Columnist Predicted Sherrock’s Starring Role.

Our columnist, and contributor, JR Lott added this tiny piece to a World Championship e-guide produced before the Ally Pally event this year. He seems he had an inkling of what was to come!

FALLON SHERROCK (Pic: Christopher Dean)

For the 2019 World Championship, the PDC innovated once more. A direct route for female players to play in the championships was introduced for the first time. Lisa Ashton and Anastasia were the qualifiers, from very high-quality field, and both played strongly in the main event.  This year the route has been extended to include a UK and a Rest of the World style qualifying event.  

Mikuru Suzuki,37, will debut at Ally Pally after capturing the Lakeside title in 2019. She is familiar with the PDC set up, and atmosphere, after being selected by the BDO for this year’s Grand Slam of Darts. The Japanese star made things deciding decidedly uncomfortable for Gerwyn Price in her opening match. Despite not qualifying for the knockout stage she will have gained valuable experience, and having little to lose, and could be very dangerous indeed. 

(PIC;LAWRENC LUSTIG) FALLON SHARROCK PRESS CONFERENCE

Fallon Sherrock has been somewhat overshadowed in recent years. The former World Championship finalist, and twice major title winner, has been outmatched by Lisa Ashton and now Suzuki. The twenty-five-year-old hairdresser has, however, had a superb 2019, winning several titles all around Europe. She then played superbly in the ladies’ qualifying event averaging close to 100.

Her debut at Alexandra Palace will introduce her to a whole new audience and may prove another boost to her career. 

The form and ability of the female representatives keeps getting stronger and stronger. It may not be long until darts becomes a fully integrated sport. 


Fallon Sherrock Makes BBC Poll Shortlist. Vote Now!

Fallon Sherrock’s superb run at the 2020 World Darts Championship has been recognised with a nomination for BBC Sports’ ‘Best British Women’s Sporting Moment’.

2020 ALEXANDRA PALACE (PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG) FALLON SHERROCK PRESS CONFERENCE

Readers can vote here in order to see the ‘Queen of the Ally Pally’ recognised. World Champion Peter Wright is quoted in support of Sherrock:

My best women’s sporting moment is Fallon Sherrock winning her first game at the PDC World Championship against Ted Evetts.

It was absolutely fantastic, up against men, long-distance with all the pressure from the TV cameras and all the news around the world. She did fantastically.

It’s fantastic to see Fallon’s effort bracketed amongst some of the most iconic moments in UK sport. Jessica Ennis, Tracey Crouch, and Katherine Grainger are just a few of the other contenders.

If your a fan of Fallon, ladies darts or even simply darts. pop on over to the BBC sport site and make your view known! Darts World already have!

You can check out all the other iconic moments and register your support at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/52721798


Featured Pic: L Lustig/PDC

Uk Open Underway – Results and Round Up.

The Ladbrokes UK Open is underway in its 2020 iteration. Lisa Ashton has fallen at the first fence, defeated by Mike de Decker, and Fallon Sherrock has also been knocked out. Former World Champion Scott Waites has made a strong start and has already claimed two victories. Adam Smith Neale joins the list of the early departed, Callan Rydz defeated the former Winmau World Master six – three.

Waites is moving through the field strongly on day one.

2020 Ladbrokes UK Open
Friday March 6
Afternoon Session (1100 GMT Start, 1200 GMT on Main Stage)
First, Second & Third Rounds 
Main Stage

Mike De Decker 6-2 Lisa Ashton (R1)
Scott Waites 6-4 Damon Heta (R1)
Kyle McKinstry 6-1 Fallon Sherrock (R1)
Mark McGeeney 6-5 Scott Baker (R2)
John Michael 6-5 Jeff Smith (R2)
Kevin Doets 6-3 David Pallett (R2)
Kyle McKinstry 6-4 Jason Heaver (R2)
Luke Humphries v Kyle Anderson (R3)
Kim Huybrechts v Robert Thornton (R3)
Josh Payne v Luke Woodhouse (R3)

LIGHTS, CAMERA - BUT NO ACTION
Photo; DG Media/PDC Europe

Stage Two
Cody Harris 6-5 Scott Taylor (R1)
Kai Fan Leung 6-3 Kelvin Self (R1)
Karel Sedlacek 6-0 Adam Hunt (R1)
Alan Tabern 6-2 Keane Barry (R1)
Andy Hamilton 6-3 Patrick Lynskey (R1)
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-0 Marko Kantele (R2)
Scott Waites 6-1 Geert Nentjes (R2)
Mike De Decker 6-5 Daniel Larsson (R2)
Bradley Brooks 6-2 Nick Kenny (R2)
Ryan Searle 6-5 Cristo Reyes (R3)
William O’Connor 6-2 Jan Dekker (R3)
Vincent van der Voort v John Michael (R3)
William Borland v Mike De Decker (R3)

Czech star Karel Sedlacek claimed a strong win over Barrie Bates 6-2. Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Stage Three
Steffen Siepmann 6-4 Krzysztof Kciuk (R1)
Peter Jacques 6-4 Ciaran Teehan (R1)
Steve Brown 6-5 Michael Barnard (R1)
Daniel Larsson 6-5 Ryan Meikle (R1)
Harry Ward 6-5 Gavin Carlin (R2)
Kai Fan Leung 6-2 Kirk Shepherd (R2)
Karel Sedlacek 6-2 Barrie Bates (R2)
Rhys Hayden 6-4 James Richardson (R2)
Richard North 6-4 Ron Meulenkamp (R3)
Steve West 6-2 Conan Whitehead (R3)
Bradley Brooks 6-4 Devon Petersen (R3)
Wesley Harms v Martin Atkins (R3)
Stephen Burton v Kyle McKinstry (R3)

