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

A Look Back In Time - 1st March 2009

West Midlands middle of the season fixture was an away game against Derbyshire, a game that would see the winner climb into a respectable mid table position. Saturday’s ladies match did not get off to the best of starts for the West Midlands as Dee Fenn (Derbyshire) beat Jane Stubbs 3-1. Parity was achieved when Claire Ford (West Midlands) handed out a straight 3-0 defeat to Dawn Buckley, Claire’s 10.81 average giving her the match award, but that was the only shining light for the away side as the hosts then romped to a 5-1 win. Sara Jukes beat Sarah Robbins 3-0 and then there was 3-1 wins for Jackie Sweet, Sharon Winfield and Ann Birkin who in turn defeated Natalie Harrison, Jacqui Simmons and Julie Aston, leaving the West Midlands ladies ‘B’ side still chasing their first win of the campaign.

The men’s ‘B’ were hoping to bounce back from an 8-4 reversal at home to Staffordshire and began with real promise. Ian Stanton got the ball rolling with his 3-0 win over Simon Birkett, Ian recording a 25.91 average which at the end of the day earned him the man of the match award. Following Ian was Ian Hartland, who was taken the full five legs distance by Brian Startin, but came out the 3-2 winner. Taking the scoreline along to 3-0 to the West Midlands was Matt Tedstone, a 3-1 success against Antony Palfreyman.

The tide then turned in Derbyshire’s favour. Paul Bettney was made to fight all the way for his 3-2 win over Mark Watkiss, but nevertheless got his and his teams first win on the board. Andy Gillott (Derbyshire) reduced the arrears even further when he beat Chris Hickman 3-1 and as the midway point was reached the running score was all square as Tim Daniels added a 3-0 clear win over Matt Dicken to bring the hosts back into the match at 6-6.

The second half began as did the first with the West Midlands taking a firm hold on the game. Viv Gould kicked off with a 3-0 success against Neil Parkin to put the visitor’s noses in front once again. Providing a two game cushion was Martin Tibbetts, who in a very close encounter with Alan Evans, which could have swung either way, found double sixteen in the decider to clinch a 3-2 win. The advantage was increased even further and a draw was the least that could be achieved when Peter Wyse added his 3-1 victory against Kenny Smith to bring the score along to 6-3.

Paul Price (West Midlands) was the man to chalk up the vital seventh winning game. Paul lost the opening leg to Frank Davis, but then won the next two in 16 and 21darts. Davis bounced back to force a fifth and final leg after Price had missed his finishing double with two more visits to the board. In the decider, throwing against the darts advantage Price hit a maximum to give a little breathing space and found double ten, with his opponent on 31, to seal his and his teams win.

In the penultimate game Mark Lloyd took the score along to 8-3 in West Midlands favour, a 3-1 win against Kenny Cooper. The last game of the day between Paul Preston (Derbyshire) and Andy Forrester was another five legs thriller, but on this occasion it was the home player who got the 3-3 verdict, putting the final score at 8-4 to West Midlands.

The ladies ‘A’, similar to their ‘B’ side did not have a good day either. Tracey Johnson, opened Derbyshire’s account with her 3-2 win against Claire Hobbs. Tracey’s team mate Victoria Heathcote in double quick time added a second win when she defeated Kim Fellows 3-0 and the score was taken along to 3-0 when Lorraine Farlam added her 3-2 win at the expense of Leanne Jennings to the tally.

Lisa Astbury was West Midlands first winner of the day, a close 3-2 verdict over Joanne Oldershaw. Lisa’s win and 19.12 average was enough for her to claim the match award, her third award in as many games. Long time West Midlands servant Dianne Tolley added a second win for her team when she beat Rachel Bird 3-1.

The last game went to the hosts as Jane Densley took the final score to 4-2 when she won 3-0 against Kath Jenkins.

