Fallon Sherrock has her sights set on a place on the PDC Tour when she heads to Q-School on Monday
Rewind to December 2019 and Fallon Sherrock was warming up for a PDC World Darts Championship debut that would make history, headlines and offer opportunities across the globe.
Having missed out on a World Championship return, however, Sherrock will be back in the spotlight this month when she makes the short trip to Milton Keynes alongside hundreds of other hopefuls chasing a place on the PDC Tour at Q-School.Behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena – the new home of darts during the Covid pandemic – is a far cry from the raucous, fancy-dress, ceiling smashing euphoria of Alexandra Palace but Sherrock can’t wait. “I’m very excited, because it’s a different environment from last year,” she tells The Darts Show podcast.”I don’t really know what to expect, how it’s going to be with all the social-distancing rules and things like that. But at the same time, I’m excited to go to see how everyone is playing, I want to go and play my game. I just want to get out again to play darts!” The Queen of the Palace, as she became after victories over Ted Evetts and Mensur Suljovic took her to the last 32 of the World Championship, has missed out on a lot as a result of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact of sport. Sherrock and Durrant shared the spoils in Nottingham during last year’s Premier League Her exploits earned her a spot as a Premier League contender, where she held eventual champion, Glen Durrant, to a draw in Week Two, and a spot in the World Series.But with international travel halted, trips to New York, Australia and Copenhagen were shelved and while there’s every expectation that those opportunities will come again, Sherrock has refused to get down about things out of her control.”I was so excited, I was looking forward to all these opportunities I was going to get and then the world ended up closing down basically, and no one expected that ever.”I definitely didn’t expect anything like that in my lifetime. There’s no point in me going ‘I missed out on all this’ or ‘I missed out on all that’ because at the end of the day, that is life.”Life isn’t planned out. It isn’t easy. As a darts player, you’ve got to take everything as it comes. This year, we’ve got something to look forward to, Q-School coming up, and the people on Pro Tours have new series coming in.”As a darts player, you’ve got to look at all the things you have planned now instead of dwelling on anything I could have had, I’ve just got to look forward to the future, push myself again and start from scratch.” Sherrock has also come back down to earth. Last January, after her Ally Pally exploits, she fell short at Q-School managing just four wins across four days, but she looked on with admiration as four-time women’s world champion Lisa Ashton made history herself by securing a card – the first woman to do so.She missed out at the Women’s Series in both the Grand Slam qualifier and the World Championship places up for grabs. This year, Sherrock is among the women hoping to emulate Ashton’s exploits at Q-School, not only for herself but for the good of the women’s game which had been on the crest of a wave after the pair’s history-making efforts. “What Lisa has done is a great achievement, and obviously that’s what we all aspire to do.”We all want to get on the Tour, we all want to get this Tour card – the fact that we’ve seen Lisa do it, it definitely inspires us all to do it,” Fallon Sherrock on Lisa Ashton “I want to join Lisa, because I know I’ve got the game. If Lisa can do it, it gives me belief I can do it.”Especially with all the women going as well, we’ve got all the representation of the women’s game. I’m just hoping, at least one of us can get a Tour Card just to keep it on the run.”It was great having the couple of days but I feel we need something a bit more regular. You’ve got the Challenge Tour and the Development Tour.”Why can’t you have a Ladies Tour and at the end of it have a World Championship spot like they do with the Development Tour – it’s worked for them, they have upped their game, and they get to the standard.”For the women, if they get up to the standard, which they are kind of doing now, it would give them more belief if they’ve got something to play in and a more professional standard set-up, it would make their game better. And then we might progress from there.” Fallon Sherrock World Championship exploits were ended by Chris Dobey – but only after she had beaten Ted Evetts and Mensur Suljovic The three-day Women’s Series in October was a hint at what might be possible. Places at the Grand Slam of Darts and the World Championship were reward for three days of competition, but at the moment that’s all the female players have – unless they win their way onto the Tour.Sherrock missed out, by the smallest of margins. Losing in the Grand Slam qualifier semi-final to Corrine Hammond and then by two legs as Deta Hedman took the final spot alongside Ashton for the World Championship.Hedman and Hammond are among the names who will join Sherrock in Milton Keynes and Sherrock is focused on the task at hand – Q-School, where former world champions, county hopefuls and youthful upstarts all go head to head for a Tour Card.The winner of each day will win their place among the elite and at the end of four days of competition the top 14 from an Order of Merit who have not already qualified will also earn a spot.Sherrock will enter at the first stage of qualifying, introduced this year to ensure that both the events in the UK and Europe can take place under COVID-secure conditions.It means that 32 players, those who lost their cards or those that sit in the upper echelons of the Challenge and Development Tours, will be awaiting Sherrock if she makes it through the first stage. “Why would you want to go, play all these great players and push yourself, if you know you’re not ready for it?”I feel like I’m ready for it, I feel like I’m ready for a challenge, I feel like I’m ready to be pushed at the highest part of my game,” Fallon Sherrock ready for Q-School task “The only way I’m going to do it at the moment is by going to Q-School and trying for the card.”Fingers-crossed I get it but I can only go by how I’m playing on the day, my belief that I’ve got, and the confidence that I’ve got and then take each game as it comes and not think about getting the card until I’m faced at that line. Just going in, enjoying it, playing my darts, and seeing how it goes. Sherrock has the confidence and the belief, but so too have hundreds of other players who will take to socially-distanced oches in Buckinghamshire and Niderhausen in Germany.Like most players, she’s been trying to find a way to stay competitive. She’s played online darts, going up against Phil Taylor when darts from home was the early success story of lockdown, she’s home-schooled and found fame with an impressive skillset on TikTok. “Apart from the Women’s Series, I haven’t actually had anything else to play in. I think I had a couple of games online and stuff, with my friends and some people from the Modus League, we’ve been in contact.”Tiktok has definitely been very kind to me. It’s let me express my different personality, if I can express it a bit better”I feel sane. But at the same time, I don’t know. I think I’ve got weird lockdown vibes. I’m kind of addicted to Pokémon at the moment, so that’s probably not normal!”I’m just looking forward to getting out of my house and playing some darts. Seeing people, just saying ‘hello’! I’ve not seen these people for months, and I feel like I’ve just lost my mind a little bit with people and human interaction – I might seem a bit weird to everyone. “I’m so looking forward to Q-School – just to get out of the house and play some proper darts.”Watch full coverage of every night of the Premier League on Sky Sports, and stick with us through the year as we bring you the latest darts news on skysports.com/darts, our app for mobile devices and our Twitter account @skysportsdarts