Beaton denies Sherrock dream Ally Pally return

Steve Beaton

Steve Beaton denied Fallon Sherrock a dream return to the Alexandra Palace, winning 3-2 in a captivating first round contest at the William Hill World Darts Championship.

Sherrock enjoyed a hero's welcome as she entered the stage where she famously made history as the first woman to defeat men at a World Championship two years ago.

However, a strong display from Sherrock was undone by Beaton, who averaged over 100 for much of the contest.

Beaton, making a record-breaking 31st consecutive World Championship appearance, landed checkouts of 126 and 99 as he came back from 2-0 down to win the opening set.

The 57-year-old missed a dart to win the set two decider, as Sherrock made no mistake on tops to level the contest.

Both players struggled in the third set, which was won 3-0 by Beaton, before Sherrock won the fourth set by the same scoreline to take the tie to a deciding set.

With Beaton leading 2-1, Sherrock had the darts to force a last-leg shoot-out but was outscored by Beaton who sealed his passage into round two by holding his nerve with a last dart double 16 at the end of a 68 checkout.

"That was one of the hardest games I've ever had to deal with and I've had some really hard games through the years," admitted Beaton, who will meet Kim Huybrechts in round two.

"Fallon played really well, she didn't let me go at all. She's just relentless.

"I started off so well but then I let it slip and I thought she was going to get me.

"I didn't want to go to a last leg decider so I was relieved that I put in a decent leg to win it.

"These are the games you want to play in. I still love the game and I'm getting paid to do something I enjoy."

Despite suffering disappointment on her return to the world's biggest stage, Sherrock reflected positively on her latest high-profile experience.

"Steve played well, I can't complain," said Sherrock.

"I wasn't confident in the way that my darts were going in the board.

"I showed what I can do in patches, but fell short in the end.

"Every game I'm behind, I will always fight back. Sometimes I don't make it, sometimes I do but I will never give up."

Sherrock's attention now turns to Qualifying School, where she will be bidding to win a place on the PDC tour for the first time.

She continued: "My game is stronger than it was a year ago or two years ago, I feel more confident of getting through Q School.

"I just want more opportunities and chances to prove myself, it's a privilege playing these players."

Sunday saw two second round games and six first round ties played across another bumper day of double session action.

Eighth seed Jonny Clayton continued his sublime 2021 form by averaging 103.7, the highest of the tournament so far, in defeating Irish teenage sensation Keane Barry 3-2.

An outstanding contest saw both players land five ton-plus finishes each to set a new tournament record for a five-set match.

A winner of four TV titles this year, Clayton fought back from 2-1 down in sets, winning the last six successive legs to deny Barry the biggest scalp of his career.

"That was one of my favourite games I've played in," said Clayton, who averaged in three figures at the World Championship for the first time.

"It was fantastic, all credit to Keane who never gave me a chance to relax.

"My year so far has been fantastic, hopefully I can finish it off by winning this. I'd love to win that trophy, hopefully it's my year."

The day's other round two game saw Ross Smith reach the last 32 for the first time as he edged out last year's semi-finalist Stephen Bunting 3-2.

A tight contest resulted in the first tie-break of this year's tournament, with Smith landing stunning back-to-back checkouts of 167 and 102 to get over the line.

In the round one ties, Florian Hempel continued his emergence with a 3-0 debut win over fellow German Martin Schindler.

Hempel, who joined the professional ranks at the start of the year, hit finishes of 158, 156 and 114 to set up a meeting with world number five Dimitri Van den Bergh.

Scotland's Alan Soutar also enjoyed a debut win, defeating Brazilian Diogo Portela 3-2 in a keenly-fought contest to reach round two where Mensur Suljovic awaits.

Jason Heaver enjoyed a 3-1 debut win over late Australian call-up Gordon Mathers, and he will now meet Danny Noppert.

Dutch duo Martijn Kleermaker and Maik Kuivenhoven both enjoyed maiden World Championship wins over Australian youngster Ky Smith and Greek John Michael.

Simon Whitlock awaits in the second round for Kleermaker, while Kuivenhoven will take on James Wade on Monday night.

Monday will also see Raymond van Barneveld make his Ally Pally return against Lourence Ilagan in one of three first round clashes.

The tournament is being broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7, and on PDCTV (excluding UK and Netherlands based subscribers).
2021/22 William Hill World Darts Championship
Schedule of Play

Sunday December 19
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
3x First Round, 1x Second Round

(R1) Maik Kuivenhoven 3-1 Ky Smith (3-1, 3-0, 1-3, 3-1)
(R1) Jason Heaver 3-1 Gordon Mathers (3-1, 3-2, 2-3, 3-0)
(R1) Alan Soutar 3-2 Diogo Portela (2-3, 3-1, 3-1, 2-3, 3-1)
(R2) Ross Smith 3-2 Stephen Bunting (3-0, 2-3, 1-3, 3-1, 4-2)

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
3x First Round, 1x Second Round
(R1) Martijn Kleermaker 3-1 John Michael (3-0, 3-2, 1-3, 3-0)
(R1) Florian Hempel 3-0 Martin Schindler (3-1, 3-2, 3-1)
(R1) Steve Beaton 3-2 Fallon Sherrock (3-2, 2-3, 3-0, 0-3, 3-1)
(R2) Jonny Clayton 3-2 Keane Barry (3-1, 2-3, 1-3, 3-1, 3-0)

Monday December 20 (1900 GMT)
3x First Round, 1x Second Round
(R1) Luke Woodhouse v James Wilson 
(R1) Rusty-Jake Rodriguez v Ben Robb 
(R1) Raymond van Barneveld v Lourence Ilagan 
(R2) James Wade v Maik Kuivenhoven

Best of five sets (no tie-breaks in round one matches)

William Hill Tournament Outright Odds
4/1 Gerwyn Price, 4/1 Michael van Gerwen,  5/1 Jonny Clayton, 7/1 Peter Wright, 16/1 Dimitri Van den Bergh, 22/1 Gary Anderson, 25/1 Nathan Aspinall, 28/1 Michael Smith, 28/1 Rob Cross, 33/1 Jose De Sousa

*Prices correct at time of send, subject to fluctuation. 18+.