Belfast Telegraph

John Laverty: Fallon Sherrock will have more glory days but beating blokes is easy compared to getting gender pay parity in darts

Fallon Sherrock
Fallon Sherrock
John Laverty

By John Laverty

Fallon Sherrock really hit the bullseye with that double 18.

The first woman to win a match at the PDC World Championship has propelled her - and professional darts itself - into hitherto unprecedented territory.

And she proved on Saturday night that her headline-grabbing victory over Ted Evetts was no fluke by seeing off the world number 11, Mensur Suljovic, 3-1 in the second round.

It hasn't taken long for meejah analysts to predict that the 25-year-old would become a millionaire within a year, and for Barry Hearn, never slow to sniff a money-making opportunity, to reap the benefits of bringing women players onto the Ally Pally stage.

Unlike most other sports, darts can easily accommodate competition within both sexes without some idiot droning on about a bloke's obvious physical advantages.

Unfortunately, however, there's little parity when it comes to prize money. The 2020 BDO Women's World Championship offers a meagre £54k all in; the PDC, which Fallon first lit up last week with her dramatic 3-2 win over Evetts, has a collective £2.5m up for grabs.

The former hairdresser is now guaranteed at least £25,000 from her PDC efforts so far; hitherto, the most she'd ever earned was £5,000 for finishing runner-up at the 2015 Women's World Championship.

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Few will begrudge Fallon being catapulted to fame and - relatively speaking, of course - fortune.

It hasn't been a picnic though, what with the Buckinghamshire woman developing a serious kidney disease not long after giving birth to son Rory five years ago.

The prescribed medication caused her face to swell up; a condition colloquially known as 'moon face'. Not surprisingly, this - yep, here we go again -led to vicious comments about her appearance on social media.

Fortunately, she possesses a similar attitude to one of Northern Ireland's new MPs, Carla Lockhart, ie "anyone who resorts to that kind of behaviour has already lost the argument."

She deserves her moment - and after last week there could be even more - in the spotlight, but spare a thought for the first man to lose a major darts match to a woman.

Poor Ted was jeered throughout the five sets as three thousand raucous punters sensed a historic upset.

But the 22-year-old was lavish with his praise for Fallon afterwards and later tweeted: "… you were mega up there. Enjoy it all, more than deserved. Well done on making history."

What a gal. And what a guy.

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