Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time 01/10/2016
West Midlands have had to wait four years for a return to division one of the BDO Inter Counties Championships but their return to the higher division didn’t get off to the start they would have wished for, their opening fixture was always going to be a tough one as their opponents Hampshire played last season in the premier division but after finishing next to bottom of the table they together with Cornwall were relegated to division one.
The opening four games of the ladies ‘B’ match all went against the first throw advantage Sue Thompson giving the home team the early lead with her 3-1 win over Claire Hobbs. West Midlands replied in the best possible way as Heather Wright, who lost the first leg to Dawn Simmonds then went 2-1 up, lost the fourth but won the decider and also the lady of the match award with her 15.32 average.
Hampshire went ahead again in the third thanks to another Sue this time Lowther who beat Shellbie Simmons 3-1. Jaine Heaton looked all set to increase the home team’s lead as she went 2-0 up against Jacqueline Maiden but after levelling at 2-2 Jacqueline won the final leg which saw both players have chances at a finishing double.
Kelly Palmer (Hampshire) won the first against Samantha Maiden then lost the next two but then the first throw voodoo kicked in and Palmer won the last two legs for a 3-2 win.
It was only in the final encounter that the pattern changed as it does on so many occasions, Joanne Senior recorded a straight 3-0 win over Kirsty Shaughnessy to give the hosts a 4-2 victory.
The last time the men’s ‘B’ team lost was in February 2015 when they went down 7-5 at home to Suffolk they went all through last season’s fixtures undefeated but they didn’t have the best of starts against Hampshire as Conner Bevis gave the home team first blood when he beat John Mycock 3-1 and doubling the score was Steve Jannaway when he won 3-2 against Robert Smith.
Richard Platt chalked up West Midlands first win in the third game beating Richie Ford 3-1 after Ford had won the opening leg. Steve West restored Hampshire’s two game s buffer with a 3-1 win over Dave Redding only to see Paul Price add his straight 3-0 win over Callum Frances to the visitors tally and take the score to 3-2 in favour of the hosts.
Two 3-1 wins in a row for Hampshire’s Sam Rooney and Michael Street against respective opponents Paul Wells and Glen McGrandle moved the score along to 5-2 and although Daniel Nicholls stopped the run for the home team by beating Luke Getty 3-1 a further two 3-0 wins from Dai Lewis and Robin Hathaway at the expense of Danny Coyle and Mark Allen-Watkiss put Hampshire into an unassailable 7-3 position.
The penultimate game produced West Midlands man of the match, Scott Baker in terrific form as he accounted for Wilson Pritchard. Baker with 180 and 100 won the first leg in seventeen darts, he then chalked up a fifteen darts leg with scores of 180,100,41,100 and a game shot of 80. Baker then wrapped up a superb 3-0 win with an eighteen darts leg in which he scored 125 and had a 150 finish to give him a fantastic average of 30.06.
Dennis Murrell won the first leg of the final game against Sam Guest, Guest replied by winning the following two in 19 and 18 darts. Murrell took the game to a decider with a 15 darts leg but was then left on 36 when Guest checked out on 32 for a 3-2 win to put the final score at 7-5 to Hampshire.
The ladies ‘A’ similar to the men’s ‘B’ also went through last season without a defeat but in their game against Hampshire they suffered their heaviest loss since their 5-1 reversal away to London in May 2015 and yet the tie began well as Sarah Roberts, seven times award winner last season carried her good form into the new campaign when she beat Gemma Hayter in three straight legs in 22,20 and 20 darts for a great 24.24 average and another lady of the match award.
From the opening game onwards it was all downhill for the Midlanders, Gemma Barrett lost 3-1 to Tracy North, Kim Fellows went down 3-0 to Tara Power-Gillet and with the final three games all ending 3-0 with wins for Nikki Stevens, Wendy Reinstadtler and Jane Monaghan against their respective counterparts Sophie Singh, Lisa Badger and Kath Jenkins Hampshire got their 5-1 result.
There was a bright start for the men’s ‘A’ as Keith Allman, who came from 1-0 and 2-1 down to Andy Mitchell went on to win 4-2 which kick started a run of three wins. Mark Craddock made it 2-0 when in double quick time he accounted for Paul Winter with a straight 4-0 result followed by game number three which was a real tussle between Danny Pitman (Hampshire) and Michael Baker, Baker won the first leg in 21 darts Pitman the second in 18. Baker then won two in a row in 16 and 18 darts only to see Pitman draw level again when he won the following two in 23 and 16 darts. Baker throwing for 61 narrowly missed out on his finish, Pitman then had a throw for double twenty and he missed, Baker then made no mistake wrapping up his 4-3 win with a 25 outshot.
