Quiet has descended on Ally Pally as the PDC World Championships take their Christmas break before returning on December 27th. We will take this opportunity to examine the 3 roads to the PDC for Fallon Sherrock who has created quite the story of the pre-Christmas action.
Sherrock Queen of the Palace
When she qualified for Alexandra Palace through the Women’s PDC Uk/Ireland qualifier on 25th November nobody could possibly have imagined what would happen. Qualifying meant a career high payday for Fallon but events since her history making victory over Ted Evetts might well have guaranteed her financial riches beyond what she could ever have hoped for.
Television appearances and newspaper interviews vaulted Fallon to a popularity never seen before in women’s darts. A second round win over Mensur seems to have sealed the deal with exhibitions climbing over each other to secure her services for their events, and these events are the bread and butter of the professional darts player.
But her success brings with it a dilemma, can she possibly remain faithful to the BDO where she has over 25 tournament victories to her name?
The limelight and financial riches on offer at the PDC will be hard to ignore, and with a strong management company behind her a professional status is near guaranteed. But how can she get on the tour full-time?
3 roads to the PDC for Fallon Sherrock
On the face of it there are 3 options for Sherrock to gain a PDC full tour card, two of these on merit with the third being what could be seen as a controversial one.
The first of the 3 roads to the PDC for Fallon Sherrock is the one that is currently ongoing and that is by reaching the semi-final of the World Championships.
The semi-finals themselves don’t hold the right to a tour card but the 100k pounds on offer for reaching the semi-final would vault Fallon into the top-64 in the world and that achieves a tour card. Currently having earned 25k for reaching the third round simply reaching the quarter-final wouldn’t be enough to knock Matthew Edgar out of the top 64 (quarter finalists receive 50k and Edgar is sitting on 60k).
Looking at the draw (Dobey in the 3rd round, Gurney or Durrant in the 4th, Price Henderson Whitlock or King in the QF) a semi-final looks unlikely but the way she dispatched with Suljovic in round 2 will make punters wary of betting against her.
Q-School. The UK, Ireland, and Gibraltar PDC Q-School runs from 16-19 January and takes place in Wigan.
Q-School is the way players can qualify for a 2 year PDC tour card. Entry costs 450 GBP and entrants face off in 4 days of open draw tournaments with places available to complete the 128 players for the main tour. Looking at the players ranked 65-128 currently shows 45 tour cards to be won (19 players in this ranking have a 2 year tour card and will play the second year of it in 2020).
It is currently slightly unclear as to the availability of a 46th card for Q-school. Raymond van Barneveld has resigned his PDC membership and surrendered his tour card for 2020. However, PDC and PDPA rules are unclear as to where his vacated card will go (Q-School or the player ranked 65th).
Uncertainty surrounding other darting events mean that many are expecting the 2020 Q-School to eclipse previous record entry figures by a couple of hundred.
Fallon has entered Q-School and currently intends to take part (she also did this at the start of the 2019 season but failed to win one). It will be a tough ask with so many entrants expected to turn up but once again only the fool hardy would confidently bet against her in current form.
Option 3 is an option that would cause controversy in many corners of the darts world. This option is the PDC giving Fallon the tour card vacated by Barney thus meaning she would not have to qualify directly via options 1 and 2.
For many years the semi-finalists of the BDO world championship were offered a 2 year PDC tour card by the PDC. This is no longer on offer from the PDC as they stopped the offer having had the offer rejected by all 4 players for a couple of years.
There is certainly an argument for the PDC to offer Fallon this option and she would be a fool not to accept if offered it. This would ensure her presence on the tour and would mean her availability for the Premier league of darts be it as a contender or an outright invite.
The question about option 3 is whether the PDC rate her highly enough to face the backlash that will certainly come from it.
The argument for positive discrimination in her case is definitely there (the legendary female tennis star Billy Jean King has been tweeting about Fallon a number of times).
It would certainly attract many more girls and women to the sport but as darts is a sport that is not restricted by gender strength differences it might be seen as unnecessary.
Whatever option is taken one thing is for sure, Fallon Sherrock has risen up and played two outstanding matches and there is certainly more to come. Make sure to tune in for the next installment on Friday 27th!