Darting trailblazers Fallon Sherrock and Lisa Ashton have secured a return to the William Hill World Championship following their success at the PDC Women’s Series.
Sherrock rose to sporting superstardom following her historic exploits at Alexandra Palace two years ago, when she defeated Ted Evetts and Mensur Suljovic to become the first woman to prevail in the sport’s flagship event.
The 27-year-old narrowly missed out on qualification for last year’s showpiece, but she has sealed her return via the PDC Women’s Series Order of Merit, claiming one of the two spots on offer in the 2022 tournament.
“It’s going to be a great experience to go back there, especially now that crowds are allowed back in,” said Sherrock. “I’m happy that I get to go back with crowds, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m just over the moon at the moment.”
Dubbed ‘The Queen of the Palace’ following her success almost two years ago, Sherrock reaffirmed her credentials with a magnificent run to the final of this year’s Nordic Darts Masters in Copenhagen, stunning Dimitri Van den Bergh before succumbing 11-7 to Michael van Gerwen.
The former Lakeside finalist won three of the opening six Women’s Series events in Milton Keynes last month, and she maintained her blistering form in Barnsley, scooping two of the three events on Saturday.
Sherrock fired in two ton-plus averages en route to Event Seven glory, before losing out to Ashton in a high-quality Event Eight final. Nevertheless, the Milton Keynes ace reversed that result to prevail in Event Nine, to confirm her Ally Pally spot.
“It was very satisfying. I’m really happy with how I’m playing at the moment and I’m really happy with the wins. I enjoy playing in the Women’s Series, it’s a good set-up and great money to be won and it’s great practice for me,” she added.
Ashton’s victory over Sherrock in the Event Eight final helped her claim a fourth Women’s Series title of 2021, and after backing that up with another impressive display in Event Nine, she also clinched World Championship qualification with a day to spare.
The four-time women’s world champion has elevated the women’s game once again this year, becoming the first female to average 100 in a televised match at the UK Open and impressing in her second year as a PDC Tour Card Holder.
Ashton has reached the final in six of the nine events and now neither she or Sherrock can be caught on the PDC Women’s Series Order of Merit, which ensures ‘The Lancashire Rose’ will make her third PDC World Championship appearance in four years.
The 51-year-old has previously featured in the 2019 and 2021 editions, losing out to Jan Dekker and Adam Hunt respectively, but she is relishing her latest opportunity in the spotlight.
Ashton is also poised to join Sherrock as a Grand Slam of Darts Qualifier, with the top player from Events 7-12 securing their place at next month’s event in Wolverhampton.
“I’m really happy,” said Ashton. “My game is lifting and I’m happy I’ve got back in the World Championship, but I’ve got another mission to do as well to get in the Grand Slam.
“Playing on the ProTour has helped me, it was good practice for this weekend. Hopefully I can get the Grand Slam spot tomorrow.”
Ashton has won four of her six meetings against Sherrock at the Women’s Series, and the four-time women’s world champion is incredibly the only player to defeat Sherrock across the opening nine events.
The pair have firmly established themselves as the leading lights within the women’s game, and Ashton insists their rivalry can only be positive for the sport.
“We know we’re going to push each other in the games and hopefully everybody enjoys it,” she continued. “We know how we can play and we can still improve. Hopefully we can show the men that we’re here to stay.”