A Look Back In Time - 1st May 2014
West Midlands most recent fixture in division two of the Riley’s BDO Inter County Championships was a home tie against Northamptonshire. Playing at Gilberts Bar, Willenhall the home side new if they were to have any chance of staying in the promotion race this was a match they had to win. And win they did, doing it in style plus for the first time this season they had a clean sweep with all four of their teams winning.
Saturday first game for the ladies saw Lisa Maiden lose 3-1 to Kelly Walker, but the deficit was quickly erased as Gemma Barrettt beat Ann Howard in three straight legs and take her first match award of the season with her 17.48 average. Despite losing the first leg to Jo Johnson, Claire Hobbs came bouncing back to win 3-1 and give the home side the lead for the first time in the game.
The following two games both went the full five legs distance, Kim Fellows was losing 2-1 to Nicola Coleman and went on to win and Shellbie Simmons, after going 1-0 down to Amy Chappell eventually won, chalking up the all important fourth winning leg to confirm an overall victory.
The last game for the ladies ‘B’ saw Jacqueline Maiden twice take the lead against Sandra Simmonds, but unfortunately could not find the elusive finishing doubles in the last two legs and went down 3-2 to give a final score of 4-2 to the home team.
The men’s ’B’ got off to a cracking start assuring themselves of at the worst a share of the points as they raced into a 6-0 lead. Paul Price began the onslaught with a 3-1 win over Simon Johnson. Karl Hughes twice came from behind against Shane Prowse and go on to win 3-2 to double the lead. Martin Angell had a tidy 3-1 win against Chris Jones before John Mycock registered a straight 3-0 win over Richard Sharp to open up a 4-0 lead.
Continuing the fine start and taking the score to 5-0 was Avtar Singh with a 3-0 win over Phil Coward and to round off the first half Glen Cullen beat Derek Burnhope 3-0 for a 6-0 lead.
It was game seven before Northamptonshire got their first winner, coming in the shape of Lee Rose, who defeated Jordan Singh 3-2 after twice being pegged back to level terms. Inspired by his team mates win Martin Biggs then added his 3-0 win against Dean Nicholls to reduce the deficit to 6-2. However the away teams joy was short lived and any hopes of getting anything out of the game dashed as Mark Craddock recorded a 3-1 win against Ian Bisland to record the vital seventh win and put the game beyond their opponents reach.
Nick Fullwell (WEST Midlands) had a tidy 3-0 win over Curly Connelly and with a further 3-2 win from Mark Watkiss Allen against Paul Walker the win was consolidated. The final game saw Ian Evans (Northamptonshire) beat Gary Watts 3-2 after Watts had begun brightly and opened up a 2-0 lead.
So the final result was a convincing 9-3 win for West Midlands.
Going into Sunday’s games West Midlands were holding a commanding 13-5 lead. Heather Wright kicked off for the ladies ‘A’ and had to twice come from behind before beating Angela Barrow 3-2, quite the opposite for Heather’s team mate Lisa Astbury who twice took the lead against Rebecca Barrow before losing 3-2.
West Midlands lead was restored in the third game when Diane Tolley won her tussle with Sharon Tompkins 3-0 in a game that could have swung either way, but it was Tolley who got the finishing doubles. Again the away team cancelled out their hosts lead, this time it was Elisha Evans 3-2 win over Kath Jenkins that levelled the score.
In the penultimate game West Midlands share of the spoils was guaranteed when Jackie Crew in double quick time beat Faye Mason 3-0. The ‘A’ side could not have wished for a better player on at number six other than Sarah Roberts. Sarah is enjoying a fantastic season which has seen her all six of the ‘A’ teams match awards this season and in this vital game she once again produced the goods. A 3-0 win over Gail Fullthorpe and a 20.88 average earned her the seventh match award and her win also gave her team a 4-2 win the first since the opening fixture of the season when they beat Leicestershire 5-1.
The men’s ‘A’ game did not begin well, as Northamptonshire took the first two games, Liam Fox was first on for the visitors winning 4-3 against Richard Platt and following up was Stuart Gilmour, who beat Robert Thompson 4-2.
