A Look Back In Time - 1st June 2011
West Midlands final division one fixture of the Riley’s BDO Inter County Championships season was an away game against the team above them in the table Derbyshire. Although it was not a desperate game to win for either side it was one they hoped would see them finish the campaign on a high.
In Saturdays matches the ladies game began a little unusually in so much as the results of all of the contests went against the darts advantage. Dawn Buckley (Derbyshire) set the pattern when she opened up with a straight 3-0 win over Jenna Couch. Jacqui Simmons (West Midlands) replied with her 3-1 success against Sandra Rogers, after Rogers had won the first leg.
The home side went ahead again in the third encounter, this time thanks to a 3-1 win from Louise Rawson over Jacqueline Maiden, but as before the lead was short lived as Doreen Kaye recorded a 3-0 victory over Rebecca Hoyland to take the score along to 2-2. In the penultimate game Derbyshire’s Kerri Buckley finished on the right side of a 3-1 scoreline against Kim Fellows putting her team within an ace of victory. A lady of the match performance from Tammy Chance (West Midlands) put an end to any thoughts of a Derbyshire win, despite losing out in the opening leg to Sara Jukes, Tammy bounced back to record a 3-1 win and an average of 17.69 to secure the trophy and a share of the spoils with a final verdict of 3-3.
The men’s ‘B’ team, with seven wins in eight games were able to boast a very successful campaign and were hoping to make it nine wins from ten. Lance Hackett put them on the right track when he began the match with a 3-1 win against Ben Holmes. Unlike the ladies game where all the results went against the first throw advantage the first six of the men’s went with the advantage and because of that the second player for the West Midlands, Avtar Singh went down 3-2 to Ian Hannah. Paul Wright restored the visitor’s advantage with another five legs affair in which he got the vital decider against Graham Cowley, only to see Alan Evans beat Wayne Griffiths 3-1 to level the match at 2-2.
Game five produced West Midlands man of the match. Greg Parkes handed out a 3-0 defeat to Frank Davis in 22, 19 and 18 darts with his opponent not reaching a finishing double in any of the three legs. Greg’s winning average 25.47. Taking the match up to the halfway stage Aden Kirk became the third player to square the match for Derbyshire, on this occasion it was Martin Angell who was on the wrong side of a 3-0 result to see the game levelled at 3-3.
The second half of the game was a completely different story as Nigel Daniels broke the sequence in the seventh game and for the first time in the match put the hosts into the lead. Daniels lost the first leg to Paul Price and although he went on to win 3-1 Price was on a finishing double in all three legs.
Viv Gould had a real good chance of cancelling out Derbyshire’s lead when, from 1-0 down to Alan Statham he raced into a 2-1 lead and but for finishing doubles could have wrapped up a 3-1 win in the fourth leg. However, he failed and Statham stepped in to force a deciding leg. The Derby man could not have dreamt of a better start to the decider as he kicked off with a maximum and followed that with another maximum to give him all the breathing space he required to get to the finishing line, which he did with Gould left way back on 210.
Derbyshire’s 5-3 advantage looked to be reduced when John Platt won the first two legs against Danny Thomas, But with a 180 start to the third leg and a 101 finish Thomas was back in the game at 2-1.Platt struggled to find the big scores in the fourth leg unlike Thomas who rattled off scores of 100, 139 plus 125 and with a double eighteen game shot the game was set for a fifth and deciding leg. Platt began the better but quickly tailed off as Thomas came good with shots of 140 and 100, and as Platt left himself on double sixteen, Thomas checked out on 32 for a 3-2 and open up a 6-3 lead for his team.
In the Reece Spurr, Danny Coyle encounter, the latter won the first leg and with an opener of 140 and a finish of 114 went into a 2-0 lead. Spurr reduced the arrears when he checked out o 45 after Coyle had missed his double to clinch a 3-0 win. Nevertheless, Coyle didn’t have to wait too long for his victory as he then hit double ten in the fourth leg, and on this occasion it was his opponent who was guilty of missing his finishing double.
The home team held a 6-4 lead with two to play. Mark Watkiss (West Midlands) faced up to Robert Wood, despite the 3-0 result it was a very close game in which the win could have gone to either player, but fortunately for the West Midlands it was Watkiss who got the vote and keep his team in with a chance of a share of the spoils.
Either player could have won the first two legs of the final game, but it was Derbyshire’s Andy Wheeldon who won them over Ian Stanton. In the third leg Wheeldon chalked up a maximum, but it was to no avail as Stanton won the leg with a 20 game shot. The fourth leg saw the home player open up a lead, miss his finishing double Wheeldon made no mistake, first dart double five, a 3-1 win and a 7-5 victory for his team.
