By News Team
11th February 2020
Fallon Sherrock wrote herself into the history books when she became the first ever woman to beat a man at the William Hill World Darts Championship in December. She ultimately reached the third round and is now preparing to compete in the Premier League meeting in Nottingham this week, filling the challenger spot.
The 25-year-old will be playing Glen Durrant, who ran out the 7-3 winner against 2018 finalist Michael Smith in his first Premier League appearance last week. Moreover, Sherrock has sealed qualification for March’s UK Open in Minehead.
Given her historic feat in blurring the once-rigid line between the men’s and women’s darts games, we’ve decided to take a look at some other crossovers in the wider sporting world.
Sian Massey-Ellis might not be in this list as a player, but as a key figure in one of the world’s biggest sports, she still makes the cut. Massey-Ellis is a football match official in English football who officiates in the Premier League and in the English Football League. She has also featured in the Football League Trophy, UEFA Women’s Champions League, FIFA Women’s World Cup qualification rounds and the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
She turned professional in 2010 when joining the Professional Game Match Officials Board, who provide the officials for men’s Premier League matches, which is the highest tier of professional football in England. Later that year, she was appointed her first Premier League game as assistant in Blackpool’s 2-0 win away at Sunderland.
Her determination to push boundaries and her unwavering services to her sport saw her appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 2018 New Year Honours list. Most recently, Massey-Ellis made history once again when becoming the first English female to officiate in a men’s European fixture. October saw her fulfil assistant referee duties in the UEFA Europa League game between PSV Eindhoven and Linzer ASK at the Philips Stadium, which was shown live on BT Sport in the UK.
Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King ruled the women’s tennis game for many years, making her one of the most revered and successful players in the sport. So when, in 1973 the former men’s number one Bobby Riggs challenged her to a televised match, she accepted. The encounter has become known as the ‘Battle of the Sexes’ and, when televised, was the most viewed tennis match thanks to the estimated 90 million people that tuned in.
Moreover, the actual attendees on the day totalled over 30,000 which made it at the time the biggest ever turnout for a tennis match held in the U.S. In an epic unfolding of events, King took the match in three sets in an incredible milestone for women’s tennis.
U.S. Olympian Ronda Rousey claimed the bronze medal in judo at the 2008 Beijing Olympics before embarking on a new challenge. She made her way through the smaller fighting circuits before earning a promotion that saw her sign with the UFC to become part of the inaugural women’s fight. She went from strength to strength and became one of the most feared women on the circuit.
Having successfully defended her championship belt no less than six times, she was eventually dispatched by Holly Holm. Nonetheless, Rousey was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2018, becoming the first woman to receive the accolade. She is the only woman to headline pay-per view events for the UFC and WWE and is also the only woman to have won both those championships.