Stage Four
Jason Askew 6-4 Greg Ritchie (R1)
Jason Heaver 6-0 Jesus Noguera (R1)
Adam Smith-Neale 6-4 Ben Cheeseman (R1)
Nathan Rafferty 6-3 Darren Beveridge (R1)
Andy Boulton 6-2 Reece Robinson (R2)
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-3 Nathan Derry (R2)
Wesley Harms 6-5 Justin Smith (R2)
Madars Razma 6-4 Derk Telnekes (R2)
Jamie Lewis 6-5 Ross Smith (R3)
Ted Evetts v James Wilson (R3)
Steve Lennon v Alan Tabern (R3)
Mickey Mansell v Niels Zonneveld (R3)

Stage Five
Stephen Burton 6-1 Adam Huckvale (R1)
Rhys Hayden 6-5 James Clark (R1)
Bradley Brooks 6-5 Cameron Menzies (R1)
Harald Leitinger 6-1 Kevin Burness (R1)
Jonathan Worsley 6-4 Matt Clark (R2)
Steffen Siepmann 6-2 Carl Wilkinson (R2)
Ted Evetts 6-1 Berry van Peer (R2)
Alan Tabern 6-3 Steve Brown (R2)
Justin Pipe 6-3 Kai Fan Leung (R3)
Ryan Joyce 6-2 Yordi Meeuwisse (R3)
Lewis Williams 6-4 Jose De Sousa (R3)
Nathan Rafferty v Jamie Hughes (R3)

Stage Six
Wesley Harms 6-3 Aaron Beeney (R1)
Danny van Trijp 6-4 Boris Koltsov (R1)
William Borland 6-2 Andrew Davidson (R1)
Lewis Williams 6-5 Robert Owen (R1)
Jason Lowe 6-1 Cody Harris (R2)
Martin Atkins 6-2 Christian Bunse (R2)
Nathan Rafferty 6-1 Mike van Duivenbode (R2)
Niels Zonneveld 6-4 Andy Hamilton (R2)
Gabriel Clemens 6-3 Maik Kuivenhoven (R3)
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Darius Labanauskas (R3)
Rhys Hayden 6-2 Toni Alcinas (R3)
Matthew Edgar 6-3 Callan Rydz (R3)

Stage Seven
Martin Atkins 6-5 Ryan Murray (R1)
Callan Rydz 6-5 Shane McGuirk (R1)
Wayne Jones 6-1 Gary Blades (R1)
Berry van Peer 6-3 Owen Roelofs (R1)
Jason Askew 6-5 Rowby-John Rodriguez (R2)
Yordi Meeuwisse 6-3 Peter Jacques (R2)
Lewis Williams 6-3 Adrian Gray (R2)
Joe Murnan 6-3 Harald Leitinger (R2)
Martin Schindler 6-4 Benito van de Pas (R3)
Andy Boulton 6-4 Mark McGeeney (R3)
Jonathan Worsley v Jason Lowe (R3)
Madars Razma v Scott Waites (R3)

Stage Eight
Justin Smith 6-3 Andy Jenkins (R1)
Derk Telnekes 6-3 Martijn Kleermaker (R1)
James Richardson 6-4 Darren Penhall (R1)
Kevin Doets 6-1 Alfie Thompson (R1)
Stephen Burton 6-4 Vincent van der Meer (R2)
Conan Whitehead 6-3 Wayne Jones (R2)
William Borland 6-0 Danny van Trijp (R2)
Callan Rydz 6-3 Adam Smith-Neale (R2)
Jelle Klaasen 6-4 Jason Askew (R3)
Harry Ward 6-3 Steffen Siepmann (R3)
Joe Murnan 6-3 Karel Sedlacek (R3)
Simon Stevenson 6-5 Kevin Doets (R3)

Schedule of Play
Friday March 6
Afternoon Session (1100 GMT start – 1200 GMT start on Main Stage)

First, Second & Third Rounds
Main Stage, Stage Two & Stages Three-Eight

Evening Session (1900 GMT start)
Fourth Round
Main Stage, Stage Two & Stages Three-Eight

Saturday March 7 
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT start)
Fifth Round
Main Stage, Stage Two & Stages Three-Four

Evening Session (1900 GMT start)
Sixth Round
Main Stage & Stage Two
* NB Session times for Saturday amended from one session to two sessions.

Sunday March 8
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT start)

Quarter-Finals
Main Stage

Evening Session (1900 GMT start)
Semi-Finals & Final
Main Stage

Format
First, Second & Third Rounds – Best of 11 legs
Fourth, Fifth & Sixth Rounds & Quarter-Finals – Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals & Final – Best of 21 legs

Prize Fund
Winner – £100,000
Runner-Up – £40,000
Semi-Finalists – £20,000
Quarter-Finalists – £12,500
Sixth Round Losers – £7,500
Fifth Round Losers – £4,000
Fourth Round Losers – £2,000
Third Round Losers – £1,000
Total – £450,000


Ladbrokes UK Open – Preview and Schedule.

The 2020 Ladbrokes UK Open begins on Friday at Butlin’s Minehead Resort, with Nathan Aspinall looking to defend the title he sensationally won 12 months ago.

2019 UK Open (PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG) NATHAN ASPINALL WINS

The unique tournament, played across eight boards simultaneously in the early rounds, will see 160 players competing in the ‘festival of darts’ from March 6-8.

The first round will feature Tour Card Holders 97-127 along with the eight Challenge Tour Qualifiers, nine Development Tour Qualifiers and 16 Rileys Qualifiers.

The opening three rounds will take place in the afternoon session on Friday March 6, with the top 32 entering at the fourth round stage in the evening session.

Friday’s play begins at 1100 GMT on Stages Two to Eight, while the Main Stage action begins at 1200 GMT as Lisa Ashton opens the tournament against Belgium’s Mike De Decker.

PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG LISA ASHTON IN ACTION

“I think I might be a bit nervous playing in a new venue but I am really looking forward to it,” said Ashton, who became the first woman to win a PDC Tour Card in January, guaranteeing a UK Open spot.

“When I won my Tour Card I hadn’t even thought about being in the UK Open, it took a while to sink in.

“I am enjoying life on the tour, I’m learning all the time because it’s completely different to what I’m used to but everyone has been very welcoming.

“My standard is improving all the time and hopefully this weekend I can show that.

“The last time I was on a PDC stage was at the World Championship two years ago and I loved every minute of that, so it will be great to get back up there in front of the amazing atmosphere.

“Women’s darts is in a great place right now, there’s a lot of interest around us. The support I’ve had has been really overwhelming.”

Ashton will be joined in the first round by Fallon Sherrock, who shot to global fame in December by becoming the first woman to win a match at the PDC World Championship.

Sherrock made history once again in February by becoming the first woman to win a Rileys Qualifier for the UK Open, coming through a field of over 200 players in Wolverhampton.

Her return to PDC action will see her face Northern Ireland’s Kyle McKinstry on the Main Stage in another first round tie.

PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG : FALLON SHERROCK IN ACTION

“It’s really exciting,” said Sherrock. “It was a hard day in Wolverhampton just to qualify so now I’m there I want to enjoy it because I’ve watched it on TV before and it’s a great event.
 
“It’s going to be another huge experience for me because the UK Open is such a different tournament to the World Championship and the Premier League.
 
“I’m used to events where you play a few games in a day so I’ll just focus on each game as it comes and not look too far ahead, and my focus is on preparing to play Kyle.
 
“I know Kyle from the tour and we’ve been at a lot of events together in the past and he’s a good scorer and a very good player.”

Another pick of the first round ties will see Brisbane Darts Masters winner Damon Heta of Australia take on two-time BDO champion Scott Waites in the battle of new Tour Card Holders.

Stage Two’s matches from the first round include former UK Open runner-up Andy Hamilton against Patrick Lynskey as well as New Zealand’s Cody Harris, Hong Kong’s Kai Fan Leung and Czech debutant Karel Sedlacek bringing an international flavour to the event.

The Silencer has started 2020 very impressively. Can he keep it up at the UK Open?

The first round winners will be joined by Tour Card Holders 65-96 in round two, as former BDO number one Mark McGeeney faces Scott Baker and Canadian ace Jeff Smith plays Greece’s John Michael in the Main Stage games.

Friday’s opening session will also see round three take place, featuring the winners from round two along with Tour Card Holders 33-64, as World Youth Champion Luke Humphries faces Australian number two Kyle Anderson in a tasty tie on the Main Stage.

The third round will also see 2012 UK Open champion Robert Thornton face Kim Huybrechts on the Main Stage, while Ireland’s World Cup finalist William O’Connor plays Jan Dekker on Stage Two.

At the conclusion of the third round, an open draw will be made live on the Main Stage for round four.

The world’s top 32 come into the event in Friday evening’s fourth round, including defending champion Aspinall, world number one Michael van Gerwen and former UK Open champions Peter Wright, Gary Anderson Adrian Lewis and James Wade.

The Adonis maintains his record of playing every UK Open since 2003.

Wade is joined by Steve Beaton and Wayne Jones as the only three players to have played in every staging of the UK Open since its inception in 2003.

Aspinall embarked on a fairytale run to the title last year, defeating Rob Cross in the final to claim his first PDC televised title.

The 28-year-old has since gone on to establish himself amongst the world’s elite, earning a Premier League place having won the US Darts Masters and reached the semi-finals of the World Championship for a second successive year.

“Winning the UK Open last year is something that will stay with me forever,” said Aspinall.

“The feeling when the match-winning 170 went in is a magical moment that I get goosebumps just thinking about.

“Winning that title was the start of establishing myself among the world’s elite.

“It gave me the belief that I could beat anyone and win anything, and that confidence has made me the player I am today.

“But I’m always looking forward, rather than back, and I’m targeting a good run this weekend.”

The action continues on Saturday March 7 with the fifth and sixth rounds across two sessions, before Sunday’s closing stages are played out on the Main Stage.

The draw for the fifth and sixth rounds will be conducted on the Main Stage at the conclusion of the fourth round, once again with the UK Open’s unique open draw format in place.

Players will compete for a £100,000 top prize, with a total prize fund of £450,000 on offer being paid down to the last 96.

Action from the Main Stage will be broadcast live on ITV4 in the UK, through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7, and on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers.

Play on Stage Two on Friday and Saturday will be broadcast live on PDCTV for all PDCTV Subscribers worldwide.

2020 Ladbrokes UK Open
Friday March 6
Afternoon Session (1100 GMT Start, 1200 GMT on Main Stage)
First, Second & Third Rounds 
Main Stage
Mike De Decker v Lisa Ashton (R1)
Damon Heta v Scott Waites (R1)
Kyle McKinstry v Fallon Sherrock (R1)
Scott Baker v Mark McGeeney (R2)
Jeff Smith v John Michael (R2)
David Pallett v Doets/Thompson (R2)
Heaver/Noguera v McKinstry/Sherrock (R2)
Luke Humphries v Kyle Anderson (R3)
Kim Huybrechts v Robert Thornton (R3)
Josh Payne v Luke Woodhouse (R3)

