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Article: A Look Back In Time - 1st March 2013

A Look Back In Time - 1st March 2013

West Midland players and officials deserve full marks for making the journey to Cornwall in adverse weather condition to take on the local team in their fourth fixture of the season in division one of the Riley’s BDO Inter County Championships. Despite battling the elements, when most fixtures had been cancelled West Midlands efforts were not rewarded in the way they would have hoped.

Saturday’s games saw the ladies ‘B’ involved in an incredible game whereby all six of the encounters were won 3-0. Anna Johnson beat Doreen Kaye in the opening game to put the host’s one up, but Jacqueline Maiden levelled the game with her win over Marian Smith. Carla Ruberry restored Cornwall’s lead in her tie against Kim Fellows only to see Gemma Barrett (West Midlands), with an award winning 18.79 average beat Tyrian Jesse to take the score to 2-2.

For the third time in the match Cornwall went ahead, this time thanks to Gina Jeffery’s win against Kirsty Haw, leaving the outcome hinging on the final game between Tracey Hancock (Cornwall) and Heather Wright. The final game could not have been in safer hands for the away side as Heather Wright had previously won all three of the lady of the match awards and was a lady in form. She came up trumps once again and although she didn’t get the match award on this occasion, her 3-0 win over Tracey Hancock earned her team mates a 3-3 draw and a share of the spoils.

The men’s ‘B’ got off to a good start but then it all went downhill fast. Viv Gould was first on and although he was made to fight all the way in a five legs affair by Danny May he went on to win 3-2 and also win the man of the match award with his 22.41 average.

Mark Watkiss appeared to be well on the way to doubling the West Midlands advantage when he opened up a 2-0 lead over Terry Webber, but he then lost his way a little and Webber cashed in to take the game 3-2. Christopher Stanley (West Midlands) won the first leg against Darryl Baker, but missed finishing doubles cost him dearly and he went down 3-1 to put the home team 2-1 up.

Glen Cullen managed to draw level after losing the first leg to Cornwall’s Neil Dudbridge, but like his team mate Stanley lost 3-1, finishing doubles again proving the downfall. Winning the first leg proved to be in vain as Gregory Parkes failed to add to his tally and Richard Craddock went on to win 3-1 and open up a 4-1 lead for the hosts.

Game number six was a very close affair, Robert Ruberry (Cornwall) went 1-0 in 17 darts against Michael Baker, Baker took the second in 20 darts. Ruberry went ahead again in 20 darts only to see Baker check out on 120 in 21 darts to force a decider. The throw advantage was the telling factor in the fifth and final leg, Ruberry leaving double eighteen after 18 darts, while Baker left himself double nine. Ruberry checked out with his next three darts to increase the home side’s lead to 5-1.

After winning the first leg in 21 darts, Paul Price (West Midlands) struggled to find the big scores and his opponent, Michael Jones took full advantage going on to win 3-1. Taking the running score along to 7-1 and guaranteeing a Cornwall win was Matthew Knowles. Knowles lost the opening leg to Kevin Jones, but won the following two. Jones made it 2-2 in the fourth only to see Knowles record a 60 game shot and take the game 3-2.

West Midlands got their first win since the opener in game number nine. Ian Stanton looked as though he was going to endure the same fate as the majority of his team mates when his opponent Anthony Warne won the first two legs and had a chance to win the third but failed, Stanton keeping the game alive with a 13 outshot. The following two legs could easily have gone either way as both players had throws at finishing doubles, but it was Stanton who capitalised on those doubles and went on to win the tie 3-2.

The question now was would West Midlands be able to fight back and make the final score a little more respectable, the short answer to that was no!! Ryan Herrington after winning the first leg against Malcolm Johns lost 3-1, Jonathon Platt was also a 3-1 loser, winning just the third leg against Andrew Dunstan and in the final game of the day Lance Hackett after trailing 2-0 to Simon Stevenson fought back in style to level at 2-2 and although he hit his second maximum of the game in the deciding leg he missed his double and Stevenson won 3-2 to give Cornwall a massive 10-2 victory and an overall lead of 13-5 on the day.

The ladies ‘A’, similar to their ‘B’ side were without a win so far this season and they began the day with promise. Katherine Jenkins won the first leg against Sandra Allen, then went 2-1 down. She squared the game in the fourth but lost out in the fifth to lose 3-2. Jackie Crew had a good game against Sue Shepherd coming from one down to win 3-1 in 24, 20 and 17 darts. Sarah Thornbury then added to her already won two match awards this season when she defeated Sarah Gill in three straight legs in 21, 25 and 19 darts for a 23.12 average, giving the West Midlands a 2-1 lead and going in front for the first time in the game.

