Well, we can safely say that 2020 has not panned out as expected. Sport has come to a grinding halt, and whilst
the world tries to establish some kind of normal during this unprecedented situation, darts has managed to find a way to not only keep going but provide competitive and entertaining activities during the lockdown.
Yes, it’s different…but kudos to the creative thinking behind the Sky Sports Darts from Home Series, PDC Home Tour, Modus Icon of Darts and the Remote Darts League, to name a few, as well as the organisers of the numerous online tournaments which have kept players active during the lockdown. With the appetite for women’s darts at an all-time high following the success of Fallon Sherrock at the World Championships and subsequent appearance at the Premier League where she secured a draw again pole-placed Glen Durrant, it’s no surprise that a few top-flight female players have toed-the-oche alongside their male counterparts.
Both Sherrock and Mikuru Suzuki starred against the 16-times World Champion Phil Taylor in The Sky Sports Darts from Home Series, with Suzuki edged out by Taylor 7-5, registering just south of a 100 average in the process. Sherrock, who is building on the impressive form she displayed both at the Ally Pally and in Nottingham, led Taylor for most of the match following an early break of throw but despite Sherrock hitting a whopping 121.61 average, was denied a win following an inspired 167 checkout from ‘The Power’ in the deciding leg.
The Modus Icon of Darts League have seen both Sherrock and three-times Women’s World Champion Anastasia Dobromyslova feature, with Sherrock securing multiple wins over several players including Martin Adams, Scott Mitchell, and Paul Nicholson.
Laura’s column can be found in its full glory in DW570.
Sherrock has also kept darts featured in the mainstream media, with a dedicated documentary airing on Sky Sports and as one of 18 nominations for BBC Sport’s ‘best British women’s sporting moment’, where she finished 5th overall, above sporting icons including Rebecca Adlington and the Women’s World Cup-winning cricket team.
Lisa Ashton, who back in January became the first female player to secure a tour card via Q-School, has also been back in action, as she joined Micky Mansell, Ross Smith, and Geert Nentjes in the PDC Home Tour. Ashton suffered defeats at the hands of both Nentjes and Smith, but dashed Mansell’s chances of progressing by taking a 5-3 win over the Clonoe Cyclone.
2018 Women’s World Master Lorraine Winstanley, alongside New Zealand’s Tina Osborne, the USA’s Stacey Pace, and I were part of the 16-strong line up for RDL2. The online playing experience is a surreal one, but the opportunity to compete against players we would never normally get the opportunity to, such as Tony O’Shea, James Richardson and Jim Williams was too good to miss. It’s kept me actively playing, pushing to improve, and resulted in an early win over WDF World Cup Champion Darren Herewini.
All in all, with the circumstances as they are, it’s great to see female stars of the sport still able to showcase their talents and keep promoting this ever-growing side of the game.
The original version of this article appears in Darts World 570
Laura Turner is No.9 in the BDO Ladies World rankings. She is also a TV pundit for Sky Sports.