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

Snobbery or Ignorance? The Economist Sells Darts Short.

One of the most frustrating things, about being a passionate darts fan, is the refusal of people and organisations to take the game seriously or give credit for the game’s achievements and the progress it has made.

Fallon Sherrock – The Economist uses her recent success as a mask for a smooth hit job on Professional Darts.
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG

A fine example was a recent article in The Economist. The title (Bull Market) and the sub heading – A Pastime’s Journey From Pub to Prime Time – suggested that this would be a serious and even positive look at the modern game.

(https://www.economist.com/britain/2020/01/02/how-darts-flew-from-pastime-to-prime-time)

Bull Market or Bullsh*t? The Economist on the darts business.

Oh, how I should have known better!

In seven bitter paragraphs, disguised as a serious business article, darts players, its business model and fans are disparaged or belittled on multiple occasions. As much doubt as possible is then cast upon its likely long term success.

“Bear bellied blokes” , “peculiar British pastime”, “staggered out of the pub and onto television”, “loutish reputation”, “Britain’s biggest pantomime”, “pint swilling fans”, “Results of the matches don’t matter”.

The above remarks are just examples from a piece, that claims to explore the likelihood of Darts and the PDC model being successful in the USA, in one of our major (business/politics) ‘serious’ publications.

It is amazing how often the press resort to lazy stereotypes, when looking at darts, and how infrequently they comment on the huge potential of such an inclusive, diverse and equal professional game. No one is suggesting that some of the points are not valid, or have elements of truth in them, but the imbalance and sloppiness is shameful. No effort appears to have been made to explore the progress made or the increasing professionalism of all involved.

Surely, Barry Hearn, on behalf of the PDC and its players, should pen a rebuttal to this and send it to the editor in the hope of representing the positive elements of their remarkable efforts in the last fifteen years or so. In addition the PDPA and the major darts manufacturers should also be up-in-arms at the way their efforts and investments are dismissed perhaps they could demonstrate the true nature of the industry to our friends at The Economist.

Finally, I feel that the author, editor and The Economist in general should have a good look at themselves to see if they have fallen for the ancient error of dismissing something that they feel is beneath them. The piece stinks of the basic forms of snobbery.

Perhaps the powers that be feel that any publicity is good publicity. In this case I sincerely hope not!