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Article: Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time - 1st August 2001

Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time - 1st August 2001

Oxfordshire were well represented in this year’s Midland Counties Invitation Open when they had a player in both the men’s and women’s finals.

Nigel Russell made the men’s final in which he came up against Staffordshire’s Barry Yeomans. Russell could not have wished for a better start when, with the first throw advantage he kicked off with a maximum. Following up with scores of 85, 100 and 60, after only twelve darts he was down to 76. Meanwhile, Yeomans had been rather inconsistent with throws of 28, 100, 60 and 85 to leave 228.

On his fifth visit to the oche Russell fluffed his outshot and left double ten. Yeomans scored 94 which, should he have another throw left a finish of 134. Russell gave him that chance, as he missed double ten to leave double five. Yeomans repeated his previous score of 94 to put him on double twenty, but the Oxfordshire man was not about to give him another chance as he wrapped up the leg on double five to go one up.

The Staffordshire man began his fight back with a 140 followed by 60 and 100. He then trailed off with shots of 25, 28 and 60 leaving 88. Russell was now in full flight, his first throw was 140, but he continued with another 140, 60, 100 and 21 giving him double twenty to win the leg. One dart was all he needed as in sixteen darts he went 2-0 up.

Yeomans now well and truly had his back to the wall, he had to win the third leg to stay in the match and to add to his troubles he was playing against the darts. However, Russell did not take advantage of the throw scoring just 44. Yeomans hit 100, 50, 45, 100, 100 and 43 to leave 63 after eighteen darts. Russell recovered quickly from his first throw and hit 100, 100, 60, 36 and a further ton to leave 61. With his next three arrows he converted his 61 required to a game shot and in the process clinched the title and the first prize of £500.

As runner up Barry Yeomans received £240. Mark Hollyoake (West Midlands) and Ty Ward (Derbyshire) were joint third and collected £50 each and there was £25 for Tom Aldridge (West Midlands), Keith Cotter (Staffordshire), David Witherwick (Oxfordshire) and Mark Frost (Staffordshire) for joint fifth.

Karen Williams was Oxfordshire’s representative in the ladies final with her opponent Claire Bywater who hailed from Cambridgeshire. With two superb 140’s Claire took the lead in the opening 22 darts leg, finding double one with her counterpart still way back on 127. The second leg was a similar story with the Cambridgeshire player hitting no less than four tons, as again she forged ahead, this time checking out on double twenty for a nineteen darts leg leaving Williams without a throw at 114.

Both players failed to hit a three figure score in the third leg and it was nip and tuck all the way to a double. Nevertheless, it was Bywater who again won the leg, finishing first dart on double sixteen for a straight legs win. Claire received £200, while Karen picked up £100. Joint third Jane Dewsley (Derbyshire) and Helen Tipple (Nottinghamshire) each received £45 and there was £15 for the joint fifth who were Sue Sharratt (Staffordshire), Diane Tolley (West Midlands), Sonia Norman (Leicestershire) and Sherrie Dodd (Staffordshire).

Well the BDO Inter Counties season may well be over but the West Midlands have been busy with the play off’s for the Gold Cup singles and doubles. The men’s singles produced some top class darts, none better than that of the latter stages.

In the first of the semi finals Wayne Jones took on Martin Angel. Angel was in tremendous form. Jones notched a 140 and a ton in the first leg, but even with the throw advantage it was still not enough to keep up with Angel. Angel hit 99, 100, 132 and 134 to leave 36 after a dozen darts, Jones required 96 after the same amount. With his thirteenth dart Angel went one up and set the pattern for the match.

Leg two, two scores of 60 plus 140 and a 100 put Jones on 141. Angel got off with a rare 40 then scored 140, 100 and 100 to work his way down to a possible 121 game shot. It turned out to be not a possibility, not even a probability but actuality as Angel, in fifteen darts went 2-0 up.

Playing the best of seven legs it was now vital that Jones got into the match. Despite being consistent he was not hitting enough of the big trebles. With scores of 60, 100, 60, 100 and 100 he reached 81, but yet again he was denied a throw at a finish. Angel followed up his shots of 140, 60, 140 and 97 with a two darts checkout on 64 for a fourteen darts leg t put him within a leg of a place in the final.

