Never has a first-round win mattered more. In beating Ted Evetts in front of a raucous Alexandra Palace crowd, Fallon Sherrock wrote her name into the record books as the first woman in history to win a PDC World Championship match.

For anyone who doubted whether female players were worth the places they had been guaranteed at dart's showpiece event, this was the most resounding of responses. Sherrock, a 25-year-old single mother from Milton Keynes, is not just as good as the men - she is better.

"I'm speechless," said Sherrock, wiping tears away after the biggest win in women's darts history. "I don't know what to say. Wow. Thank you everyone.

"I knew it was in there but whether it was going to come out on stage is another matter. I just believed in myself.

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"I'm so proud of myself and what I've done for ladies' darts. I've proven that we can compete with anyone and can beat them.

"And there are people who can play like me, if not better. It's just proving ourselves. We don't get that much opportunity, so hopefully we can get more now."

It was only last year that darts supremo Barry Hearn made the decision to allocate two of the 96 places to women. The sport had never definitively blocked females from competing - qualification is open to players of both sex - but Hearn decided the time was right to give woman a clear path to the top.

"It's not going to be easy," he told The Daily Telegraph. "I can give you opportunity but I can't give you ability."

Sherrock has that in abundance. This was a rollicking victory - so enrapturing that for almost its entirety it achieved the rare feat of focusing the whole crowd's attention on the action and away from the usual beer-related chants.

"Oh my God," Sherrock mouthed during her walk-on, so loud was the reception to greet her entrance. She may have been an overwhelming underdog, but there was no doubting whose side the crowd were on with boos regularly greeting Evetts' most important throws, while Sherrock was cheered to the rafters.

From one-set down she pulled it back to one-all. From two-one down she repeated the trick and levelled at two-all in the race to win three sets. It was down to a decider and having plied her trade for years in small, empty clubs across the country, Sherrock was rising on a stage she could only have dreamed of competing on. Meanwhile Evetts - stoically attempting to ignore the jeers - was visibly wilting.

By the time Sherrock took to the oche with three match darts at double 18 the crowd were on their feet roaring at the top of their voices, urging her to make history. Her first effort missed; her second found its target. Cue total pandemonium.

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A full-time mother to her son Rory, who was watching at home with his grandmother, Sherrock's world was rocked five years ago by the news she had developed a serious kidney condition in the aftermath of giving birth.

The side effects of the medication she was forced to take caused her face to swell, prompting horrific abuse from online trolls who cruelly labelled her "moon face".

Even now she has to ensure she is constantly drinking water during competition to flush her kidneys out, but there is no doubting who has had the last laugh where the trolls are concerned.

So what now for women's darts? This had already been a memorable week in north London with BDO women's champion Mikuru Suzuki coming within touching distance of victory on Sunday with Daniela Bata-Bogdanov - the first ever female scoring official at this event - on stage alongside her and fellow player Laura Turner in the commentary booth.

For Sherrock the financial gain is likely to be hugely significant as well. Where last year she received just £1,000 (NZ$1998) for going out in the quarter-finals of the BDO Women's World Championships (the PDC does not have a separate women's competition), she is now guaranteed £15,000 even if she loses against 11th seed Mensur Suljovic in the second round on Sunday. This win really could change everything.

"It definitely sends out a good statement. We can beat the men," said Sherrock. "Hopefully it will encourage more girls and ladies who haven't actually heard of darts to participate and play more."

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It could be quite some legacy. Thanks to Sherrock, darts is no longer a man's world.