Cornwall’s joint match award winner Nicola Furse (20.31) won her game with Lisa Astbury 3-0 and Pauline Head restored the hosts lead when she twice came from behind against Diane Tolley to win 3-2. Teresa Brookshaw, the other joint match award winner, was the anchor player for Cornwall her 3-0 win over Claire Hobbs giving her team a 4-2 win and putting West Midlands in deep trouble as they trailed 17-7.

Prior to the fixture the men’s ‘A’ were the only West Midlands team to record a win so far this season and they now needed to hand out a massive 12-0 whitewash to their opponents to snatch an overall win, a huge task!!

Those faint hopes were dashed in the very first game when Mark Rollinson lost his 1-0 lead over Michael Jones and finished a 4-1 loser. Matthew Dicken and Andy Forrester each chalked up 4-1 wins in their respective games against Brian Jones and Kevin Bray to put the visitor’s noses in front at 2-1, before Ian Stanton, one of only two winners from the previous day, struggled with his scoring in the first leg and doubles in the following two as Simon May opened a 3-0 lead. Stanton then found his rhythm and fought back to 3-3, unfortunately he missed an outshot of 66 in the decider and May checked out on 20 for a 4-3 win.

Cornwall then went 3-2 up when Simon McClary beat Neil Pointon 4-1, Pointon winning the first leg, they went further ahead with a very close 4-3 from Neil Meneer, who beat Michael Baker. West Midlands then had another run of two wins in a row, Danny Coyle providing the first when he beat John Mann 4-1 and Ian Jones the second, his 4-1 success against David Copplestone saw him check out in 17, 20, 20 and 16 darts for a man of the match award winning average of 29.18.

With the match delicately poised at 4-4 both teams had everything to play for, but once again it was the home team who took the initiative. Paul Cook beat Peter Wyse 4-2 and Kevin Mitchell won 4-1 against Nick Fullwell leaving the away side struggling at 6-4 down.

Adrian Lamerton looked all set to wrap up the win for Cornwall when he went two up against Jake Jones, but he missed his doubles in the next two legs and Jones stepped in to level at 2-2. Jones then went ahead in fourteen darts hitting 140, 140, 99 and 65 to leave 57, which he put to bed with his next two darts. Jones then went on to win the tie 4-2 with a very tidy 16 darts leg scoring 97, 140, 119, 41, 72 and double sixteen.

At 6-5 down and one to play West Midlands could not have wished for a better anchor man than Jamie Hughes. In the three previous outings Jamie had won all three match awards with tremendous averages of 32.85, 30.43 and 31.07. He lost the first leg against the darts to Simon Knowles, but won the second in 17 darts and followed that with an 18 darts leg. Knowles then won the fourth in 18 darts, only to see Hughes rattle off two 17 darts legs to clinch a 4-2 win with a 27.42 average, not a match award winning average but nevertheless a fine performance and earning his team a 6-6 draw.

The overall result was a convincing 23-13 win for Cornwall which took them to the top of the division one promotion table.

Congratulations to West Midlands 26 years old rising star Jamie Hughes who has been selected to play for England in the forthcoming fixtures against Scotland and Wales on 5th –7th April. Hughes who hails from Tipton plays for the highly successful local team in the West Midlands Super League and has chalked up wins in the recent Tipton Open, Gwynedd Open, Bicester Open and qualified for the UK Open at Bolton.

Jamie was a very promising junior football player and had trials for Wolverhampton Wanderers at the age of 15. However, after taking up darts football took something of a back seat and at the age of 21 he quit football to concentrate on his darts.

He began playing Super League darts for Birmingham Midland Red in the Warwickshire Super League and was mentored by close friend and England International Tom Aldridge. After his first super league season Jamie was selected to play for the Warwickshire ‘B’ team, making his debut ironically against Cornwall, the team he has most recently played against in West Midlands colours. He won his ‘B’ game for Warwickshire and was immediately included in the ‘A’ match the following day, which he also won.

The following season Jamie decided to move across the Black Country to play for the West Midlands and has now represented them for the past five years, playing alongside top players like Ian Jones, a long serving and very successful West Midlands player.

Jamie appreciates the help and advice he has received from numerous players and officials, people like Brian Johnson, his first super league captain and another Warwickshire man Neil Pritchard, current super league captain John Jones, plus West Midland men’s team captain Vic Lloyd. He would also like to pay thanks to Robert MacDougall and Steve Gittus for their support over the last two years and on a personal note his fiancée Jayne for her continued support, something every successful player needs.

Jamie Hughes, remember the name, it’s one we’re going to hear a lot more of in the future.

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