Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time - 1st December 2004
Well I think it’s fair to say that the West Midlands have not got their new season in division three of the Kaliber BDO Inter Counties Championships off to the best of starts. In their tough opening game at home to Merseyside they finished on the losing side of a 17-19 result and followed that with an away fixture against Devon and suffered a similar fate.
The ladies ‘B’ had a very encouraging start when Chris Banks had a 3-1 win over Maria O’Brien and Debbie Hackett made it 2-0 with another 3-1 success, this time against Penny Farrow. Ann Jones twice clawed herself back to level terms in her tussle with Diana Carpenter, but in the end missed her doubles in the decider and went down 3-2. Doubles were also hard to come by for Teresa Johnston as she lost in three straight legs to Elizabeth Mackay after reaching a double in each leg.
Putting the West Midlands back on winning ways was lady of the match Sue Smith (16.89). The opening leg was very close as Sue’s opponent Trish Penberthy left herself on double eight as Sue checked out on double fourteen. Trish was way back in the second, requiring 123 when Sue finished with double top. Trish had the edge all the way in the third hitting a ton plus a maximum to leave double seventeen after only eighteen darts. However, after another numerous visits to the oche Trish was still unable to check out and Sue took full advantage to seal her 3-0 victory with a 55 game shot.
The final encounter was again all about doubles, Kim Fellows (West Midlands) unable to find hers and Moira Mortimer walking off with a 3-0 win to earn her team mates a share of the spoils in a 3-3 result, the second consecutive draw for the ladies ‘B’.
After a 6-6 draw in their curtain raiser against Merseyside the men’s ‘B’ were hoping to go one better against Devon. Darryl Thorpe got the proceedings underway for the Midlander’s and gave his side the best possible start, a 3-1 win over Nigel Callard. The lead was short lived as first Neil Anstead (Devon) beat Martin McCauly 3-1 and then James Gregory with a 3-0 scoreline accounted for Brendon Cowen to give the home team a 2-1 lead. By the same 3-0 margin Dave Pugh defeated Simon Drew and squared the match at two each for the West Midlands. In the penultimate game of the half the away side took the lead again, this time is was through a man of the match effort from Viv Gould. Viv took on Alan Long and left him requiring in excess of a ton in all three legs as he went out in 19, 21 and 21 darts for a 24.64 average. The last game between Thomas Quinn (Devon) and Alan Cockayne was nip and tuck all the way. First Quinn went 1-0 up, then, the advantage swung to Cockayne as he took a 2-1 lead. Unfortunately he was unable to hang on to the lead as he lost the following two legs and ultimately the game by 3-2 to square the match a 3-3 by the halfway stage.
Devon began the second session in style Matthew Dickinson, despite falling behind twice to Avtar Singh, fought back to earn a 3-2 win with a 27.78 average. Next it was the turn of Alex Clyburn. Alex faced up to Frank Johnson, who after holding out at 2-1 was unable to find the big scores in the fourth leg and lost 3-1 to Devon’s man of the match, who recorded a 28.58 average and opened up a 5-3 lead for the hosts.
Eddie Price pulled one back for the visitors, a 3-1 win against Sean Budd stemming the rot, but not stopping it as Brian Hodge added another notch to Devon’s tally when he won 3-2 against Martin Tibbetts to take the running score to 6-4 in the home side’s favour.
Mervyn Field reduced the arrears with his 3-1 win over Martin Horn to set up what could be a possible draw, the result hinging on the final encounter between Geoffrey Morrish and West Midlands veteran Joe Biggs. Joe raced into a 2-0 lead with outshots on double two and double one. The third leg was definitely Geoff’s as he kicked off with scores of 140,100,140 and 86 to leave 35, with he quickly dispatched with his next throw for a fifteen darts leg. The fourth leg could have swung either way; even though Morrish hit a maximum it was Biggs who was first to a double. Unfortunately for Joe his counterpart then came up with an 86 game shot to leave the outcome now depending on the very last leg of the day. Morrish started with a 140, Biggs replied with a ton. It was then neck and neck all the way to a double, before the home player checked out on 36 after Biggs had missed his opportunity to steal the leg. The result a 7-5 win to Devon.
Sunday’s games began with promise for the West Midlands as Angie Perry roared to a 3-0 win over Michelle Andrews, Angie recording a lady of the match 21.47 average. Janet Hubbard was made to fight all the way for her result as Carole Holdsworth twice took the lead against her. Nevethelesss, Janet stuck to her task and ran out the 3-2 winner to give the West Midlands a 2-0 cushion.
The remaining four clashes were all down to who could hit doubles and who couldn’t. All four games resulted in 3-1 scorelines, all of them going to the home team. There were wins for Sandra Chamberlain, Joyce Wilson, Merryl Jarman and Lynette Paine, who in turn defeated Claire Downing, Claire Hobbs, Kath Jenkins and Sara Jukes to give the hosts a 4-2 win.
Nothing less than a 9-3 win would now be good enough from the men’s ‘A’ to give them an overall win for the weekend. Richie Foster set what he hoped would be the pattern of the game, when in the first encounter he romped to a 3-0 straight win over Andrew Taylor. The outcome was the same for the second game, but this time in Devon’s favour as Colin Greenslade beat Ian Hartland. Chris Hickman restored the away teams lead, another 3-0 scoreline with Paul Godbeer on the receiving end. Cancelling West Midlands lead for a second time was Kevin Winter. Winter went one down to Paddy Johnson, but was soon to bounce back and go on to win 3-1.
At number five was Adrian Arnold (25.44). Arnold was pressed all the way for his 3-2 win by Paul Milford. Twice Arnold took the lead and twice Milford pegged him back to level terms. However, in the final leg Arnold with three scores of a ton and a 100 outshot clinched his win and the man of the match award. Going into the break Ian Jones kept West Midlands hopes of an overall victory alive when he added to their tally to give them a 4-2 lead by beating Christopher Hunt 3-2. Jones opened up a 2-0 lead and although Hunt clawed his way back to 2-2, Jones sealed his win with an eighteen darts final leg.
West Midlands increased their advantage to 5-2 when Mick James began the second half with a 3-2 win over Trevor Perry. But then Devon had their best and most telling run in the game when they won two in a row, which put an overall victory beyond the West Midlands reach, despite leading 5-4 in the game, they trailed overall by 18-15 with three to play. Ian Knight was the first of the two winners, a 3-1 success against Dave Evans and Flynn Jones added the second, a 3-2 win over Darryl Thorpe, who after three legs was 2-1 up.
A win for the men’s ‘A’ was still on the cards, especially when Viv Gould made it 6-4 with a tidy 3-1 victory over Andrew Speed. In the penultimate game Terry Hayes pulled one back for Devon as he held his nerve to beat Avtar Singh 3-2 after trailing 2-1, leaving the two anchor men to battle it out for the final result.
Martin Bevan produced a 98 game shot in his first leg of seventeen darts and then went one better checking out in 16 darts to go 2-0 up against Gary Taylor. Taylor then produced some top class form as he hit a maximum and won the third leg in 18 darts. He followed that with another maximum and a 15 darts leg to level the match and force a decider. Bevan had first throw advantage and made it count with a ton. Taylor responded well with a 140. Further scores of 105 and 88 gave Bevan a lead and an 82 checkout sealed his win and a share of the spoils for Devon. Taylor was left nursing 165.
So the final men’s a result was a 6-6 draw and the overall result 20-16 to Devon, which means West Midlands have now played two of their scheduled nine games and not only have they not won but not one of their four teams have won so far. This situation obviously needs to be rectified as quickly as possible if any hopes of promotion are to be realised this season.