The Buckinghamshire booster Fallon Sherrock started 2019 in a Darts rut, losing to unknown and unseeded Brit Maria O'Brien in the women's World Darts Championship. A series of quarter-finals in events against her own gender did not suggest she was in form to beat Ted Evetts and the seeded Mensur Suljovic. At the Alexandra Palace for the PDC World Championships, she did just that. It took an inspired Chris Dobey to stop her in the end.

Format changes and money behind Sherrock's withdrawal

The Daily Mirror reports that the BDO has suffered poor ticket sales for the event at the Indigo O2 Arena.

As of December 30, 2019, only 15% of the tickets had been sold for this event, according to a BDO spokesman. TV income and sponsorship have also been disappointing. Whether or not the decision to cut prize money before the event starting January 4, 2020 was wise, is a matter for conjecture. Fallon Sherrock's inclusion in the event would definitely have given additional focus to it and maybe caused a spurt in ticket sales.

Fallon Sherrock's withdrawal casts a shadow over women's darts scene

It's been said the key to bolstering the participation and enjoyment of women in darts is through a strong women's darts scene.

The Milton Keynes wonder herself recently said: “I hope I’ve done women’s darts proud, put women’s darts on the map and given it the recognition that it deserves.”

Unfortunately, the decision to withdraw from the forthcoming women's event does not support this statement. A great deal of work is needed to grow the women's game and prize money. This sends the message out that in order to be successful: a woman has to turn her back on the grassroots game, rather than help to grow it.

Lisa Ashton and Mikuru Suzuki left as favourites for the women's event

Despite all of the focus on Sherrock, there is still strength in the game. Veteran arrow master Lisa Ashton and last year's winner Mikuru Suzuki are still committed to playing in a strong event. It's easy to forget that Suzuki was only one dart away from beating Sherrock to the history-making at the Alexandra Palace this year. She missed an out-shot that would have seen her beat the talented Kevin Richardson before Fallon had even thrown a dart in anger.

Suzuki seems to balance commitments in the women's game with attempts to take on the men quite well. A nine-darter at this year's event is what is needed now to draw people into the event and take an interest in the women's game.

Women's BDO World Championship event not certain to go-ahead

There is conjecture that the event may even be cancelled should others follow Sherrock's lead and withdraw. This would be a major blow.

For Fallon Sherrock, 2020 looks bright. She has already earned a trip to the New York leg of the World Series to take on the males again. However, there is an argument that if she were to go there as women's world champion, enshrining her as the best women's player out there, it would have been more noteworthy.

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