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Woman Beats Man at Darts Championship for the First time

Fallon Sherrock won the first-round match, earning more than she would winning the women’s championship.

For the first time ever, a woman has beaten a man at the world darts championship.

Fallon Sherrock, 25, behind the unequivocal support of a boisterous crowd, defeated Ted Evetts, the 77th-ranked male darts player, three sets to two, in the first round of the P.D.C. World Darts Championships on Tuesday.

Sherrock looked the part onstage at the Alexandra Palace in London, wearing the kind of polyester polo shirt favored by many of her male rivals. But after she won her historic match, her celebration was a bit more low key than the over-the-top fist-pumping jubilation many of them indulge in.

“I’m really happy because I’ve made something for women’s darts; I’ve proved that we can play the men and we can beat them,” Sherrock said Tuesday after the match. “I’ve loved every minute of it.”

Sherrock, 25, from Milton Keynes, England, is the fifth woman to play at the world championship. Men qualify for the event through their year-round play on the darts tour or through qualifying events. But in recent years the event has saved two spots in the 96-player field for the winners of two qualifying events for women. There are darts events for women, but they have a far lower profile than the top men’s events.

The other woman this year, Mikuru Suzuki of Japan, lost, 3-2, in her match against James Richardson.

“There are only two women that can qualify, but maybe raising it to four would help,” Sherrock said on “BBC Breakfast.”

Sherrock rallied from 1-0 and 2-1 sets down to win her match. In championship-level darts, players must hit a total of 501 exactly, with the final dart landing on a double space. Sherrock needed 36 points to win her match, so she needed to hit a double 18, with three tries to do it. Her first shot was outside the ring, but the second was in.

Her average three darts for the match scored a total of 91.12 points, comparable to most of the other first-round scores. Top dart players like the ones she would face in later rounds often go into the upper 90s and can even break 100.

Sherrock is accomplished in women’s darts competition, and was the runner-up in the British Darts Organization’s women’s world championship in 2015. The prize money and visibility for women are far less than for the men, who are regularly on television in Britain, the Netherlands and elsewhere.

Suzuki, who won this year’s women’s title, earned 12,000 pounds ($15,500). As a losing quarterfinalist, Sherrock got just 1,000 pounds.

In contrast, the winner of the P.D.C. men’s event gets 500,000 pounds, and Sherrock has already earned at least 15,000 pounds after her first-round win.

The greatest dart thrower of all time, the 14-time world champion Phil Taylor, weighed in after Sherrock’s win, saying, “What a fantastic achievement last night.”

What a fantastic achievement last night by @Fsherrock great for the game now onto the next one brilliant.

The most comparable feat to Sherrock’s is probably the victory by Reanne Evans in 2017 at the world snooker championship, another British pub sport that requires precision and guile but not brute strength.

Next up for Sherrock is a second-round match on Saturday against the 11th-seeded Mensur Suljovic of Austria. Such an elite player will be a challenge for Sherrock, who is being listed as a 10-1 underdog in the match. But she was a 6-1 underdog against Evetts and beat the odds then.

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