Sensational Sherrock creates more history with staggering Grand Slam comeback

Fallon Sherrock capped off an extraordinary comeback with a spectacular 170 checkout to defeat Gabriel Clemens and become the first female player to progress through to the knockout stages at the Grand Slam of Darts.

‘The Queen of the Palace’ reeled off four consecutive legs from 3-1 adrift to stun ‘The German Giant’ in an astonishing Group E contest, which secured the 5-3 victory she required on a thrilling night in Wolverhampton on Tuesday.

Sherrock rose to global superstardom following her ground-breaking World Championship exploits at Alexandra Palace, and she added another famous chapter to her darting story with an inspired fightback, in one of the most memorable moments in the tournament’s illustrious history.

Sherrock, who posted a record-breaking 101.55 average in her whitewash win over Mike De Decker on Sunday, required a win by a two-leg margin to book her place in the last 16, although she endured a frustrating start, busting a 60 finish by landing a treble 20 as Clemens stole the opening leg against throw.

The 27-year-old responded with a 14-dart break to level up the contest, but the German No 1 appeared in control after claiming back-to-back legs to move to the cusp of qualification.

However, Sherrock roared back magnificently; reducing the arrears with a fabulous 12-darter before conjuring up a sublime 141 checkout to restore parity at three apiece.

Clemens was teetering when Sherrock sank tops to complete a 16-dart hold and establish a 4-3 cushion, and the Milton Keynes ace wasn’t to be denied; producing a sensational 170 finish to seal the deal in incredible style.

“I don’t even know how I did that. When I approached the 170 I knew that was my only chance and that I had to take it,” Sherrock reflected post-match.

“I’m so proud of myself for doing it as it shows what I can do and gives me a lot of confidence. I’m excited to see how much further I can go.”

In a remarkable sequence of events, Sherrock will now face Mensur Suljovic for a place in the Grand Slam quarter-finals, having claimed the scalp of ‘The Gentle’ at Alexandra Palace almost two years ago.

The Austrian secured top spot in Group F with an imperious whitewash win over Canadian Matt Campbell, averaging 105.85, landing four 180s and converting all five of his attempts at double.

Elsewhere, Gary Anderson maintained his remarkable record of qualifying for the knockout phase in all 15 stagings of the Grand Slam with a comprehensive 5-2 win over 2012 champion Raymond van Barneveld.

The five-time world champion acquitted himself impressively on his Wolverhampton return, but he was unable to halt the rampant ‘Flying Scotsman’, who averaged 103.88 and landed three 180s to set up a blockbuster showdown against Michael van Gerwen in the last 16.

“It’s been a long run and it’s a record I’m happy with. I played proper darts tonight,” claimed the two-time finalist.

“I had to to beat Raymond and I showed that I can still do it from time to time so we’ll see how it goes when I play Michael.”

Van Gerwen confirmed his place in the last 16 earlier in the night with an emphatic 5-1 win over World Cup winner John Henderson, who was unable to reach the last 16 in his first Grand Slam appearance since 2010.

Having posted a staggering 115.19 average in his 5-2 success over Joe Cullen on Sunday, Van Gerwen wasn’t at his vintage best against ‘The Highlander’, although he wrapped up proceedings in striking fashion, following up a 180 with a spectacular 125 checkout on the bullseye.

“I thought I did quite well – especially hitting the 125 at the end. I didn’t play as well as I did at the weekend but I knew I was going through and maybe was a little too relaxed,” Van Gerwen admitted.

“I feel good and I am playing good darts. Everybody knows that if I play my best game I will beat them and I’m looking forward to the next match.”

World No 2 Peter Wright avoided a second consecutive round-robin exit after breezing past Mike De Decker in his decisive Group E tie.

The former world champion struggled to rectify the profligacy that proved costly against Clemens, but he ran out a resounding winner against the below-par Belgian, who was condemned to a second consecutive whitewash defeat after his 5-0 drubbing against Sherrock on Sunday.

Wright will now meet reigning champion Jose De Sousa for a place in the last eight, after ‘The Special One’ survived a major scare to keep his title defence alive.

The Portuguese star required three legs from his clash against UK Open finalist Luke Humphries to progress from Group F at the expense of the former World Youth champion, but Humphries started strongly to open up a 4-1 lead.

However, ‘Cool Hand’ was left to rue a momentary lapse midway through proceedings and De Sousa capitalised to reduce the deficit to 4-3, before Humphries closed out what proved to be a consolation win.

Earlier in the evening, Joe Cullen defied a spirited display from Lisa Ashton to complete a 5-2 success and book his spot in the knockout stages for the first time in his career.

‘The Rockstar’ made a sluggish start as Ashton drew first blood with a 15-dart break, but consecutive 64 and 76 combination finishes inspired Cullen to a convincing victory over ‘The Lancashire Rose’, who exited Group G without a win to her name.

Cullen will now take on world No 10 Michael Smith for a quarter-final place, after ‘Bully Boy’ prevailed in a hard-fought affair against Joe Davis to seal top spot in Group H with three successive victories.

World Youth Championship finalist Davis battled through the pain barrier to produce his best performance of the event, but Smith extended his winning sequence in the group stage to 13 matches, as he continues his bid for an elusive first major crown.

Image Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Cazoo Grand Slam of Darts
Schedule of Play

Tuesday November 16 (1900 GMT)
8x Group Matches
Michael Smith 5-3 Joe Davis (H)
Joe Cullen 5-2 Lisa Ashton (G) 
Michael van Gerwen 5-1 John Henderson (G) 
Mensur Suljovic 5-0 Matt Campbell (F)
Luke Humphries 5-3 Jose de Sousa (F) 
Peter Wright 5-0 Mike De Decker (E)   
Fallon Sherrock 5-3 Gabriel Clemens (E) 
Gary Anderson 5-2 Raymond van Barneveld (H)

Wednesday November 17 (1900 GMT)
4x Second Round
Ryan Joyce v Rob Cross
James Wade v Rowby-John Rodriguez
Gerwyn Price v Bradley Brooks
Jonny Clayton v Nathan Rafferty

Thursday November 18 (1900 GMT)
4x Second Round

Michael Smith v Joe Cullen
Peter Wright v Jose de Sousa
Mensur Suljovic v Fallon Sherrock
Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson

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