Nigel Crane looked all set to take the score along to 3-0 when he won the first two legs against Ian Jones and even though Jones, with a 15 darts leg won the third, the Northamptonshire man still looked on course for a win when he went 3-1 up. However, never say die Jones, as he has done time and time again in the past for the West Midlands began his comeback. The fifth leg was the best of the match a superb eleven darts leg in which Jones scored 100, 180 and 180 to leave 41, which he disposed of with his next two darts. He then almost produced another eleven darts leg, taking just one more dart when he hit 140, 140 and another 140 before checking out on 81 to take the game to a decider.
The big scores once again came easy for Jones in the seventh leg as he chalked up 140, 180, 97 and 62, narrowly missing yet another twelve darts leg. He then missed his outshot and left double two, giving Crane a throw for 114 to win the game. Crane scored 74 to leave double twenty, Jones stepped up and with his first dart found double two to win 4-3 and his magnificent 30.74 average winning him the match award for a third consecutive fixture.
Peter Wyse was well on his way to level the game when he went 2-0 up against Ricky Evans, but then he somewhat lost his way and the game 4-2. John Platt did manage to reduce the arrears when he won in a topsy-turvy game with John Young, which saw Platt go 1-0 up, then trail 3-1 and go on to win 4-3.
At the mid-point in the match Northamptonshire were 4-2 up, another win from Jason Lovell being added to their score. After going 1-0 up with a 102 finish Lovell the fell 2-1 behind to Danny Coyle, but then rallied to go on and win 4-2.
After a somewhat gloomy first half everything was about to change dramatically and starting the West Midlands revival was Michael Baker. Baker, one down to Robert Fairbairn went on to win 4-1, Ian Stanton was pulled back to level terms no fewer than three times by Paul Shepherd before he won 4-3. Neil Pointon, like team mate Michael Baker lost the first leg, but then went on to beat Ben Goodger 4-1 to take the score to 5-4 and see the Midlanders in the lead for the first time in the match.
Sean Carrol extended that lead with a 4-1 win over Dave Walker before Mark Rollinson, in the penultimate game beat Simon Almey 4-2. The game started with a 119 game shot by Almey, only to see Rollinson reply with a 114 outshot to level. Almey went ahead again in 14 darts, but Rollinson then took command and won the following three legs.
Sealing an 8-4 win was anchor man Gavin Baker, who handed out a 4-1 defeat to Chris Shipley to give the West Midlands a tremendous 25-11 overall victory, a total of 147 points and fourth place in the promotion table. Somerset’s massive 23-13 home win over Cleveland saw them replace their opponents at the top of the table on 159 points, one more than Cleveland in second place. Derbyshire are currently third with 154 points after an 18-18 draw with Berkshire, so with only two fixtures remaining it looks as though any two of the top four could gain promotion, should be an interesting run in for the final couple of games.
Full results: ):(West Midlands names first):Men’s ‘A’:- Richard Platt 3 Liam Fox 4, Robert Thompson 2 Stuart Gilmour 4, Ian Jones 4 Nigel Crane 3, Peter Wyse 2 Ricky Evans 4, John Platt 4 John Young 3, Danny Coyle 2 Jason Lovell 4, Michael Baker 4 Robert Fairbairn 1, Ian Stanton 4 Paul Shepherd 3, Neil Pointon 4 Ben Goodger 1, Sean Carrol 4 Dave Walker 1, Mark Rollinson 4 Simon Aimey 2, Gavin Baker 4 Chris Shipley 1, Men’s ‘B’:- Paul Price 3 Simon Johnson 1, Karl Hughes 3 Shane Prowse 2, Martin Angell 3 Chris Jones 1, John Mycock 3 Richard Sharp 0, Avtar Singh 3 Phil Coward 2, Glen Cullen 3 Derek Burnhope 0, Jordan Singh 2 Lee Rose 3, Dean Nicholls 0 Martin Biggs 3, Mark Craddock 3 Ian Bisland 1, Nick Fullwell 3 Curly Connelly 0, Mark Watkiss Allen 3 PaulWalker 2, Gary Watts 2 Ian Evans 3, Women’s ‘A’:- Heather Wright 3 Angela Barrow 2, Lisa Astbury 2 Rebecca Barrow 3, Diane Tolley 3 Sharon Tomkins 0, Kath Jenkins 2 Elisha Evans 3, Jackie Crew 3 Faye Mason 0, Sarah Roberts 3 Gail Fullthorpe 0, Women’s ‘B’:- Lisa Maiden 1 Kelly Walker 3, Gemma Barrett 3 Ann Howard 0, Claire Hobbs 3 Jo Johnson 1, Kim Fellows 3 Nicola Coleman 2, Shellbie Simmons 3 Amy Chappell 2, Jacqueline Maiden 2 Sandra Simmons 3.