Stage Two
Cody Harris v Scott Taylor (R1)
Kai Fan Leung v Kelvin Self (R1)
Adam Hunt v Karel Sedlacek (R1)
Keane Barry v Alan Tabern (R1)
Andy Hamilton v Patrick Lynskey (R1)
Marko Kantele v Dirk van Duijvenbode (R2)
Heta/Waites v Geert Nentjes (R2)
Larsson/Meikle v De Decker/Ashton (R2)
Menzies/Brooks v Nick Kenny (R2)
Ryan Searle v Cristo Reyes (R3)
William O’Connor v Jan Dekker (R3)
Vincent van der Voort v Smith/Michael (R3)
Koltsov/Van Trijp/Davidson/Borland v Larsson/Meikle/De Decker/Ashton (R3)

Stage Three
Steffen Siepmann v Krzysztof Kciuk (R1)
Peter Jacques v Ciaran Teehan (R1)
Michael Barnard v Steve Brown (R1)
Daniel Larsson v Ryan Meikle (R1)
Harry Ward v Gavin Carlin (R2)
Kirk Shepherd v Leung/Self (R2)
Hunt/Sedlacek v Barrie Bates (R2)
Hayden/J Clark v Richardson/Penhall (R2)
Ron Meulenkamp v Richard North (R3)
Jones/Blades/Whitehead v Steve West (R3)
Devon Petersen v Menzies/Brooks/Kenny (R3)
Justin Smith/Jenkins/Beeney/Harms v Atkins/Murray/Bunse (R3)
Huckvale/Burton/Van der Meer v Heaver/Noguera/McKinstry/Sherrock (R3)

Stage Four
Jason Askew v Greg Ritchie (R1)
Jason Heaver v Jesus Noguera (R1)
Adam Smith-Neale v Ben Cheeseman (R1)
Darren Beveridge v Nathan Rafferty (R1)
Andy Boulton v Reece Robinson (R2)
Nathan Derry v Maik Kuivenhoven (R2)
Justin Smith/Jenkins v Beeney/Harms (R2)
Telnekes/Kleermaker v Madars Razma (R2)
Jamie Lewis v Ross Smith (R3)
Evetts/Van Peer/Roelofs v James Wilson (R3)
Steve Lennon v Barnard/Brown/Barry/Tabern (R3)
Mickey Mansell v Zonneveld/Hamilton/Lynskey (R3)

Stage Five
Adam Huckvale v Stephen Burton (R1)
Rhys Hayden v James Clark (R1)
Cameron Menzies v Bradley Brooks (R1)
Kevin Burness v Harald Leitinger (R1)
Jonathan Worsley v Matt Clark (R2)
Carl Wilkinson v Siepmann/Kciuk (R2)
Ted Evetts v Van Peer/Roelofs (R2)
Barnard/Brown v Barry/Tabern (R2)
Justin Pipe v Shepherd/Leung/Self (R3)
Ryan Joyce v Jacques/Teehan/Meeuwisse (R3)
Jose De Sousa v Williams/Owen/Gray (R3)
Van Duivenbode/Beveridge/Rafferty v Jamie Hughes (R3)

Stage Six
Aaron Beeney v Wesley Harms (R1)
Boris Koltsov v Danny van Trijp (R1)
Andrew Davidson v William Borland (R1)
Lewis Williams v Robert Owen (R1)
Harris/Taylor v Jason Lowe (R2)
Atkins/Murray v Christian Bunse (R2)
Mike van Duivenbode v Beveridge/Rafferty (R2)
Niels Zonneveld v Hamilton/Lynskey (R2)
Derry/Kuivenhoven v Gabriel Clemens (R3)
Darius Labanauskas v Kantele/Van Duijvenbode (R3)
Hayden/J Clark/Richardson/Penhall v Toni Alcinas (R3)
Matthew Edgar v Smith-Neale/Cheeseman/McGuirk/Rydz (R3)

Stage Seven
Martin Atkins v Ryan Murray (R1)
Shane McGuirk v Callan Rydz (R1)
Wayne Jones v Gary Blades (R1)
Berry van Peer v Owen Roelofs (R1)
Rowby-John Rodriguez v Askew/Ritchie (R2)
Jacques/Teehan v Yordi Meeuwisse (R2)
Williams/Owen v Adrian Gray (R2)
Burness/Leitinger v Joe Murnan (R2)
Martin Schindler v Benito van de Pas (R3)
Baker/McGeeney v Boulton/Robinson (R3)
Worsley/M Clark v Harris/Taylor/Lowe (R3)
Telnekes/Kleermaker/Razma v Heta/Waites/Nentjes (R3)

Stage Eight
Justin Smith v Andy Jenkins (R1)
Derk Telnekes v Martijn Kleermaker (R1)
James Richardson v Darren Penhall (R1)
Kevin Doets v Alfie Thompson (R1)
Huckvale/Burton v Vincent van der Meer (R2)
Jones/Blades v Conan Whitehead (R2)
Koltsov/Van Trijp v Davidson/Borland (R2)
Smith-Neale/Cheeseman v McGuirk/Rydz (R2)
Jelle Klaasen v Rodriguez/Askew/Ritchie (R3)
Ward/Carlin v Wilkinson/Siepmann/Kciuk (R3)
Pallett/Doets/Thompson v Simon Stevenson (R3)
Hunt/Sedlacek/Bates v Burness/Leitinger/Murnan (R3)

Schedule of Play
Friday March 6
Afternoon Session (1100 GMT start – 1200 GMT start on Main Stage)
First, Second & Third Rounds
Main Stage, Stage Two & Stages Three-Eight

Evening Session (1900 GMT start)
Fourth Round
Main Stage, Stage Two & Stages Three-Eight

Saturday March 7 
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT start)
Fifth Round
Main Stage, Stage Two & Stages Three-Four

Evening Session (1900 GMT start)
Sixth Round
Main Stage & Stage Two

Sunday March 8
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT start)
Quarter-Finals
Main Stage

Evening Session (1900 GMT start)
Semi-Finals & Final
Main Stage

Format
First, Second & Third Rounds – Best of 11 legs
Fourth, Fifth & Sixth Rounds & Quarter-Finals – Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals & Final – Best of 21 legs

Prize Fund
Winner – £100,000
Runner-Up – £40,000
Semi-Finalists – £20,000
Quarter-Finalists – £12,500
Sixth Round Losers – £7,500
Fifth Round Losers – £4,000
Fourth Round Losers – £2,000
Third Round Losers – £1,000
Total – £450,000

​ENDS

The Last Word – Preview of Patrick Chaplin’s February Column.