The fourth leg saw Jones, for the first time in the match, have a dart at a finishing double. After only twelve darts including scores of 2x140 and 100, he was throwing for 61. With his last dart he required double twenty to stay in the game. He missed and that turned out to be his last throw. Angell, whose top scores were two 140’s was throwing for double ten and the match. It took him all three darts but nevertheless, he booked his passage to the final with a convincing 4-0 win. Jones averaged 29.23 and lost, Angell had a staggering 33.4.

The second semi brought together Mangal Singh and Steve James. Singh quickly settled down and rattled off scores of 123, 140 and 100. He went on to win the leg in 18 darts with James requiring 112. Singh again got the better start in the second leg hitting 100, 140 and 100. He won the leg on double sixteen, but only after James had missed with three darts at a double.

The third leg saw James hit the first maximum of the semi’s. Steve began the leg with his 180 and won it with a 62 finish taking 15 darts. James then went to square the game, hitting two tons and checking out with another as his opponent was left on 40.

After surrendering his 2-0 lead Singh then moved up a gear. A fifteen darts leg including two tons and a maximum restored his lead. James with 140, 100 and 124 should have won the sixth leg, having two clear throws at a finishing double. Unfortunately for him he missed and allowed Singh to step in and win not only the leg but more importantly the match 4-2.

The first five legs of the final all went with the first throw advantage. Singh (2x100,180) won the first in 16 darts, Angel (2x100) left on 116.Angel (2x100,140) then won the second in 16 darts with Singh (100) way back on 192. Another 180 and 106 gave Singh the third as his opponent replied with 2x100 and 119. Singh hit his third maximum in four legs in the fourth leg but it was Angel who won the leg with the more consistent throwing.

With the score at two each and all to play for Singh, with 2x100 and 140 kept his nerve as Angel, who could have won the leg on double sixteen missed and gave Singh the opportunity to steal and he did. The next leg was virtually a carbon copy as Angel again failed on his double and Singh wrapped up the issue on double top for a 4-2 victory.

The first of the ladies best of five legs semi finals brought together Gill Cook and Claire Downing. Gill, despite trailing in the early part of the leg went on to win it with a 57 game shot. Although Claire hit a maximum in the second leg again it was Gill who took the honours and go 2-0 up. Gill was top scorer in the third with 101 and 100 to Claire’s 100. At the doubles stage nerves began to show a little and Gill required a couple of attempts before finally sealing her 3-0 victory.

Game two was between Diane Tolley and Sue Smith. The opening leg was very close and could easily have gone either way, but it was the experienced Diane Tolley who claimed the leg with a 40 finish. The next leg was by no means as close, Tolley giving herself a little breathing space with a score of 140 and an 86 game shot. With the final in sight Gill was suddenly brought back to reality as Claire with a ton and three 80 plus scores raced away to win the third leg. As it turned out it was just a minor setback for Gill as she confirmed her final spot, a 40 finish giving her a 3-1 win.

Both Gill Cook and Diane Tolley hit one three figure score in the first leg of the final and both really struggled to finish the leg off with doubles proving to be very elusive. Tolley eventually won the leg when she checked out on 14. Cook’s reply was immediate making the leg hers with a 40 game shot. In the following game Gill was again left on double twenty, but this time she lost out as her counterpart won the leg to go 2-1 ahead. With confidence riding high Diane now chalked up three scores of a ton and with double twenty with her twenty second dart she confirmed herself as the West Midlands 2001 champion.

In the Gold Cup Pairs final Tom Aldridge and his partner Gary Taylor squared up to Ian Jones and Dave Pritchard. Aldridge and Taylor won the first leg in 17 darts with both sides managing just one three figure score. Similarly in the second leg tons were hard to come by and totally out of character Jones and Pritchard failed after four throw at finishing doubles, to put the leg to bed. Aldridge and Pritchard, who themselves were up for the fourth visit to a double won the leg with a 4 outshot.