In their previous two outings the ladies ‘A’ had lost 5-1, unfortunately this game was going to make it three in a row, but it could have been a little closer.
Sarah Robbins was West Midlands first player to the oche and looked all set to open the match with a win for the away team as she went 2-0 up against Rachel Bird. In the third leg Sarah could have sealed a 3-0 win but again those vital finishing doubles were the downfall and Bird flew in to steal the leg. There was no stealing for the following two legs as Bird won them for a 3-2 win, Robbins unable to reach a finishing double in either of the legs.
Lisa Astbury (West Midlands) went 2-1 up against Jackie Sweet and once again it was the host player who won 3-2. Heather Wright lost 3-0 to an in form Jane Densley who won the Derbyshire lady of the match award, and Diane Tolley also lost to a lady in form in the shape of Jo Oldershaw, who won 3-1 after Diane had taken the first leg.
At 4-0 down the writing was once again well and truly on the wall for the West Midlands and although encouraged when Kath Jenkins went 1-0 up against Tracey Johnson, were depleted once more when she finished on the wrong side of the 3-1 result.
What’s that about saving the best till last, that was certainly true for the West Midlands as Claire Hobbs once again stepped in the avoid the whitewash. Playing against Rachel Ayres Claire won the first, lost the second and won the next two for a 3-1 win, her 12.76 average and the only winner in a 5-1 defeat earning her the match award.
The opening game of the men’s ‘A’ match was a cracker fought out between Derbyshire’s Ray Sallis and Dean Stewart. Both players hit a 140 and 100 in the first leg, darts advantage giving Stewart the leg in 20 darts, In the second leg Sallis hit 121 plus 100 and was actually out tonned as Stewart recorded 140 and 2x100, but despite this it was Sallis who levelled the game in 16 darts. Leg number three saw both players hit 140 and 100 again, Stewart taking the leg in 17 darts with a 78 outshot.
The fourth leg was the best of the game, Sallis scored 140, 100, 85, 40 and 104 to leave 32 after 15 darts, Stewart meanwhile had score os 100, 45, 100 plus 180 and checked out on 76 for a 15 darts leg and a 3-1 win, his average 29.67, Sallis averaged 29.59, what a tremendous start to a match.
Lol Frazer kicked off with a 106 game shot against Mark Robinson (Derbyshire), but was unable to capitalise and Robinson ran out the 3-1 winner. Then came two in a row for the home team, Wayne Pepper beating Mark Rollinson 3-0 and Darron Brown winning 3-2 against Nick Fullwell to open up a 3-1 lead for Derby
Pulling one back for the West Midlands was the evergreen Ian Jones. Jones gave Paul Bettney very little chance to get into the game as he won 3-0 in 17, 14 and 16 darts, Bettney requiring scores of 252, 195 and 222 as Jones chalked up his man of the match award winning average of 31,98. Unfortunately it was then back to as you were, Simon Birkett recording a 3-2 win against Matt Dicken and Steve Pashley beating Neil Pointon 3-1 to extend Derbyshire’s lead to 5-2.
There was then a brief mini revival for the West Midlands as Peter Wyse beat Robert Needham 3-1 and Richard Platt won by the same margin against Richard Hanson, bringing the deficit down to 5-4 and a chance to get something out of the match.
Jamie Hughes began well, a 135 finish in his first leg against Phil Henshaw followed by a 76 finish to go 2-0 up. It was then a case of both players down to a double in the next three legs but all three of them going in favour of Henshaw for his 3-2 win.
With a draw assured for the hosts Carl Frith faced up to Andy Forrester, the latter chalking up a 3-0 win to sustain hopes of a draw for the West Midlands, hopes were soon dashed however, as Gary Bennett beat Chris Plumpton not allowing him to reach a double in any of the legs and in the process giving his side a 7-5 victory plus an overall 22-14 win.
So another season over and thankfully although it was not one of West Midlands better one’s it was good enough to maintain their division one status and so they now live to fight another day and hopefully reach the promised land, the Premier Division.
Speaking of survival a few words of praise for local rivals Warwickshire, who in their final fixture of the campaign played hosts to middle of the table Kent knowing they required as many points as possible to avoid relegation. The match finished all square, an 18-18 draw giving Warwickshire a final tally of 144 points.
Surrey finished bottom of the table on 137 points with Cornwall second from bottom on the same 144 points as Warwickshire, Phew that was oh so close!! Congratulations to all Warwickshire players, officials and supporters for maintaining their premier division status.