So the World Championships are over for another year; one a spectacle, the other, well I’m not so sure…

PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG ‘QUEEN OF THE PALACE’ FALLON SHERROCK IS ACCLAIMED BY THE CROWD.

But of course the one person who hogged all the headlines was Milton Keynes’ Fallon Sherrock and deservedly so. What a performance! You don’t need me to tell you the story. We all know that Fallon became the first female player to beat a top male player in a World Championship and went on to beat another before falling to a third. In all my years of writing about the ladies game I’ve never known anything like it and I guess neither have you.

The media response to Fallon’s breaking through the ‘glass ceiling’ was immense, even warranting column inches in The Economist magazine! Journalist Bo Franklin wrote

Ms Sherrock, a far cry from the beer-bellied blokes who used to typify the game, symbolises how, in recent years, darts has gone from a peculiar British pastime to an entertainment juggernaut with transatlantic ambitions.

This has been great for Fallon who will surely go on to even better things but it’s also so good for women’s darts. Now that women’s darts has attracted the world’s attention what will happen? How can the momentum be maintained? I was hoping that it would start with impressive ladies’ performances in the BDO World Championships which largely, I have to say, disappointed.

Sadly Fallon’s success was, if only temporarily, overshadowed by the BDO having to slash the prize money in its World Championships something that, it appears, warranted Fallon withdrawing from that tournament. Part of me felt disappointed for her and the sport of darts but the other part said “Good on you Fallon. You now have control.”

Fallon will now work with her management and the PDC (probably harder than she has ever worked before) and who knows where it may lead. Of course, other women have preceded her by qualifying for the PDC World Championships. I expect the best of them, including Lisa Ashton, Anastasia Dobromyslova and Mikuru Suzuki, to lead the rest of the pack into this new era of women’s darts. If the opportunities present themselves then I am absolutely sure they will embrace them and that many others will then follow.

Fallon has shown that it can be done. (We all knew it could. We just didn’t know exactly when.) A top woman player can beat top men. Now all we need is for a woman to go one better and become PDC World Champion, I guess not yet awhile, but having said that who thought Fallon could beat Ted Evetts, let alone 11th seed Mensur Suljovic and then give Chris Dobey a run for his money? Come on. Be honest!………….


Patrick goes on to discuss Peter Wright’s victory, the BDO Championship and much more.

Patrick’s column and newsletter is supported by Winmau

Find more of Dr Darts work, and check out his monthly newsletter, at patrickchaplin.com

Wright & MVG Head-to-Head on Opening Night of Unibet Premier League.

Peter Wright and Michael van Gerwen will renew rivalries on the opening night of the 2020 Unibet Premier League season in Aberdeen on Thursday February 6, with fixtures for the opening nine nights now confirmed.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG : MICHAEL VAN GERWEN WINS PREMIER LEAGUE.

Wright claimed World Championship glory on New Year’s Day at Alexandra Palace as he defeated Van Gerwen 7-3 to claim the Sid Waddell Trophy and take the Dutchman’s mantle as World Champion.

Van Gerwen, though, will be aiming for revenge as he opens his challenge to win an unprecedented fifth successive Premier League title in their meeting at the new P&J Live in Aberdeen.

The opening night will also see Scottish hero Gary Anderson make his Premier League return against Daryl Gurney, while newcomer Glen Durrant plays Michael Smith and Gerwyn Price takes on Rob Cross.

Local hero John Henderson will be the Challenger in Aberdeen, and he will face UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall in the opening night’s other fixture, with over 8,000 fans set to pack the venue.

PIC;LAWRENCE
SHERROCK IN ACTION

Fallon Sherrock, who created history as the first female to taste victory at the World Championship in December, will appear as a Challenger on Night Two in Nottingham, taking on three-time BDO Champion Durrant.

The night also features a rematch of the 2019 UK Open final as Aspinall plays Cross, while Scottish World Cup champions Wright and Anderson face off and Van Gerwen plays Gurney.

Top Welshman Price will take on Gurney on Night Three as the Premier League visits Cardiff, where Welsh number two Jonny Clayton appears as a Challenger against Smith, while Van Gerwen plays Aspinall in a repeat of their recent World Championship semi-final.

Night Four in Dublin sees Ireland’s World Cup finalist William O’Connor compete as a Challenger against Van Gerwen, as Price and Wright meet in a rematch of their thrilling clashes in the 2019 Grand Slam of Darts final and recent World Championship semi-finals.

World Youth Champion Luke Humphries’ appearance as a Challenger in Exeter will see him take on Anderson, while Van Gerwen and Smith meet in a repeat of the 2018 Premier League and 2019 World Championship finals.

The meeting between Van Gerwen and Price will headline the visit to Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena on Night Six, where Merseyside’s Stephen Bunting returns to the Premier League to take on Cross.

Chris Dobey takes to the stage in Newcastle on Night Seven, with the local hero set to face Gurney on a night which also sees Middlesbrough’s Durrant take on World Champion Wright and Van Gerwen’s clash with Cross.

The first phase of the Premier League season then concludes with a double-header at Rotterdam Ahoy on March 25-26, which includes Judgement Night as the ninth-placed player in the league table is eliminated.

Night Eight sees Van Gerwen taking on Durrant, while rising Dutch star Jeffrey de Zwaan will take on Wright.

