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Fallon Sherrock: What does 2022 have in store for darting superstar?

'The Queen of the Palace' will bid to secure a PDC Tour Card at 2022 UK Qualifying School, which takes place from January 9-15 in Milton Keynes

Image: 2022 could prove to be another huge year in the career of Fallon Sherrock

Fallon Sherrock continued to rock the darting world with a record-breaking 2021 campaign, but as she prepares to embark on a crucial 12 months, what does 2022 have in store for The Queen of the Palace?

Sherrock turned into a darting superstar almost overnight at the 2020 World Championship as she became the first woman to beat a man at Alexandra Palace, edging out Ted Evetts before stunning 11th seed Mensur Suljovic to reach round three.

The coronavirus pandemic threatened to derail her momentum, yet she continued to shatter the glass ceiling with a series of sublime displays in 2021.

The 27-year-old progressed to the Nordic Darts Masters final on her World Series debut, producing an extraordinary comeback to stun Dimitri Van den Bergh in the semi-finals, before succumbing 11-7 to Michael van Gerwen in a thrilling final.

Sherrock also enjoyed a dream Grand Slam debut; becoming the first woman to reach a major PDC ranking quarter-final, registering the highest average by a female player on TV, and converting a stunning 170 finish against Gabriel Clemens to progress to the knockout stages.

Her exploits in Wolverhampton meant that two wins at the World Championship could have been enough to secure a PDC Tour Card for the 2022 campaign, although those hopes were quashed following a 3-2 defeat to the veteran Steve Beaton on her Ally Pally return.

Sherrock now sets her sights on PDC Qualifying School this weekend, as she bids to secure her spot on the professional circuit, following in the footsteps of four-time women's world champion Lisa Ashton, who achieved the feat two years ago.

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Ahead of this year's World Championship, Fallon Sherrock revealed her pride at inspiring a new generation of female players

"Fallon needs to obtain a Tour Card and if she can do that, and I don't see any reason why she can't, even though it is ultra-competitive, she will be one of the best at Q-School," insists Sky Sports' Wayne Mardle.

"That would give her a chance to qualify for big events, but with being a first-year Tour Card holder, getting into things like the Matchplay would be a real task, because you're effectively a year behind on the Pro Tour Order of Merit rankings."

If successful at Q School, March's UK Open would be Sherrock's first major event as a Tour Card holder, while World Matchplay and World Grand Prix qualification would be a possibility.

However, if she were to miss out, the former Lakeside finalist would still be eligible to compete on the Challenge Tour - the PDC's second tier.

Image: Sherrock is bidding to become the second female player to secure a PDC Tour Card via Qualifying School

The 27-year-old is set to headline the expanded PDC Women's Series - featuring 20 events in 2021 - with qualification spots on offer at the Grand Slam and the World Championship, irrespective of her Tour Card status.

Sherrock may also feature on the World Series circuit in 2022, having originally been selected to compete in the US Masters in Madison Square Garden, New York, prior to Covid-19.

'The Queen of the Palace' could opt to ply her trade on the WDF circuit if she misses out at Q School, and Mardle has contemplated the possibility of Sherrock being crowned world champion for the first time.

"I think if Fallon could get that first world title, that would catapult her to a different stratosphere, bearing in mind that's off the back of everything that has happened," he added.

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Fallon Sherrock made Grand Slam history in November with a sensational 170 finish, to become the first woman to qualify for the knockout stages.

"Now is the right time for her. Winning it four or five years ago, you'd be selling her as a former world champion. Selling her now as the world champion, that is actually quite exciting."

Following Sherrock's record-breaking campaign at the Grand Slam, which culminated in a 16-13 defeat to newly crowned world champion Peter Wright, there were calls in some quarters for her to be included in the 2022 Premier League.

The line-up for this year's roadshow is yet to be announced, although her opening-round defeat to Beaton at Alexandra Palace may have curtailed that prospect.

Sherrock appeared as a contender during the 2020 edition, drawing 6-6 with three-time Lakeside champion Glen Durrant, and Sky Sports' Laura Turner has hailed Sherrock's impact on the women's game.

"I think Fallon is a huge asset, not just to darts, but also women's sport and wider sport in general.

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PDC chairman Eddie Hearn says that Fallon Sherrock will be seriously considered for the 2022 Premier League.

"People want to see her play, and the Premier League - which essentially takes darts on the road - could not just provide her with a platform to keep playing at the top players at the top level, but also keep attracting new audiences and opening darts up to new demographics.

"Commercially it makes sense, although I know there will be people and players who disagree."

So, what does 2022 hold for Fallon Sherrock?

Irrespective of the outcome at Q School, Sherrock will feature prominently over the next 12 months, but the chance to claim a Tour Card - often described as darts' golden ticket - could prove to be game-changing.

Live darts on Sky Sports in 2022
Premier League Darts - February 3 - May 26
World Cup of Darts - June 16-19
World Matchplay - July 16-24
World Grand Prix - October 2-8
Grand Slam of Darts - November 2022
World Darts Championship - December 2022 - January 2023

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