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Article: A Look Back In Time - 1st April 2009

A Look Back In Time - 1st April 2009

Two fixtures in 21 days, that’s what West Midlands have played in division one of the BDO Inter Counties Championships and the two games have seen them lift themselves from a very nervous third from bottom of the table to a more comfortable middle of the table position.

The first of the fixtures was a home tie with Middlesex, a vital game to both teams as the visitors were propping up the foot of the table and West Midlands were just two places above them. The ladies ‘B’ with three draws and two defeats were hoping to record their first win of the season and Julie Aston got them off to the best of starts when she beat Vanessa Thomas 3-0. Alexis Miller, Helen Wingate and Coreen Loffler put Middlesex into a 3-1 lead by defeating in turn Jacqui Simmons, Natalie Harrison and Claire Ford.

Liz Arnold (15.93) reduced the arrears with a lady of the match performance and a 3-2 win over Anita Daly, leaving the result hinging on the final game between Sarah Robbins (West Midlands) and Debbie Stevens. Sarah Robbins chalked up a 3-0 win to earn the hosts a share of the points in their fourth 3-3 draw.

The men’s ‘B’ were hoping to emulate their previous win Derbyshire and that’s exactly what they did in a great 8-4 victory. Middlesex took the first game when Terry Andrews beat Greg Parkes 3-1. Mark Lloyd’s 3-1 success against Roy Peacock levelled the match and then a similar win for Ian Hartland over Eddie Collinge saw the home team go 2-1 up.

The visitors took the lead again when Ben Stevenson and Mick Ward had 3-1 win’s over respective opponents Mathew Tedstone and Martin Tibbetts, but by the midway point it was all square as Richard Foster turned on the style against Brian Watts, beating him 3-0 in 15, 19 and 19 darts to average 28.36, which earned him the match award.

West Midlands began the second half better than the first, Mark Watkiss winning the opener against Gary Lewis by 3-2 after trailing 2-0, then came Eddie Price who also fought back from two down against Scott Robertson to win 3-2 and open up a 6-3 lead. Steve Salt (Middlesex) pulled one back for the away side when he defeated Ian Stanton 3-0, but it was a momentary lapse as further wins from Viv Gould and Mathew Dicken over respective opponents John McDermott and Chris Hill gave West Midlands a second in a row 8-4 win.

Sunday’s games began with the home team boasting an 11-7 lead and although there was an upset in the first game of the ladies ‘A’ when Claire Hobbs lost 3-2 to Deniece Lewis, it was not long before the home team were in control. Lady of the match Leanne Jennings (23.48) had a great 3-0 win over Lisa Norton rounding off her win with a 107 checkout in a 19 darts leg. Lisa Astbury moved the score along to 2-1 with her 3-1 win over Karen Daly and a share of the spoils was assured when Kath Jenkins won her game with Tina Moran 3-1.

In the penultimate game Middlesex gained their second winner in the shape of Margaret Sutton, a 3-1 win against Diane Tolley, but the win was confirmed for the West midlands when in the final tussle Kim Fellows, after going 1-0 down to Sharon Haeffey came back to win 3-1 and give her team a 4-2 win.

Middlesex won the first two games of the men’s ‘A’ encounter. Steve Hyatt and Vern Sheppard were the suppliers with Lol Frazer and Chris Plumpton on the receiving end. Jamie Hughes and Andy Forrester restored parity by defeating Jamie Sadler and Peter Barnes, but the visitors restored their two games lead and actually opened a three games buffer when Graham Inniss, Mick Seager and Mick Doabe beat in turn Nicky Bache, Martin Angell and Mark Rollinson.

Trailing now 5-2 the ‘A’ side needed to return to winning ways and the man that started that was Steve Farmer (29.67) with a match award winning 3-1 win against Mick Ward. Spurred on by Steve’s win Avatar Singh beat Mark Haggerty 3-0, Peter Wyse won 3-2 against Alan Taylor and Ian Jones beat Richie Davis 3-1 to give the home team a 6-5 advantage. Joe Stone (Middlesex) beat Tom Aldridge in the final encounter to put the result at 6-6 and an overall 21-15 scoreline in favour of the West Midlands.

The second fixture was a tough away game against Gwent, the Middlesex win being a massive victory taking the West Midlands to a respectable mid table position and providing a much need confidence booster for another test of the Midlanders nerves and skill.

The ladies ‘B’ forced another 3-3 draw, Sarah Robbins (18.98) wiping out the opening win of Debbie Ham when she beat Alison Bonas 3-2 and take the lady of the match award in the process. Gwent went 3-1 thanks to wins from Wendy

Crowley and Hannah Price, but it was Jacqui Simmons and Claire Ford who cancelled out their wins to earn a share of the points.

The men’s ‘B’, after the first half dozen games were 4-2 up, Ian Stanton, Mark Lloyd, Ian Hartland and Dean Stewart beating their counterparts Carl Lloyd, Andrew Davis, Geoff Bladen and Geoff Dyer. The second half began well as Matt Tedstone (27.42) kicked it off with a match award winning 3-1 win over Paul Cosslett, but then came Gwent’s response as they took three in a row through John Heal, Nick Kenny and Jimmy Thompson to put the score at 5-5 with two to play.

Viv Gould gave the West Midlands the initiative when he won 3-1 against Andy Miller however, it finished at 6-6 when Frank Drury (Gwent) won the last game against Greg Parkes.