Match four saw Hampshire’s Gary Stafford win 4-2 against Gareth Watts before Shaun Carroll laid on a man of the match performance for the West Midlands and restore their three games advantage. Carroll won the opening two legs against Bradley Kirk in 22 and 20 darts only to see his lead cancelled out as Kirk applied the pressure with two thirteen darts legs. Keeping his cool Carroll fought back with two seventeen darts legs to clinch a 4-2 win and the match award for his 26.56 average.
Going into the mid-point of the match one of the West Midlands top long standing players Ian Jones opened 1-0 and 2-1 leads over Chas Barstow, but the Hampshire man came back with winning legs in 20,15 and 17 to seal a 4-2 win.
As the second half began the deficit was reduced even further for the hosts as Steve Phipps turned on an award winning 4-0 win over Gavin Baker to take the score along to 4-3 but the West Midlands slender lead was extended to 6-3 as Jonathan Platt beat Graham Chalk 4-1 and Lewis Venes won by the same margin against Richard North.
Keeping the home team in the match was Steve Musson, his 4-1 win against John Mycock meaning they could still salvage a draw. Those hopes quickly went out of the window when John Morris added his 4-0 win against Mark Budd and with a final 4-2 success for Ashe Khayat over Mike Gillet the result was an 8-4 victory for the West Midlands men’s ‘A’.
The overall result for the weekend was 20-16 to Hampshire, slightly better for the Midland side than when they last met in the 2012/13 season when they lost 21.15.
Although there was a relatively poor turnout for the Riley’s Solihull Last Sunday in the Month Open there was some top class throughout none better than in the semi finals where Neil Parsonage hit two maximums against Steve Whatmore who also found the three treble twenties before bowing out 5-2. From the other half of the draw Graham Hall progressed to the final with a much more convincing 5-1 win against Martin Partridge.
The final was again a darting feast with Hall hitting a maximum and Parsonage recoding a 128 finish in a twelve darts leg. The contest went to the tenth leg of a possible eleven format with Hall just getting the 6-4 verdict.
The first semi final of the Plate Competition which is for all first round losers saw Ed Sanders and Luis Barberan battle it out in a five legs affair with Barberan just getting the edge with a 3-2 result. Neil Clarke with a maximum accounted for Alan Caddick with a winning 3-1 margin, and that was the scoreline in the final where Clarke overcame the challenge of Barberan.
Journeys End have enjoyed a great season in the Forest of Arden Summer League with Journeys End winning 5-2 away to Greville Arrows to confirm themselves as division one champions with a five points advantage over their final opponents and runners up Greville Arrows.
Taking the division two title was another Journeys End, this time Journeys End Flights who went through the ten games season undefeated to finish four points ahead of second placed Riley’s Resurrected.
With all of the domestic issues done and dusted the league staged the final of their Knockout Cup in which division one champions Journeys End took on fourth placed Ivy Leaf the result going as one would expect with Journeys adding another title to their list for the season with a 5-2 result
The South Birmingham League played off two of the knockouts, first the ladies singles in which the title went to Charlie Kingdon who had a straight 2-0 win over Julie Creen in the final after winning by the same margin in the semis against Claire Anderton while Creen won 2-1 against Brie Davis.
Similar to the ladies singles the doubles final also resulted in a straight 2-0 verdict with Alan Mayell and Tony Whitehouse getting the better of Martin Heaven and Neil Parsonage.
In the last four playoff Mayell and Whitehouse were taken to a deciding leg before beating Luis Barberan and Simon Edwards 2-1 while Heaven and Parsonage had a more clear-cut 2-0 result over Dave Clinton and Martin Walker.
The End of Season 501 Knockout, as the name suggests rounded off the campaign for the Small Heath League and with a final victory over Neil Parsonage (Emerald Club) Tommy White, representing East Birmingham Allotment Holders Association took the title. Losing out in the semi finals were Pete Yardley (Emerald Club) and Matthew Cooper (Gulp Tribe).
With the league title all sorted and Prince of Wales ‘A’ crowned champions with 186 points three more than runners up Fox and Dogs the Tamworth League staged their doubles knockout and winning the title were Glen Cullen and Doug Thompson who defeated Martin Edwards and Mark Martin in the final.
The league’s Teamsport Shadow Cup final saw Wigginton Arms ‘A’ beat Progressive Club 4-3.
Pensnett and Bromley Tuesday Night League played off their Samson and Lion Charity Doubles knockout and taking the title with a final 5-3 win over Kevin Breeze and Dean Moreton were John Wills and Robert Powers, the winners then donated their £50 prize money to the Marie Curie Cancer Unit.