The World Championships at the infamous Alexandra Palace, barring nothing out of the ordinary, will take place without their Queen. The “Queen of the Palace” Fallon Sherrock, as she was christened after her two sensational victories over Ted Evetts and Mensur Suljovic at the 2020 World Cup, should have finished second in the Women’s Series rankings to secure a starting place. In the end she was third – and was only intercepted by a teenager in the last few meters.
Sherrock had brought £1,800 in prize money over the last four tournaments in Wigan, England, over 18-year-old Beau Greaves. She gambled away most of it at the start on Saturday. In Event 17 of 20, Sherrock didn’t have a good day in the round of 32, beating out Japan’s Mikuru Suzuki with an average of 66.13 points. Greaves, on the other hand, continued their fabulous run, winning their fifth tournament in a row and catching up with the £1000 prize money.
The spotlight was on Greaves for the first time at the end of August when she won all four tournaments in one weekend in Hildesheim, Lower Saxony. At that time, however, the great ladies of the sport, Sherrock and Lisa Ashton, were missing. However, she showed impressively that Greaves can also do it in their presence and even in a direct duel.
In the final of Tournament 18, she kept her nerve in the decider against Ashton, who had previously defeated Sherrock in the semifinals, checking in 20 darts to win 5-4. The sixth tournament victory in a row meant a record series for women. Before the final day, she was still 250 pounds short of Sherrock. The big showdown was about to happen. And Greaves delivered again. In the final of the penultimate tournament, the young star beat Sherrock 5:3 – and played impressive darts. 107.86 points were recorded on average at the end of her seventh success.
The omens had turned around, Greaves had passed Sherrock in the rankings. The 28-year-old Englishwoman would have needed a better result than her compatriot to slip back into second place in the rankings.
It didn’t get that far, and a direct duel wasn’t needed this time either. Sherrock failed again in the round of 16 against Mikuru Suzuki. A 4-0 win over Rachel Brooks, which was never threatened, was enough for Greaves to reach the quarter-finals – and for the starting place in the Ally Pally. She eventually won the tournament as well, playing 102.90 points again against Ashton in the quarterfinals and also beating Suzuki 5-1 in the final. It was her 52nd consecutive Women’s Series win.
The qualification is like a sensation. Greaves is considered a shooting star in the women’s scene, was already world champion at the World Darts Federation (WDF) this year and was then described by expert Wayne Mardle as “a head taller than any player I’ve ever seen”. However, she only played eight and thus less than half of the tournaments in the Women’s Series.
Greaves also struggled with dartitis during the height of the corona pandemic. “In 2020 I was petrified when I went to the oche. It got to a point where I thought I’d never do it again. Dartitis came and it was hard. I was one of the top ladies and then I thought it was over,” Greaves said in a recent Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) interview. Now she can look forward to her debut on the biggest stage in the world.
Sherrock, on the other hand, will probably be denied her third participation in the Ally Pally. Because she does not have a tour card, she cannot participate in the final qualifiers at the end of November. Furthermore, only regional qualifiers take place, in which the Englishwoman is also not allowed to start.
However, two loopholes remain open. At the Grand Slam of Darts in two weeks, where Sherrock starts, she could bring in so much prize money that she still jumps into the top 32 in the world rankings. Adrian Lewis is currently in shaky 32nd place with prize money of £139,000, so Sherrock (currently £5,000) should win the tournament and pocket £150,000.
In addition, no qualification criteria are known for the 96th and last starting place in the World Championships. It is not unthinkable that the PDC will find some regulation for marketing machine Sherrock – and, for example, nominate her as the winner of the first Women’s World Matchplay in July of this year.
Lisa Ashton secured the sovereign victory in the women’s ranking list and thus a place at the World Championships. It will be the fourth participation in the Ally Pally for the 52-year-old. There was also good news from a German perspective. Stefanie Rennoch, the only German player who traveled to Wigan, reached a round of 16.