The fixtures on Judgement Night include Van Gerwen resuming his rivalry with Anderson on the Premier League stage and Price facing Dutch Challenger Jermaine Wattimena.

Following Judgement Night, the remaining eight players meet once more in the remaining seven league nights in Belfast, Sheffield, Manchester, Berlin, Birmingham, Glasgow and Leeds.

The top four players then progress to face off for the title, and a £250,000 top prize, in the Play-Offs at The O2 in London on Thursday May 21.

Tickets for the 2020 Unibet Premier League are available from venue box offices listed below.

The tournament will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.


2020 Unibet Premier League – Fixtures

Night One – Thursday February 6

P&J Live, Aberdeen

Michael Smith v Glen Durrant

Gary Anderson v Daryl Gurney

Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright

Nathan Aspinall v John Henderson

Gerwyn Price v Rob Cross

Tickets: ticketmaster.co.uk

Night Two – Thursday February 13

Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham

Rob Cross v Nathan Aspinall

Gerwyn Price v Michael Smith

Gary Anderson v Peter Wright

Glen Durrant v Fallon Sherrock

Daryl Gurney v Michael van Gerwen

Tickets: motorpointarenanottingham.com

Night Three – Thursday February 20

Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Peter Wright v Rob Cross

Jonny Clayton v Michael Smith

Michael van Gerwen v Nathan Aspinall

Daryl Gurney v Gerwyn Price

Glen Durrant v Gary Anderson

Tickets: motorpointarenacardiff.co.uk

Night Four – Thursday February 27

3Arena, Dublin

Glen Durrant v Nathan Aspinall

Rob Cross v Gary Anderson

Daryl Gurney v Michael Smith

William O’Connor v Michael van Gerwen

Gerwyn Price v Peter Wright

Tickets: ticketmaster.ie

Night Five – Thursday March 5

Westpoint Exeter

Rob Cross v Daryl Gurney

Gerwyn Price v Glen Durrant

Nathan Aspinall v Peter Wright

Gary Anderson v Luke Humphries

Michael Smith v Michael van Gerwen

Tickets: ticketzone.co.uk

Night Six – Thursday March 12

M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool

Michael Smith v Peter Wright

Daryl Gurney v Glen Durrant

Gerwyn Price v Michael van Gerwen

Rob Cross v Stephen Bunting

Gary Anderson v Nathan Aspinall

Tickets: mandsbankarena.com

Night Seven – Thursday March 19

Utilita Arena, Newcastle

Michael Smith v Gary Anderson

Michael van Gerwen v Rob Cross

Nathan Aspinall v Gerwyn Price

Chris Dobey v Daryl Gurney

Peter Wright v Glen Durrant

Tickets: ticketmaster.co.uk

Night Eight – Wednesday March 25

Rotterdam Ahoy

Gary Anderson v Gerwyn Price

Nathan Aspinall v Daryl Gurney

Michael Smith v Rob Cross

Michael van Gerwen v Glen Durrant

Peter Wright v Jeffrey de Zwaan

Tickets: ticketmaster.nl

Judgement Night – Thursday March 26

Rotterdam Ahoy

Glen Durrant v Rob Cross

Nathan Aspinall v Michael Smith

Peter Wright v Daryl Gurney

Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson

Jermaine Wattimena v Gerwyn Price

Tickets: ticketmaster.nl

Night Ten – Thursday April 2

SSE Arena, Belfast

Tickets: ticketmaster.ie

Night 11 – Thursday April 9

FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield

Tickets: flydsaarena.co.uk

Night 12 – Thursday April 16

The Manchester Arena

Tickets: ticketmaster.co.uk

Night 13 – Thursday April 23

Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin

Tickets: mercedes-benz-arena-berlin.de

Night 14 – Thursday April 30

Arena Birmingham

Tickets: theticketfactory.com

Night 15 – Thursday May 7

The SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Tickets: ticketmaster.co.uk

Night 16 – Thursday May 14

First Direct Arena, Leeds

Tickets: firstdirectarena.com

Play-Offs – Thursday May 21

The O2, London

Tickets: theo2.co.uk

The Devonshire Discussion – Have The PDC Jumped The Shark With Sherrock?

Now the dust has settled on this years PDC Q School, one of the big talking points has to be “Were the PDC too quick in their decision to include Fallon Sherrock in every single World Series Event”.

Fallon Sherrock has received many opportunities, after her superb run at Ally Pally, but is there room for Ashton and others?
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Yes we all witnessed history at The Ally Pally’ Fallon winning two matches there to progress to the 3rd Round, an incredible achievement and rightly on the back of that she was named as a Challenger for one of the Premier League nights.  However given the recent situations with the BDO it was common knowledge that quite a few other female players were going to be attending Q School along with Fallon.

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FALLON SHARROCK PRESS CONFERENCE

After Fallon was named as a Premier League Challenger she was then included to play in every single World Series event. There was always going to be the prospect that she may not have gained a Tour Card whilst another female player could have and today we have seen this happen with 4 time BDO Ladies Champion Lisa Ashton creating her own history by winning a place on the main PDC Tour. Surely this achievement should gain her an invitation to at least one World Series event?

Maybe the PDC will have two ladies playing every World Series event or maybe they could have announced Fallon to play two or three to begin with and then the opening was there to include another female namely Lisa Ashton to play a few of the events. Hopefully Lisa gets a place in a few of them.

Lisa Ashton has made history multiple times. Surely more opportunities will come her way?
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Perhaps Barry Hearn will create other opportunities for Ashton, and other female players, from within the Pro Tour structure. Could there be a gender specific qualifier for the UK Open in the same as there was for the World Championship?

One thing is for sure it’s good for World Darts and for Ladies darts in general and this is only the beginning. 