Trailing 2-0 something special was now required from Jones and Pritchard and that is exactly what they provided. Scoring 100, 60, 120 and 120 they followed up with a 101 finish for a fifteen darts leg. The duo then levelled the match with a 17 darts leg, their top shots being 100, 140 and 125. Aldridge and Taylor then got their act back together, but it was only their darts advantage that gave them the all important first throw at a finishing double. As they checked out on double eight their opponents were down to double fifteen.

The match could easily have gone to a decider as Jones, after eighteen darts was throwing for double twenty, he missed and Aldridge stepped up to win the match on double twenty.

Contesting the ladies final were Burntwoods Margaret Fellows and Sheilagh Brown who took on Sue Smith and Teresa Johnston from Warley. The Burntwood pairing won the opener in 23 darts. However, their joy was short lived as Smith and Johnston came bouncing back to take a 2-1 lead. Fellows and Brown the supplied the fastest leg of the final. With top shots of 95, 140 and 100 they forced a deciding leg as they went out in 21 darts on a 50 finish.

Smith and Johnston became champions when they won the final leg in 29 darts, Fellows and Brown missing their opportunity on a 55 checkout.

You just can’t keep darts players out of the news and I am pleased to say that two of my old team mates have certainly hit the headlines recently. First Moss Turner, Moss, a regular listener to local radio station Beacon Radio recently rang in for one of their competitions. The idea of the competition was that from listening to bits of a song Moss had to name the tune. The result was that Moss won, his prize… all expenses paid vasectomy!!!

At the time of the quiz Teresa, Maurice’s wife, was expecting their second child and the birth, for the second time was going to be by caesarean section. Wordsley Hospital, Stourbridge was the place of the birth, a seven pounds boy who Moss and Teresa have named Joseph. Moss said the birth was more than a little traumatic, but the two of them were soothed in the operating room by the music of none other than Beacon Radio.

Moss said that he is having the operation for his wife’s sake. After going through two caesareans he did not want her to have any more children as they would be by caesarean too. By the time this story has gone into print Moss will have gone through the trauma of his own ordeal, the operation due to be performed at the Nuffield Hospital, Wolverhampton on the 31st July. I wonder if Teresa will be sitting holding Moss’ hand when he goes under the knife?

Personally I think I’ll stick to darts knockouts, the prizes are much, much better and not so painful.

Secondly my old mate John Walters is now the new Mayor of Dudley. For many years I have played darts with John and enjoyed more than the odd pint or three with him. I suppose John’s new role could well be advantageous in so much as if ever we’re stuck for a darts venue he could always fix us up with the Town Hall.

The Ace of Clubs Charity team have again swelled the coffers of the Princess Diana Birmingham Children’s Hospital funds by £100 as a result of their latest exhibition match against the Great Western, Acocks Green, Birmingham. On the night the hosts won 7-3, L. Newcombe, B. Andrews and J. Lucas the only winners for the charity side while, J. Phipps, J. Evans, A. Keating, J. Keating, C. Walsh, M. Slattery and P. Edwards were winners for Great Western.

Entry forms are currently available for the Midland Open, presented by the Warwickshire Darts Organisation. The event will be staged on Sunday 14th October at the Barras Social Club, Coventry Street, Coventry. For an entry fee of £7 there is a top prize of £750 on offer with prize money paid down to the last sixteen players.

Entries, together with the entry fee should be sent with a stamped addressed envelope to Mr N. Pritchard, 99 Gleneagles Road, Wyken, Coventry, CV2 3BH. Any entries after the 6th October will cost £8.All cheques or postal orders should be made payable to Mr K. Atwal.

In a rearranged fixture between Bartley Green Social Club and Midland in the Harborne and District Winter League, the former won 7-2 and in doing so became league champions.

Congratulations to B. Thomas on winning the South West Birmingham Clubs Summer League singles knockout. P.James was runner up. The ladies title went to L. Newcombe who defeated P. Draper in the final.

Other congratulations go to Ernie Davison who has won the Small Heath Summer League’s Jimmy Manning Shield. K. Haddon for winning the Longwood League division one singles and A. Comerford who division two’s competition. The league’s doubles crown went to B. Woodward and J. Causer.

The Aston League has been won by Heartlands after an all season battle between them and K.C.A. Heartlands have also won the Vesey Sports Cup while , K.C.A won the Aston Social Cup and the Knockout Cup.

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