With averages on the up and the calibre of players getting better and better the Ripley Elite Darts League goes from strength to strength, something that was proved yet again in the winter season with the title’s being fought more competitively than ever before.
Going into the final game of the season Daz Brown required two more points to secure the title and add it to his summer’s triumph. Playing against Dean Allsopp, Brown took the first two legs in 14 and 15 darts and then consolidated his win going on secure a 5-0 victory, the title with 89 points and the top prize of £525.
Throughout the season Ash Spencer had been steady, a 3-2 win over Daz Brown in the penultimate game keeping him in the hunt for the title, but his 85 points were only enough to earn him the runners up spot. Two further points behind in third place was Belper’s number one player Paul Baker. Fourth place was also decided in the final week, Dave Allcock beating the league’s most improved player Ian Richardson 3-2 to finish respectively fourth and fifth with 78 and 76 points.
Ian Byard, after a somewhat slow start to the campaign rallied late to finish seventh, while Daz Sinfield’s season having the opposite effect as he began on a high but only won two of his last eight games to take eighth place in the table.
Of the promoted players Steve Pashley finished the highest taking the ninth spot and although Alan Evans defeated many of the top players he eventually had to settle for tenth place. Highest finisher for the ladies was Joanne Oldershaw, 62 points and a very creditable middle of the table 13th position .
On the individual scene Paul Baker was again the number one for hitting maximums, finding no fewer than nineteen throughout the season. The highest finish was also a maximum as Daz Sullivan checked out on 170, while the least darts (10) and highest average (92.76) went to Ash Spencer. There were a tremendous 169 maximums recorded in the season.
Division one boasted ten newcomers, they together with the other fifteen players helped to make it one of the closest run seasons so far. Taking the title with 94 points was newbie Ian Allcock, who finished just ahead of another player making his debut in the league Paul Hodges, who had 87 points, the same number as third placed Ash Wood, yet another newcomer.
At the foot of the table there was a titanic battle for the wooden spoon, Phil Bell, who managed to win his only game of the season in the final week avoided the title and saw Paul Slater finish bottom of the division with 15 points, one fewer than Bell.
Most 180’s were hit by Colin Rich (18), who also had the least darts, which was eleven. The highest finish of 170 went to Paul Hodges, Paul also recording the highest average 81.15. There were 74 maximums recorded in division one.
The Riley’s Sunday Knockout Double Top League have completed their season and winning the title by the narrowest of margins was Ian McFarlane. Both McFarlane and Trevor Frost finished the season locked together on 106 points, McFarlane taking the title on the number of legs won only. In the final knockout of the campaign McFarlane lost 3-1 in the quarter finals to Will Naylor, Frost made his way to the final, where he also faced Naylor. The result was a 4-0 win for Naylor, if Frost had beaten him he would have clinched the title. McFarlane received £400 as champion and Frost £200 as runner up.
League organiser Frost wishes to thank Riley’s for making it all happen and Riley’s manager Nick Wassall for his help throughout the season.
Winners of the Doubles Knockout at the Brickmakers, Quarry Bank were, A.Turley and D.Simpson, who had a 6-3 win in the final over J.Sharrat and C.Davies.
Turley and Simpson, with a 5-4 scoreline took out I.Jones and M.Hall in the semi’s, while Sharrat and Davies had a 5-3 win against J.Rollinson and A.Colly.
The winners received £150, the runners up £100 and there was £50 for the losing semi finalists.