10 Players of the Darting Decade – Lisa Ashton.

Another of our 10 players of the decade. It is a pleasure to include a female player with no fear that it may be considered tokenism. The Lancashire Rose has knocked down many doors already and I don’t believe she has finished yet:

Lisa Ashton earned her right to take on the PDC’s best at Ally Pally.
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With the recent, much deserved, attention given to Mikuru Suzuki, and Fallon Sherrock, there is a danger that the huge contribution of Lisa Ashton may be overshadowed.

During the 2010s the four-time World Champion cranked up her performances and captured every title available to her, time and time again. ‘The Lancashire Rose’ seems to have at least a hattrick of every major event. This was achieved against a backdrop of rising standards and a broadening of women’s darts.

The winners of the 2016 World Darts Trophy Darryl Fitton & Lisa Ashton. Photo : David Gill / DG Media

Instead of only a few high-quality players, as had been the case in previous decades, there were more and more as the decade progressed. Veteran stars such as Deta Hedman seemed to improve and consolidate while new youngsters like Sherrock and Zoe Jones came through. Ashton still dominated.

The forty-nine-year-old English thrower had risen to prominence at the end of the previous decade and claimed her first notable title in 2008. She seemed to really step up a gear in 2011, claiming first the English national championships and then the Winmau World Masters. In 2012 she defended both titles and reached her first World final, defeated by Anastasia, at the start of 2013. Lisa corrected the glaring omission from her trophy cabinet in 2014, winning the World title and reversing the defeat to Anastasia of twelve months before. Ashton dominated women’s darts from that point on. She is now a four-time world champion (and in a fifth final) in addition to the multiple trophies from the other majors.

After the best part of five years dominating, BDO/WDF, Women’s darts, rule changes enabled Lisa to take on a new challenge and test herself in a new way. In 2019 she began to play PDC events on a level playing field with players of both sexes. She was not alone in making the attempt, and, it seemed that something had tipped for the ladies’ game.

WILLIAM HILL WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP 2019 PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG ROUND 1 LISA ASHTON V JAN DEKKER LISA ASHTON IN ACTION

First, Ashton took advantage of an offer from the PDC to attempt qualification for the World Championship in 2018. After claiming her place she made her Ally Pally in the 2018/19 event. She started her first-round clash impressively and emerged with great credit and popularity. She then to attended the PDC Q School event and attempt to gain a professional Tour Card. Although ultimately unsuccessful, she reached the last sixteen twice and finished high enough to remove any further doubts as to her ability to compete.

Ashton then opted to combine the BDO Women’s game with the Challenge Tour of the PDC. She has acquitted herself strongly and gained wins from her debut game (Toon Greebe). She has repeatedly reached the last 16 of these events and defeated players of both sexes and all ranks and degrees of fame.

Although the last year has been less successful, in terms of the Women’s game, Ashton has also demonstrated that it is possible to straddle codes and both ‘Open’ & Ladies darts. Lisa has now played in the World Championships and The Grand Slam of Darts (PDC) as well as the Women’s World Championship, and World Masters, within the BDO system.

GRANDSLAM OF DARTS 2019 ROB CROSS V LISA ASHTON
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It is almost impossible to calculate or overestimate the importance of Lisa Ashton to darts. The next decade may see a huge explosion in mixed-gender darts at all levels and across all codes. ‘The Lancashire’ Rose may well have been the catalyst for it all.


Challengers Announced – PDC Premier League Field Completed.

The nine Challengers who will feature in the opening nine nights of the 2020 Unibet Premier League have been confirmed.

DOBEY WILL JOIN FALLON SHERROCVK AS A ‘CHALLENGER’ IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE 2020
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG FALLON SHERROCK and CHRIS DOBEY IN ACTION

In a return to last year’s popular format, nine players will compete under the re-branded ‘Challengers‘ banner, with John Henderson and Fallon Sherrock already confirmed as guest players for the opening two nights.

Scottish crowd favourite Henderson is set to get the campaign off to a bang at the new P&J Live in Aberdeen, before history-maker Sherrock becomes the first woman to star in the Premier League in Nottingham.

Johnny Clayton will be at home in Cardiff.
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The Premier League roadshow then rolls on to Cardiff and Dublin where Welsh number two Jonny Clayton and Irish World Cup runner-up William O’Connor will make their Premier League debuts respectively.
 
World Youth Champion Luke Humphries will feature in Exeter, while Merseyside man Stephen Bunting will make his Premier League comeback in Liverpool.
 
Two-time televised semi-finalist Chris Dobey will hope to enjoy another memorable night in Newcastle, before Dutch duo Jeffrey de Zwaan and Jermaine Wattimena entertain the sea of orange in Rotterdam.
 
Points won by Challengers will not count towards the league table, however their opponents will retain any points gained from the matches. Challengers will receive financial bonuses for winning or drawing their matches.
 
Following the opening nine nights of fixtures, the player placed ninth on the Premier League table following Judgement Night in Rotterdam on March 26 will be eliminated from the competition.

The Magpie will be on home turf in Dublin.
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WILLIAM O’CONNOR IN ACTION

The remaining eight players will then battle it out from Nights Ten to 16 in the race to win places in the Play-Offs at The O2 on Thursday May 21, with newly-crowned World Champion Peter Wright and world number one Michael van Gerwen among the regular nine players.
 
Fans in Belfast and Glasgow will also have the chance to welcome home local heroes in Daryl Gurney, Gary Anderson and Wright, while Gerwyn Price will entertain a passionate Welsh crowd in Cardiff.
 
Nathan Aspinall and Glen Durrant are the new additions to the Premier League line-up in 2020, while former finalists Rob Cross and Michael Smith are among the returning stars.

The 2020 Unibet Premier League will be played from February 6 – May 21 2020 at venues across Europe.

The tournament will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, on PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.

