days as a mobile hairdresser where she worked tirelessly to provide a better life for her five-year-old son, Rory.
Having developed a serious kidney condition after her son’s birth, she had for a time taken a medication that caused her face to swell. Her motivation as a darts trailblazer came in part from the online abuse she received over her appearance.
Sherrock’s parents Steve and Sue both played darts at County level, while her twin sister, Felicia, proved an inspiration to Fallon in continuing the family tradition.
She began playing with the Buckinghamshire County darts team as a teenager where her talents were spotted and she subsequently went on to play for England.
At 17, she was crowned World Darts Federation (WDF) World Cup girls singles champion before claiming the girls’ World Masters winner. In 2013, Sherrock triumphed at the British Classic.
She made her BDO World Championship debut a year later where she was seen as one of the brightest young prospects in the game. Anastasia Dobromyslova, who defeated her in the quarter-finals, said: “It’s always good because that younger generation coming through is something we can look forward to.”
In 2015, Sherrock put herself on the women’s darting map, losing 3-1 to experienced Lisa Ashton in the World Championship final at Lakeside. She showcased her talent by hitting a record six maximums, but lacked consistency when it came to pinning doubles.
Sherrock suffered a surprise defeat to Denmark’s Ann-Louise Peters 12 months later and then Bolton star Ashton proved the scourge of Sherrock in 2017 and 2018, while the unseeded Maria O’Brien ended her hopes at the quarter-final stage in 2019.
Having won the 2015 Zuiderduin Masters and the 2018 World Trophy, as well as 30 additional ranking events, Sherrock knew she had the talent, but it was just a case of harnessing and expressing herself on the big stage.
Her opportunity arrived when she prevailed in the UK & Ireland women’s qualifier in Wigan, beating her nemesis ‘The Lancashire Rose’ Ashton and then Natalie Gilbert to following in the footsteps of Gayl King, Dobromyslova and Ashton in qualifying for the PDC Worlds alongside Japan’s Mikuru Suzuki.
When Suzuki narrowly lost out to James Richardson, the attention turned to Sherrock and her date with destiny against Warwickshire’s Evetts. She walked out to “Last Friday Night” by Katy Perry in front of 3,000 spectators willing her on to glory. Despite appearing nervous and unsure of protocol, she was excited by all the attention. Would the bright lights get to her ahead of the biggest match of her life?
Unlikely, when she held throw on her opening leg of the match with a fabulous 106 checkout. That immediately helped settled her down. She just couldn’t hide that broad smile any longer. Evetts and Sherrock shared the opening four sets to send the contest into a deciding set. Then Sherrock came into her own, nailing 140 to set up D18, which she hit with her second dart in hand. Cue Rod Studd’s historic commentary!
“I know I could do more,” said Sherrock. And on Saturday, December 21 lightning struck Ally Pally again as the Milton Keynes thrower landed an almighty upset against one of the more established members of the darting fraternity in Suljovic. She produced world-class finishes of 131, 104 and a match-winning 86 on the bullseye to leave the Austrian and the watching audience in disbelief.
“I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “I had my hands over my face. I just couldn’t believe it.”
Sherrock’s World Championship tournament stats
51% on the doubles
7 ton-plus checkouts
The Queen of the Palace had won the hearts of the public. This was no longer a case of battle of the sexes.
Since that 2015 World final defeat to Ashton, Sherrock has worked on all aspects of her game, not least her composure. That’s what continually sets her apart from the rest as proven when appearing as a Challenger in the 2020 Premier League. Her 6-6 draw with three-time world champion Glen Durrant in Nottingham was no fluke.
She’s held her own in the Modus Series of darts from home events, topping tables and beating world champions. And she’ll go up against Phil Taylor again in the latest Darts from Home exhibition matches on the soft-tip Nexus board.
Within the space of four months, Sherrock had gone from a little-known semi-pro darts player to a household name in the world of sport.
Maybe, just maybe, this is just the beginning…