For those of you who know anything about darts, you will know that the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) is holding its world championship right now.
It is, without question, the biggest and richest darts tournament in the world with more than $4 million set to be handed out over the course of the event. A total of 96 players started the tournament and they have slowly whittled down through the process of elimination.
One of those players was Fallon Sherrock of England, one of two women’s players who qualified to play; Mikuru Suzuki of Japan, the reigning World Women’s Darts Champion, was the other. This is the second year the PDC has given women a chance to qualify for its main event with the first two competitors last year, England’s Lisa Ashton and Russia’s Anastasia Dobromyslova, losing in the first round.
This year, though, it would be different. Suzuki came within an eyelash of taking down England’s James Richardson in round one but the real excitement would come when Sherrock played Ted Evetts of England in her first round match.
It was literally back-and-forth, Sherrock not giving anything up against Evetts.
Sherrock, though, took control in the fifth and final set of the match and nailed double-18 to win the fourth leg of the final set and send the Alexandra palace into delirium. Sherrock was the absolute crowd favourite and the reason people showed up to watch in the first place. She didn’t disappoint.
Afterwards, she went to celebrate with her family but she became an instant celebrity. The 25-year-old had just become the first woman to win a match against a man in any world championship competition and was the face which launched a thousand tweets.
All anyone wanted to talk about was how Sherrock had done the impossible because women darters are not really known in the world of darts. I’ve been beaten more than once by a woman and I’ve never had a problem with it. Neither did Evetts, apparently, as he led the cheers for Sherrock on the stage following the match.
He was absolute class in defeat, even if the spectators acted like a shower of morons during some of his turns.
But a woman beat a man in a game of darts at the highest level and that’s all that mattered. I should clarify that it isn’t the first time a woman has beaten a man on TV. Deta Hedman of England played in the U.K. Open in 2005 and beat Aaron Turner in a televised match.
That was the first time a woman beat a man in front of T.V. cameras and it was a big deal. Problem was it didn’t translate into anything big, though, at the time.
Dobromyslova would also go on to beat a dude on TV as she took down Vincent van der Voort of the Netherlands at the 2009 Grand Slam of Darts but again, it didn’t translate into anything big.
The reason why Sherrock’s win became an sensation was because of the moment. It happened at the biggest darts tournament on the planet and everyone was watching. She was booked to do interviews everywhere and with every major international media outlet. Type in her first name on Google and she’s the top search item. Everyone knows it happened and everyone now knows who Fallon Sherrock is.
The PDC couldn’t have paid for better publicity than this. Sherrock has guaranteed people will know about this tournament for years to come and you can bet people who never watched before will be watching now.
But here’s the thing: Sherrock doesn’t even play in the PDC. She plays in the British Darts Organization (BDO), the once-almighty force in world darts. No one outside of darts in Great Britain knew she was even alive until she took down Evetts and you would think the BDO would be using her to help sell tickets for its version of the world championship in January. Funny thing is the BDO version is called the World Professional Darts Championships, which is a laugh because there’s absolutely nothing professional about the BDO.
The BDO needs any and all the publicity it can get right now because it’s crying poor. Literally. There’s a document making the rounds right now outlining the financial state of the BDO and how it has next to nothing in the bank. Sherrock herself never once mentioned the BDO version of the world championships in any interview without being asked first. She even doubted it would happen at all and she isn’t the only one. The BDO needs to put her front and centre if it has any hope of surviving.
But not a bother for the PDC. It had its champagne moment and it was the most-talked about thing in the world for roughly 48 hours.
And that’s a good thing.