2020 Unibet Premier League field
Michael van Gerwen
Peter Wright
Gerwyn Price
Rob Cross
Michael Smith
Gary Anderson
Daryl Gurney
Nathan Aspinall
Glen Durrant

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JERMAINE WATTIMENA – ADDS TO THE DUTCH CONTINGENT FOR ROTTERDAM!

2020 Unibet Premier League Challengers
John Henderson (Aberdeen, Night One)
Fallon Sherrock (Nottingham, Night Two)
Jonny Clayton (Cardiff, Night Three)
William O’Connor (Dublin, Night Four)
Luke Humphries (Exeter, Night Five)
Stephen Bunting (Liverpool, Night Six)
Chris Dobey (Newcastle, Night Seven)
Jeffrey de Zwaan (Rotterdam, Night Eight)
Jermaine Wattimena (Rotterdam, Night Nine)

ENDS

Challengers Challenge! Pick Who Should Face the Premier League Field?

We are at that magical time of year again, a new PDC World Darts Champion has been crowned, many congratulations to Peter Wright, a deserving and popular winner. The Premier League players have also been announced and again this year they will be joined by Nine Challengers.

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FALLON SHERROCK HAS ALREADY CLAIMED ONE OF THE CHALLENGER SLOTS. WHO WILL JOIN HER & JOHN HENDERSON?

The first two of these players are John Henderson who will star on the opening night in Aberdeen and the new Queen of The Alexandra Palace Fallon Sherrock who has been rewarded for her outstanding victories and performances at ‘The Ally Pally.


So here’s the challenge, who else will be given the opportunity to showcase their talents on the Premier League stage. Pick seven player and one ‘popular choice’ and leave them in the comments or via our social media channels. A prize and bragging rights to whoever gets closest!


I’m going to throw my seven players out there who I think have a chance and more importantly deserve the opportunity, plus one more who could well be a popular addition.

The Adonis for a Challenger spot? Richly deserved.
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG STEVE BEATON IN ACTION


Let’s start with the ‘Popular Choice’ or ‘Housewives Choice’ ! Wouldn’t it be something to see the legend, the Bronzed Adonis himself,  Mr Steve Beaton be rewarded for his sheer longevity and dedication to the sport  at the highest level, 29 consecutive World Championship appearances and still World Ranked in the top 32 of the PDC rankings. I’m pretty sure Steve would love that one time Premier League Walk-On.


So who will be the other Challengers, it’s certainly a difficult ask to predict all seven selections. I’m not a believer in just picking a ‘Home’ player like a Welsh player for the Cardiff week of the League. If they are ‘Challengers’ then let them do just that at whatever venue. The PDC however take a different view and are likely to give some places partly based on this.


I would certainly throw Luke Humphries in there, another Quarter Final reached at the World Championships and the current World Youth Champion. I think with Fallon already selected you have to go with Mikuru Suzuki too, the Ladies BDO World Champion who was within 36 points of winning her opening World Championship match against James Richardson at The Ally Pally.Third pick would be Chris Dobey, he’s certainly moving swiftly up the rankings and has achieved notable placings in PDC majors and again at the 2020 World Championship.

Premier League crowds love a good Walk-On and there’s none better than YMCA !! My Fourth challenger would be Rapid Ricky Evans. Again he’s produced on the biggest stages at home and at the Euro Tour events and is a joy to watch in full flow even though you could miss it if you blink.

KRYSZTOF RATAJSKI
Pic: Christopher Dean / Scantech Media 07930 364436 www.scantechmedia.com


Without question Krzysztof Ratajski deserves to be my fifth selection, he’s lifted five PDC Tour titles already and the former Winmau World Master is a threat to anyone on his day and he would most certainly fit the criteria of a ‘Challenger’. Jeffrey de Zwaan would be my next pick. He’s beaten Michael Van Gerwen in a ‘Major’ TV event and has backed that result up in the last 12 months and is a player the ‘Top Guys’ will not relish facing.


My final challenger would be Jermaine Wattimena. A Quarter Finalist at the World Grand and back to back last 16 spots at the UK Open show this likeable Dutchman is moving in the right direction and sits at a career high 23 in the PDC World Rankings. I’m sure to walk on in front of a sell out Rotterdam crowd in the Premier League to possibly face Michael Van Gerwen would be an occasion he wouldn’t forget but also would rise to!

So there we have it, that would be my list of ‘Challengers’. I believe players outside of the top 16 should be classed as Challengers and it gives fans and followers alike the opportunity to see different up and coming players playing at the highest level against the ‘Top Nine’ players. Only time will tell who actually gets the nod, one thing is for sure though, it’s going to be something special. As World Champion Peter Wright would say ‘Let’s Get This Party Started’.

Andy’s 8: Luke Humphries, Mikuru Suzuki, Chris Dobey, Ricky Evans, Krzysztof Ratajski, Jeffrey De Zwaan and Jermaine Wattimena with Steve Beaton as his wildcard choice.

The Wizard’s Picks: W1—Hendo W2— Sherrock, W3—Jonny Clayton, W4—Willy O Conner, W5—Luke Humphries
W6—Joe Cullen, W7—Dobey, W8—De zwann , W9—Dimi Van den Berg. Wildcard : Barney in Rotterdam!

AIM: Ian White, Krystztof Ratajaski, Seigo Asada, Max Hopp, Ricky Evans, Gabriel Clemens, Josh Payne. Wildcard: Ted Hankey!

Jacco Krook: L Humphries, Ricky Evans, Chris Dobey, Ratajaski, De Zwaan, O’Conner (Dublin), Wattinena (Rotterdam). Wildcard; Jose De Sousa.

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Andrew Devonshire is a DartsWorld contributor and popular darts and sports writer who has contributed to many publications. Follow him on twitter @A_Devonshire180