The ladies ‘A’ trailed 2-0 to wins from Linda Rogers Pickett and Jan Robbins, fought back to level terms thanks to Claire Hobbs and Kath Jenkins but then went behind again when Moe Collier beat Kim Fellows 3-0. Nevertheless, lady of the match Leanne Jennings (20.88) won the final game against Natalie Pyatt 3-0 to put the result all square at 3-3/

The men’s ‘A’ shared the first six games, Cliff Bull put the hosts one up before Tom Aldridge levelled. Adrian Rees and Andrew Hayward gave Gwent a 3-1 advantage, but again their lead was erased, when first Ian Jones, with a terrific 29.91 average and a 3-1 result beat Gareth Webb and Peter Wyse, with a similar margin beat Peter Johns.

The final six games were again shared, but not before there were a few heart felt tremors from the West Midlands team. From 3-3 Gwent moved into an unassailable 6-3 lead, thanks to wins from Andy Chappell, Brian Barne and Stephen Cake. Nicky Bache held his nerve and chalked up a vital 3-1 win over Clive Fielding to keep his team in the match. In the penultimate game it was another 3-1 verdict for the Midlanders when Mark Rollinson beat Chris Johns, leaving anchor man Steve Farmer to do battle with Chris Smart. The result was never in doubt as Steve romped to a straight 3-0 victory to make it four games over the weekend and four draws.

So it all finished dead level at 18-18, but what a great performance from the West Midlands to consolidate their mid table position and leave them just eleven points behind their hosts who are in second place.

Dale Cooper, owner of Martindale Home Improvements, Heanor, Derbyshire has opened up a brand new and exciting forum on the web namely, The site has already attracted not only darts players from around the country, but also boast members from America. In addition to local, super league and county players there are also professional players that have joined the forum, each and everyone adding their own experiences, thoughts and ideas and obviously provide darts chat to suit everyone.

The site is growing daily and not only does it accommodate darts enthusiasts but basically everybody else as any and every other sport anyone cares to talk about is accepted on it together with a great selection of games to take part in.

Take my advice and take time out to check the site out, I’m sure that like me you will get well and truly hooked.

The PK Darts Wolverhampton open at the ECC Sports & Social Club attracted 91 entries from all over the Midlands and produced some excellent games with a lot of shocks,The preliminary round bought top pdc stars Wayne Jones and Chris

Mason together and it was Wayne Jones who ran out a comfortable 3-0 winner. Three West Midlands county players all stumbled at the first hurdle, Ian Jones,Lance Hackett and Gavin Baker defeating Martin Tibbetts, Nicky Bache and Greg Parkes respectively.

Top games in the last 64 saw Mark Hylton beat Mark Watkiss 3-1 with Hylton hitting six perfect darts in the second leg, Tony Randall beat Shropshire’s Simon Arora 3-0 and Darren Bennett overcame Tommy Aldridge in a last leg thriller.

The last 32 saw Simon Pritchard go 2-1 ahead against eventual winner Nigel Heydon and miss a dart at double 16 before going out 3-2. PDC player Dave Honey beat Wayne Jones 3-1, Tipton’s Ian Jones beat the previous knockout’s finalist Tony Randall 3-0 and county newcomer Dean Stewart knocked out Stuart Pinches 3-0.

In the final sixteen games Nigel Heydon began to find his top form destroying Avtar Singh 3-0 and the round also saw comfortable wins for Dave Pallett, Dicky Foster and Lee Miller to put them in the quarter finals.

The best game of the quarter finals came from Neil Birkin, who won a deciding leg battle against Ian Jones, while Dave Honey and Nigel Heydon handed out 4-0 whitewashes in turn to Dicky Foster and Lee Miller.

The semi finals saw Nigel Heydon record an excellent 99 three darts average beating Dave Pallett 5-0 and Neil Birkin beat Dave Honey 5-3.

In the final Heydon continued his fine form chalking up a tremendous 96 average to beat Birkin, who put up a brave fight but still went down 6-1.

The Royal Oak, Long Eaton, Nottingham is now the setting for a monthly knockout. The most recent one, despite the atrocious weather conditions attracted a healthy 47 players from Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire and the West Midlands, with PDV professionals and top county players taking on local pub players.

The last 16 encounter between Matt Padgett and Neil Birkin went to the wire with the players trading 12 dart legs and impressive heavy scoring with Neil winning through to the quarter finals.

This round however was eclipsed by the meeting of Jamie "Jabba" Caven and Mark "Mile High" Hylton which drew the largest audience of the evening, the spectators and other contestants pressing forward, eager to see what they hoped would be quality darts.

Jamie and Mark did not disappoint - Jamie continued his fine form in Midland competition’s and sailed into a two leg lead, only for Mark to find his range and claw his way back to two all. Mark had the throw in the deciding leg and made the darts count with an opening 180, Jamie countered with a 140 only for Mark to hit another maximum with his third visit to the oche. Jamie then left himself on a possible checkout after nine darts but Mark took the match in 11 darts (the best of the night) to book his place in the quarters.

In the quarter finals a rejuvenated John Knowles beat Chris Cooper (who had looked impressive all evening) 3-1 and Rich Reynolds lost by the odd leg of five to Neil Birkin in another very close game.

The semi finals saw John Knowles and another extremely talented youngster Ryan "Rhino" Herrington exit the competition, leaving Mark Hylton and Neil Birkin to step up to contest the final, which again proved to be a high scoring match - Neil taking the opening leg in 15 darts only for Mark to respond by winning the next four. Neil took advantage of missed doubles in the sixth leg to narrow the deficit to 4-2. But any hopes of winning the title were erased when Mark ended the game with a 15 darter in the next leg to win 5 -2.

As winner Mark Hylton received £200 plus £20 for the least darts, Neil Birkin collected £75.

A special mention must go to Pete Allsopp, who topped the ton plus finishes on the night with a 160 checkout and a marvellous act of sportmanship in allowing a leg to be replayed after a marking mix-up - whoever said darts isn't a real sport???

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