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World Darts Championship: Queen of the Palace - the year Fallon Sherrock made history

From hairdresser to history-maker, Fallon Sherrock's incredible run at the 2020 World Darts Championship sent shockwaves around the world of sport.

In defeating Ted Evetts at the Alexandra Palace four years ago, she became the first woman to win a match at the PDC World Darts Championship.

The magnitude of that achievement alone cannot be diminished but the fact that Sherrock followed up her first round success by defeating Mensur Suljovic, a Champions League winner and World Matchplay finalist, was extraordinary.

Sherrock fanfare swept across the nation. Darts audiences surged and Sherrock was in demand with every major news outlet.

Her World Championship journey earned her the nickname 'Queen of the Palace', and while she was bitterly disappointed at her campaign concluding in the third round against Chris Dobey, Sherrock could never have imagined the opportunities that would eventually arrive at her doorstep.

Her accomplishments have transcended the sport and paved a pathway for young females to participate in darts.

Sherrock proved that women can compete with the best male darts players on the biggest stage and she has since enjoyed further success in majors, reaching the Grand Slam of Darts quarter-finals in 2021.

As the Queen of the Palace prepares for her fourth World Championship appearance, we've relived the year where Sherrock made history.
 

Making history

The World Darts Championship has witnessed many a famous night but Sherrock's first round victory over Evetts reshaped Ally Pally history.

Buoyed by a vociferous crowd, Sherrock used the support to her advantage and displayed little sign of nervousness as she stepped up to the oche.

Where Sherrock was encouraged, Evetts was heckled. Every missed dart from Evetts was met with cheers, every leg that Sherrock got on the board was greeted with wild celebrations.

And when there was nothing to split the pair after four sets, the Queen of the Palace turned it up a notch.

With Evetts failing to check out 80, Sherrock broke throw with a composed dart at double 7 and gained the upper hand in the deciding set.

Now it was a matter of keeping her nerve. A few trebleless visits ensued but Evetts failed to capitalise, with Sherrock holding her throw.

Evetts halved the deficit by taking out double 16, although it wasn't with the help of the crowd. Russ Bray even asked spectators if they could turn down the volume.

Now Sherrock's destiny was in her own hands. Initially struggling with her scoring in the fourth leg, she produced a timely 140 to leave 36. As Evetts missed bullseye to level the match, Sherrock stepped up and with her second dart, pinned double 18.

The glass ceiling had been smashed and Ally Pally was the scene of pandemonium. Little did we know that the best was yet to come.

Queen of the Palace's statement win

Four days after her history-making win over Ted Evetts, the Queen returned to the Palace to shock the darting world again.

Very few gave Sherrock a chance of defeating world number 11 Mensur Suljovic but those doubters were silenced following a sensational performance.

Sherrock left the Ally Pally crowd in hysterics as she upset the odds once again, posting a double success of 69% to seal a 3-1 victory over the Austrian.

She endured a torrid start after losing the opening two legs to Suljovic but fought back, firing a 131 check-out and seizing the initiative by taking the first set.

Suljovic capitalised on an opportunity to hit back from two legs down to bring the match level, defying the cacophony of boos from the crowd as he did so, but Sherrock's clinical finishing defined the contest.

She started the fourth leg of the third set with two successive 180s. Were we about to witness even more history? Sherrock fell short of a 9-dart leg but she recovered her poise to deliver an 11-dart leg and restore her advantage.

Where Suljovic raced away with his heavy scoring, Sherrock atoned with her sharpness on doubles. Requiring 86 to win the match, the Queen of the Palace exhibited confidence and assurance as she nailed the bullseye with her first attempt.

Darts had a new superstar.

Her legacy

All the talk in the aftermath of Sherrock's triumph over Suljovic was whether the Milton Keynes-born dartist could go on to win the entire tournament.

Unfortunately Chris Dobey did not receive the memo.

In a thrilling spectacle that featured 19 maximum 180s and three ton-plus checkouts from Sherrock, her phenomenal run was halted at the hands of Hollywood, who booked his place in the last 16 with a 4-2 win.

It was another demonstration of how Sherrock could compete with some of the world's elite. It may not have been the fairytale ending she craved but there was nothing but immense pride for her journey.

Taking the acclaim of the crowd at the end of the match, she was serenaded with a huge chorus of 'One Fallon Sherrock' to end a memorable tournament debut.

Her recent visits to Ally Pally have failed to hit the heights of four years ago, suffering first round defeats to Steve Beaton and Ricky Evans. In spite of that, nothing will ever detract from Sherrock's achievements.

She remans the only woman to win a match at the World Darts Championship and Sherrock will be gunning for victory again as she returns to her favourite venue in December.

The impact of her accomplishments will benefit darts for many years to come. It's brought the sport into a new era, helped increase female darting participation and proved to those currently on the Women's Series that if the opportunity presents itself, they can grasp it.

We've witnessed the emergence of Beau Greaves and it's hoped that we will see many more female players competing in the major events; all of whom can thank Sherrock for being their source of inspiration.

World Darts Championship

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