NZ Darts Masters: Fallon Sherrock to play in Hamilton 2020

History-making female darts player Fallon Sherrock will compete at the New Zealand Darts Masters in Hamilton next year.

The 25-year-old has accepted an invitation from the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) to take part in all World Series of Darts events, including the NZ Masters at Claudelands Arena on August 21-22.

Sherrock, from Milton Keynes, rose to international fame earlier this month when she became the first woman to win a match at the PDC World Championship at London's Alexandra Palace, beating Ted Evetts 3-1 in the first round. 

She subsequently overcame world number 11 Mensur Suljovic before bowing out to Chris Dobey 4-2, having led 2-1 during another impressive performance.

Following her first-round win, she was invited to compete at the US Darts Masters at Madison Square Garden in New York, but she will also compete in Copenhagen, Germany, New Zealand and Australia next year. 

"I'm so excited to be given this opportunity and I can't wait to play on the World Series next year," said Sherrock. "Being included in just the US Darts Masters was amazing enough but to now be able to go worldwide is something I could only dream of.

Fallon Sherrock.
Fallon Sherrock. Photo credit: PDC

"The last week or so has been incredible for me and the reaction I've received from around the world has been crazy. I've loved every minute of it and I couldn't have asked for anything more.

"I want to keep improving my game and the World Series will be another chance for me to show what I can do. I'm really grateful for the opportunity and I hope I can carry on where I left off in the World Championship."

PDC chairman Barry Hearn said this was a reward for her efforts at the world championships.

"Fallon has represented women's darts magnificently at the World Championship and we're delighted to give her a global stage to compete on now in the World Series of Darts," said Hearn. 

"We remain committed to furthering opportunities for female players and Fallon's achievements put her at the forefront of this. She has acquitted herself superbly and we can't wait for her to be a part of the World Series this year."

Pioneering tennis player Billie Jean King, American actress Sarah Jessica Parker and British actor Stephen Fry are among the global superstars who have publicly congratulated Sherrock for her history-making performances at the world champs.

King sad Sherrock had "inspired millions" and "her talent and grace under pressure will take her far".

Sherrock received £25,000 (NZ$49,259) for reaching the third round of the biggest tournament in darts. 

Sherrock is the fifth woman to feature at the world championship, after Canadian Gayl King, Russian Anastasia Dobromyslova, England’s Lisa Ashton and current women’s champion Mikuru Suzuki of Japan. 

Female players have always had the same chance as the men, with no boundaries set on qualification, but now at least two of the 96 spots are guaranteed to women, after the introduction of British and world qualifiers.

The NZ Darts Masters event sees eight of the game's best players, who have yet to be named, joined by eight qualifiers from the Oceania region.

While the PDC have yet to confirm the players' list, defending NZ champion Michael van Gerwen is set to return while it's understood Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price is expected to make the trip down under for the first time. 

Van Gerwen is the defending NZ Darts Masters champion, having beaten Raymond van Barneveld 8-1 in the final earlier this year.