Opener for the men’s ‘a’ side was Nicky Bache. Nick was looking to emulate his feat against Dorset where he recorded personal best and his best ever West Midlands average, a tremendous 34.16 to give him the man of the match award in his teams 7-5 win. Nick had to be on his metal again as he took to the oche to play against former England player Jim Beardmore. He won the first leg in 20 darts only to see Beardmore reply by winning the second. Nick stepped up his game and with three, three figure scores went ahead again in 18 darts and then clinched a 3-1 win when he checked out on 66 in 17 darts.

Tom Aldridge went 1-0 up against Dean Alsop, but then lost the next two. He kept himself in the match winning the fourth only to see Alsop win the decider. Ian Jones was also taken the full five legs distance by Mick Haynes, but it was better news for him. Haynes went within an ace of victory when he the first two legs in 20 and 22 darts. Jones then turned on the style. He won the third leg in 19 darts with a 140 and 100. The game was levelled in the fourth leg when the West Midlands man hit 180, 140, 60, 81 and checked out on 40 in a great 14 darts leg. The fifth and final leg saw Jones steam ahead again hitting 140, 60, 85, 140 and a game shot of 76 for a 3-2 win and a man of the match winning average of 27.30.

West Midlands 2-1 up, Chris Plumpton made it 3-1. Chris like Jones lost the first leg, but rose to the challenge when he won the next three in 23, 14 and 15 darts.

Derbyshire’s Darren Brown pulled one back when he beat Lol Frazer 3-1 and by the halfway stage it was all square as Richard Foster (West Midlands) lost 3-1 to Mick Chapman.

For a third time the visitors went in front, this time it was thanks to Avtar Singh who went the full distance with Steve Pashley but came out the 3-2 winner to restore the West Midlands lead at 4-3. The advantage only lasted as long as the next game as Ron Hanson’s 3-2 win over Steve Farmer levelled the match.

For the first time in the match Derbyshire went ahead in the ninth game. Gary Fenn’s 3-1 win against Andy Forrester saw the home team go 5-4 up and when Phil Henshaw beat Jamie Hughes 3-2, and only two games remaining they looked all set for a win.

The penultimate game between Dave Smith-Hayes and Martin Angell was another five legs thriller, the sixth of the match, but it was Angell who kept the hopes alive for the West Midlands and give anchor man Mark Rollinson a fighting chance to salvage a draw. That was exactly what Rollinson did, his 3-1 victory over Darren Sinfield put the final score at 6-6, but more importantly the close 19-17 overall result went in favour of East Midlands not West Midlands.

Congratulations to Jimmy Norris who has won the inaugural season of the Grange Sunday Night 301 Charity League. A total of 54 points saw Norris take the title by a clear seven points over runner up Matt Cooper.

Amazingly three players Luke Coles, Jules Harris and Phil Watkins all finished with the same 16 points and level average in the Shadow League.

In addition to winning the league title Norris also won the Children In Need Knockout beating Julian Harris 2-0 in the final. Harris went one better in the doubles he and his partner Noreen Harris beat Dave Watkins and Mike Forsythe 2-1 to clinch the crown. However, Watkins then went one better by winning the Club Knockout a 2-1 victory over Tom Martin in the final.

The league singles was won by league runner up Matt Cooper with Mikey Harris the losing finalist.

The Royal Oak, Long Eaton, Nottingham is the setting for a monthly knockout. The latest 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???

Forty seven must the number of the month as that was also the number that turned out for the first Dennis Roberts Singles. The knockout was organised in memory of a true gentleman and ambassador for the sport of darts who was Warwickshire men’s team manager for a truly amazing 185 consecutive fixtures.

Winner of the event was Kevin Dowling who beat Trevor Frost 3-2 in the final. Losing semi finalists were John Kavanagh and Nigel Heydon.

What a fantastic gesture by winner Kevin Dowling, who after being presented with his £100 winnings immediately announced that he would donate the money to the Warwickshire Youth squad. Well done Kevin on both winning the event and also for your generosity to the county.

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