A Look Back In Time - 1st December 2007
Already one third of the Kaliber BDO Inter Counties Championship season has been completed and West Midlands playing in division two have maintained their unbeaten run in all three fixtures and currently lie in a very comfortable second place in the promotional table only two points adrift of leaders Nottinghamshire.
The latest encounter on the fixture card was a home tie at Gilberts Bar, Willenhall, where West Midlands played hosts to Berkshire. Getting the match underway was the ladies ‘B’ who were looking to avenge a previous 5-1 drubbing at the hands of London. Kim Fellows opened up with a 3-2 win against Camilla Karkaria. The lead was short lived as Sue Hinks (Berkshire) beat Lisa Astbury in three straight legs and Enid Vincent followed up with a similar 3-0 win over Jacqui Simmons to give the Away team a 2-1 lead.
Long serving West Midlands player Diane Tolley squared the game with a 3-0 success over Kate Denton and when Sarah Robbins (17.84) turned on a lady of the match performance against Greta Darling, beating her in the last leg of a five legs affair the result was left hinging on the final game between Claire Ford (West Midlands) and Louise Lawrence.
Claire Ford won the first leg only to see Lawrence win the next two. Ford bounced back to level terms in the fourth leg but was unfortunately unable to win the decider even with the darts advantage and Louise Lawrence ran out the 3-2 winner and at the same time earned her team mates a share of the spoils in a 3-3 draw.
The men’s ‘B’ with a draw and a win were obviously eager to stretch their undefeated run to three games and began with real promise. Viv Gould was pegged back to 2-1 by Paul Luker and then taken to a fifth and final leg but came out of the tussle with the 3-2 verdict. Matt Dicken was completely opposite to Gould’s but thankfully with the same result. Neville Moore won the opener and Dicken the next two. Moore drew level at two each and it was Dicken who won the leg with a 522 game shot to put the home team 2-0 up. Avtar Singh added to the scoreline when he beat Geoff Bennett 3-1 and with a similar margin Paul Price won against John Gray to take the score along to 4-0 in West Midlands favour.
It was the fifth game before Berkshire chalked up their first winner and he came in the shape of Doug Harwood. Playing against Stuart Kendrick Harwood went 1-0 down, he won the second and lost the third. At 2-1 down Harwood then turned up the pressure he won the fourth leg and then went on to win the last to record a 3-2 victory. Peter Fisher then attempted to reduce the arrears even further for Berkshire when he won the first leg against Martin Angell however, that proved to be his only winning leg as Angell powered his way to a 3-1 win to the hosts a 5-1 advantage at the halfway point.
Eddie Price got the second half proceedings underway but it was not the start the home team wanted as he lost out by 3-1 to Andy Leighton. Mark Lloyd restored the four games buffer when he, with a 3-0 result accounted for Billy Brazil taking the running tally along to 6-2. Then came the turn around as Geoff Heath (Berkshire) beat Greg Parkes 3-0, Paul Sibley beat Jack Routledge 3-1 and Paul Andrews won 3-2 against Steve Round to bring the score to 6-5 to the West Midlands with only one game to play after storming into what appeared to be a very comfortable 6-2 lead.
So as in the ladies game the tension was now well and truly on the shoulders of the last two players, representing the home side Chris Plumpton and for the visitors Roy Barton. As it turned out Barton never really had a chance as Plumpton won the first leg in 17 darts, the second in 17 darts and wrapped up his 3-0 victory and the match award in the process with a 16 darts leg to give him a tremendous 30.06 average and his team mates a 7-5 win.
Sunday’s games began with darts advantage taking the upper hand. Allison Judge (Berkshire) won the first, 3-2 against Julie Aston, then West Midlands player Kath Jenkins the second with another 3-2 result but Kath coming back from a 2-0 deficit to claim her win.
Game number three and the pattern continued as Ann Llewellyn beat Sara Jukes 3-0, before Leanne Jennings for the third time this season won herself the match award, with a straight legs win over Jo Sibley in which she averaged 20.88.
So once again the match was levelled and it was the fifth game before the mould was broken and it took Chris Banks from the Midlands side to break it. Chris took on Wendy Warilow and although both players had throws at finishing doubles in all three legs it was Chris who was the player to find those all so important doubles running out a 3-0 winner and putting her team in the lead for the first time in the game at 3-2.
So the third game of the weekend was about to finish and for the third time the result was left hinging on the very last game. On this occasion Claire Hobbs faced up to Julie James (Berkshire). Julie swept into a 2-0 lead only to see Claire force her way back into the game and draw level at 2-2. It was not to be as Julie James with a 100 and a terrific 103 outshot clinched her 3-2 win and give her side a share of the points.
The men’s ‘A’ like the ‘B’ were also unbeaten with a draw and win in the seasons opening two fixtures and they now required at the worst a draw to achieve an overall victory for the weekend. Against the darts Steve Farmer won his game against Jay Rolls 3-2, he checked out on 133 for the first leg and then 32 in the second. Rolls then bounced back to win the next two legs but it was award winning Farmer (28.88) who won the fifth to seal a 3-2 win. Ian Jones began in fine form when he shot out on 146 in the first leg against Paul Snowsill. However, there was then a rare occurrence as Jones slipped to a 3-1 defeat as Snowsill checked out in 20, 17 and 17 darts. Nicky Bache restored West Midlands one game lead when he beat Paul Roe 3-0, but yet again the visitors drew level when Joe Lacey came from one down to Peter Wyse to win 3-1. The sequence was broken in the fifth game Steve Shadwell winning 3-2 against Dave Arnold to put Berkshire in front at 3-2, the first time they had been ahead in the game. Rounding off the first half Jamie Hughes fought off the challenge of Brian Barton to win 3-0 and put the match at 3-3 with both teams having everything to play for in the second half.
Berkshire got away to the better start in the second half Kevin Morley winning 3-2 against Richard Foster and although Mark Jones, with a 3-0 success over Dan Woodcraft levelled the match at 4-4 it was the away team through Steve Greene and Steve Rose with wins in turn over Mick James and Lol Frazer looked the most likely to win the game with a 6-4 lead.
The penultimate game between Chris Hickman (West Midlands) and Mark Campbell was a close five legs affair. The first four legs were shared with Hickman twice taking the lead. The decider was never in doubt as Hickman kicked off with 100,100 and 140 to his opponents 100. Throwing for 35, with Campbell back on 109, Hickman made no mistakes, using all three darts he won the leg and the game in eighteen darts. Anchor man for the home side was Mark Rollinson and the away Andy Saunders. Rollinson kept his nerve and roared to a fantastic straight legs win to earn a 6-6 draw and wrap up the overall 19-17 win for the weekend.
Harborne and District League former league secretary and current league player Steve Wenlock is certainly getting his son, Joshua off to an early start, as from the age of eighteen months he was throwing magnetic darts and now at the ripe old age of three is actually throwing, under supervision, small pointed darts.
Joshua’a aunty, nine years old Jessica McGlone is daughter of Warwickshire county player Tom McGlone and had been playing darts for around six years. Jessica is a regular spectator at the Warwickshire games to watch he dad play.
The Bedworth Gateway Open has been for many, many years been one of the major competitions not only in the Midlands but throughout the country with entries coming from all corners of the land. Unfortunately I have received confirmation from organiser Deric Wells that due to the lack of entries the competition will not be run this year. Teams who have already sent in entries will have their fees refunded.
Let’s hope this is just a minor blip and that the competition will return to it’s former glory again next year.