Watch the thrilling conclusion of this week’s event with a double session on Sunday, starting with the semi-finals from 1pm on Sky Sports Arena, followed by the final from 7pm
By Paul Prenderville at the Aldersley Leisure Village
Last Updated: 20/11/21 10:22pm
Fallon Sherrock’s Grand Slam of Darts fairytale is over after the Queen of the Palace suffered a 16-13 quarter-final defeat against world No 2 Peter Wright, who will face Michael Smith in the last four after Bully Boy shocked Michael van Gerwen.
Sherrock had beaten Mike De Decker, Gabriel Clemens and Mensur Suljovic to become the second woman to win a match at the Grand Slam, set a new highest televised average by a female player and become the first woman to reach the knockout stages.
However, that journey ended at the quarter-final stage as a ruthless Wright matched his group-stage win over Sherrock, holding off a brilliant performance from Sherrock, who averaged more than 100 for much of the contest over a longer format, but missed a couple of crunch darts at double to come up short.
Sherrock is left to reflect on a sensational week’s work that has catapulted her into the mix for a Tour Card without going to Q-School, thanks to her GBP20k in prize money, and into the conversation for Premier League selection ahead of her return to Alexandra Palace at the World Championship next month.
Live Grand Slam of Darts
November 21, 2021, 1:00pm
Sherrock falls just short against inspired Snakebite
Sherrock has made headlines all week at the Aldersley Leisure, and a Saturday night headline act in the final quarter-final of the tournament against the man that beat her seven days ago in her group stage, gave her the chance for revenge and more importantly a place in the last four.
She started in impressively composed form, leading 3-1 early on and landing a now-trademark big finish in the process as a 101 checkout helped her into a 3-1 lead.
Needed his best darts just to compete, and in front of a boisterous crowd who cheered her every arrow, Snakebite maintained his perfect finishing record to claw his way into a lead for the first time after Sherrock missed a dart at double 16.
The pair split the next six but Wright’s flawless early doubling was beginning to let him down, and Sherrock was creating chances and matching the world No 2 in the scoring stakes, only to miss three darts to level at 7-7.
Wright needed all three to find the corner of double five, which dug him out of a corner, but a 14-dart leg kept her within striking distance. More chances went begging in a pivotal 16th leg – both players missing their share before Snakebite hung on to his two-leg lead and then powered into an 11-7 lead.
The pair ploughed on, both pushing their average above 100 – an ice-cool 70 from Sherrock gave the crowd hope, but in the next leg Sherrock narrowly missed a dart for a 141 finish and Wright pounced with his first three-figure finish.
Sherrock landed just a second – but crucial – break of throw to close within two at 14-12 as a sloppy Wright made a mess of things from 170 and the difference was down to one thanks to a brilliant 13-dart leg.
Wright regained his composure to win the final three legs, crossing the finish line with a brilliant 115 finish for a return to the semi-final for the fourth time in six years.
Smith ends Van Gerwen hoodoo to keep title dream alive
It is not often that Michael van Gerwen takes second billing, and it is even less frequent when he is in the sort of form he has shown this week – but that was the case on Saturday night as his contest with Smith kicked off the evening.
However, it was Smith who prevailed, pulling off a rare victory over the Dutchman who has so often proved his nemesis, including Premier League and World Championship finals but ‘Bully Boy’ is still in the hunt for a first televised title.
MvG is without a televised ranking title since the Players Championship Finals almost one year ago – but the signs have been there that his best might be returning with a Pro Tour title and the Nordic Darts Masters crown in recent weeks.
Smith had other ideas with a spectacular start to claim the first five legs, averaging almost 110 and hitting five 180s on his way to a 5-0 lead. Bully Boy missed just two of his seven darts at double, while Van Gerwen had seven himself but failed to hit the outer ring with all of them.
A much-needed 148 from MvG got him on the board, with Smith waiting on double 16 and Van Gerwen took his tally to three legs on the bounce when Smith missed a dart for each of the seventh and eighth legs.
The Dutchman took two of the next three to stay within touching distance, but he was having to dig deep with a sizzling 164 finish ensuring he reduced the deficit to two.
In many of the biggest matches he’s played,Michael smith’s Achilles heel was a slow start. There was none of that tonight. Absolutely electric from the get go.
Van Gerwen drew to within one leg, only to miss a dart to level the match and he was royally punished as Smith opened up a three-leg lead again, a classy 13-dart leg left him 9-6 in front and with the Dutchman continuing to splutter Smith inched closer to the finish line.
Van Gerwen added a spectacular 170 finish to hang on and then punished missed darts from Bully Boy to close back within three again. But Van Gerwen’s doubling profligacy continued as he took his tally to 19 with two more going begging.
Smith missed five darts for a 14-9 lead and Van Gerwen broke but the expected recovery never came as he missed another chance to consolidate and Smith was far enough in front to claim a memorable victory despite a late MvG flurry.
Don’t miss a dart from the Grand Slam of Darts which continues on Sunday with a double session that starts with the semi-finals from 1pm and then the final from 7pm – join us on Sky Sports Arena. Check out daily Darts news on skysports.com/darts, our app for mobile devices and our Twitter account @skysportsdarts