Phil Taylor edged out Fallon Sherrock in a pulsating last-leg thriller during the latest ‘Darts At Home’ series on Thursday evening, defying a monstrous 121.61 average from Sherrock to prevail 7-6.
Taylor was making his third appearance in ‘Darts At Home’, having bounced back from last month’s narrow defeat against his old adversary Raymond van Barneveld to topple reigning women’s world champion Mikuru Suzuki seven days ago.
‘The Power’ was competing from his home in Stoke-on-Trent, whilst Sherrock was pitting her wits against the 16-time world champion from her living room in Milton Keynes. The contest promised fireworks – and it duly delivered.
Both players were competing on the electronic Target Nexus boards and the bigger segments are conducive for astronomical averages. Sherrock averaged an incredible 121.61 – the highest in the Darts At Home series thus far – yet it still wasn’t sufficient to topple an irrepressible Taylor.
The pair had met twice in the steel-tip format over recent weeks, in MODUS’ online leagues. Taylor recovered from 2-0 down to defeat Sherrock 4-3 in their first tussle a fortnight ago, before reeling off four straight legs from 3-1 down to prevail 5-3 in Sunday’s Champions Series.
This particular showdown was organised in association with Paddy Power and Target Darts, with Paddy Power pledging to donate £1,000 per maximum hit, plus an additional £200 every time a player nailed a double at the first attempt.
Sherrock and Taylor both agreed ahead of the contest that the bullseye would not be used during a natural checkout to comply with the more traditional steel-tip format, and the pair raised a whopping £16,200 for the NHS Heroes charity, as Taylor triumphed with a 116.68 average.
The 59-year-old had the advantage of throw which ultimately proved decisive and he drew first blood in 14 darts, before crashing in a brace of maximums to threaten a break of throw in leg two. Sherrock held firm however; sinking a delightful 155 checkout to level up proceedings.
‘The Queen of The Palace’ then stole a march, firing in a maximum and converting a delightful 81 kill for a 12-dart break in leg three, before extending her cushion to 3-1 with a clinical 110 combination.
The Stoke-on-Trent veteran stopped the rot via tops to reduce the arrears to 3-2 at the interval, but Sherrock was unfazed upon her return, restoring her buffer courtesy of an effortless two-dart 96 outshot for an 11-dart hold.
The 25-year-old elevated herself to global stardom with her exploits at Alexandra Palace, defeating Ted Evetts and Mensur Suljovic to become the first woman to triumph at the PDC World Championship.
She appeared on the cusp of creating another slice of history against Taylor, defying another hold from ‘The Power’ to move 5-3 ahead with a brilliant 130 checkout – her third ton-plus finish of the contest.
Taylor hit back courtesy of a two-dart 79 outshot, before a decisive tenth leg ensued. Sherrock kicked off the leg with her second maximum, only to squander two darts at double for a 6-4 advantage and Taylor capitalised, taking out 103 via double 19 to restore parity at five apiece.
The 16-time world champion suddenly had the initiative although Sherrock fired back in style, posting back-to-back maximums to set up a potential nine-darter. The Milton Keynes ace found the seventh treble but couldn’t pin the treble 19, which incredibly cost her the leg.
Taylor was poised on 46 after nine darts and the veteran wrapped it up in 12 darts to secure his third consecutive leg and move to the cusp of victory at 6-5. Nevertheless, the 25-year-old forced a fitting finale, taking out 41 for another 11-darter after the pair traded three more 180’s.
‘The Power’ had the throw in the deciding leg and once again Sherrock teased us with the prospect of perfection, landing back-to-back maximums to close in on a sensational victory.
However, having failed to find the treble 20 with her seventh dart she was made to pay the ultimate price. The 16-time world champion was sat on 167 for victory and in trademark Taylor style, he sealed the deal with a majestic checkout to round-off an enthralling battle.
Photo Credit: PA Images