Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time - 1st February 2002
What a way to finish the old year!!! West Midlands who had previously played four games in this season’s third division programme of the BDO Inter Counties Championship were without even a draw to their name. Playing away at the DDS and S Club they travelled to take on Worcestershire.
The ladies ‘B’ went one down when Nell Bryant lost 3-1 to Claire Hill. Seasoned campaigner Rose Mycock levelled the score when she, with a similar 3-1 result took out Worcestershire’s Beth Murdock. Teresa Johnston, after trailing 2-0 pulled back to level her game against Jean Dobbins only to narrowly lose the decider and give the home side the advantage once more. Keeping West Midlands in the game at number four was Teresa Johnson (17.64) with match award performance. Teresa won the opener against her counterpart Rachel Leeming and although she lost the second leg she held her nerve and composure to win the following two legs to give her a 3-1 success and square the match at two each.
With all the games to this point going against the darts advantage the penultimate encounter between Joanne Clements (Worcestershire) and Sue Smith was no different. Clements won the tie in three straight legs with Smith unable to reach a finishing double in any of them. Unfortunately for the away side the last game did go with the darts. Pam Hemming was quick to step in when Lynette Pearce (West Midlands) missed her doubles in the first leg. The second, Hemming won in style in just twenty two darts and then in the third Pearce was agains guilty of missed doubles and Hemming sealed a personal 3-0 win and a team 5-2 success.
The men’s ‘B’ with one win, one draw and one defeat were looking to add to their win tally. Frank Johnson did his best to make that a reality when he, in straight legs accounted for the home team’s Brian Griffiths. Mick Littleford was not able to add to that opening win as he, after winning the first leg saw his opponent, Kenny Richards go on to win 3-1. Ron Johnson got the ball rolling again for West Midlands with his win over Alan Merriman. Johnson won the opener only to lose the next two. However, he battled on and with wins in the next two legs recorded a 3-2 win to give the Midlanders the lead again. Viv Gould had an impressive 3-0 victory against Matthew Turner to extend the away side’s lead to 3-1. Jamie Parsons looked all set to take that lead to 4-1 when he opened up a 2-1 advantage over Kevin Harris. Harris however, stuck to his task and came back with wins in the next two legs to force a fifth and final leg. 2x140 plus a 100 gave Parsons all the breathing pace he required to set up a double eight finish. Just one dart, his sixteenth, was all he needed to clinch a 3-2 win plus with a 25.57 average the man of the match award. Tim Green (Worcestershire) was in fine form, not giving Martin Tibbetts a look in as he strolled to a 3-0 win and put the scoreline at the midway point at 4-2 in favour of the West Midlands.
Vic Lloyd added to the Midlanders tally, fighting back from 2-0 to Paul Lewis to win 3-2. Worcestershire’s Simon Webb required two attempts to win against Roger Kinsella, but win he did a 3-2 success to move the score along to 5-3. The ninth game was a close affair. Midlands Steve Penwright won the first two legs, then Darren Willetts took the next two. Penwright’s higher scoring gave him the edge in the last leg hitting 140 and 100 as opposed to Willetts who failed to hit a three figure score and was left nursing a 130 outshot when Penwright wrapped up the issue with double fourteen. Although trailing 6-3 Worcestershire’s fighting spirit did not diminish in any way. Matt Sheehan produced a 100 finish in his 18 darts leg to go one up against Paul Johnson and with winning legs in 19 and 20 darts Matt won 3-0 to reduce the arrears even further.
Needing just one more win for victory Joe Biggs (West Midlands) stepped up to the oche together with Ian Clements. With three scores of a ton Clements won the first leg with Biggs left nursing 75. Biggs was quick to respond, checking out on 60 for a sixteen darts leg in the second and then with two more wins he assured his team of their win. Jonathon Platt lost the opener to Tom White but, a 129 outshot squared the game and although he lost the third leg he finished with a 3-2 win and the team an 8-4 success emulating their only other win in October when they beat Nottinghamshire.
The ladies ‘A’ were hoping to end a run of fourteen games without a win, their last one being an away game against Berkshire in March 2000 when they won 4-2. Claire Downing got them off to a flyer when she, in double quick time beat her opponent Rachael Dixon in three straight legs. Angie Perry lost the first leg against Jackie Crew, levelled in the second and then produced a cracking sixteen darts leg , hitting 125,123,81,85 and 75 and then checking out on double six to go 2-1up. She then wrapped up a 3-1 win with a 21 darts leg to give her a 22.86 average plus the lady of the match award.
Mandy Morgan was Worcestershire’s first winner, she lost her first against Anne Jones, but then bounced back to level terms and the went on to win 3-1. West Midlands stalwart, Rose Mycock restored the two games buffer when she beat Tracey Bishop 3-0 and then with a 3-1 victory by Janet Hubbard over Carol Jones, the away side were guaranteed their much deserved win.
Claire Hobbs looked as though she would increase the margin of success when twice she took the lead against Lorraine McCormack, unfortunately it was not to be, Lorraine winning the last two legs to win 3-2. Nevertheless, a 4-2 win by the visitors was just what the doctor ordered. Sharper finishing on doubles gave the team their win, the very thing that has lost them many of their previous fixtures. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a winning run by the ladies.
The men’s ‘A’ began as though were about to add to their one and only previous win this season when Tom Aldridge kicked the match off with a 3-0 victory over Ian Murdoch and team mate Mangal Singh doubled the advantage with his 3-1 win against Matt Sheehan. Ian Hartland made it 3-0 when he defeated Tony Randell 3-1, Hartland winning his legs in 15, 17 and 13 darts hitting no fewer than a dozen scores of a ton or more in the process. Hartlands 31.24 average was the best of the day and earned him his team’s award.
Lance Gregson was Worcestershire’s first winner, a 3-2 success after trailing at one stage 2-1 to Darren Williams. This however, proved to be just a minor setback for the away team as Paddy Johnson roared to a 3-2 win over Mark Jones and Mick James rounded off the first half with a similar five legs win against Tim Green. With a commanding 5-1 lead, irrespective of what happened in the second half West Midlands were overall winners and they had finally achieved their first victory of the season.
The break did not do the West Midlands any favours as the first three games all went to the hosts. Paul Brookes beat Nick Walters 3-1, Nick Fullwell handed out a rare 3-0 defeat to Ian Jones and Ray Bishop’s 3-1 win over Gary Taylor brought the home team back into the match, trailing now by only 5-4. Game ten saw that deficiency erased completely, Steve Watton went from 0-1 down to Avtar Singh to 2-1 up. Then after 2-2 Watton, with a tremendous 115 game shot won the tussle 3-2 and levelled the score at four each with only two to play.
Adrian Arnold (West Midlands) won the first against Kevin James only to see his counterpart wipe out his advantage in the second. Arnold took the lead again in the third but, again James pulled back to level terms. The decider was a real spectacle. With first throw Arnold hit scores of 140,140,43 and 100 to leave 78 after a dozen darts. James, meanwhile had hit 80,140,125 and 140 leaving himself double eight. Arnold knew he could not afford to give his opponent another throw and so he didn’t. With just two darts he finished his required 78 and won the game 3-2 and assure at least a share of the spoils.
Worcestershire kept their best of the day till last. Former West Midlands man Graham Perry squared up to Steve Brindley and gave him very little chance as he won the game 3-0 in 18,19 and 16 darts to average 28.36 and end the at 6-6.
Well, an overall victory for the West Midlands, could this be the turning point. Let’s hope so. Watch this space!.
The Greenlands, Longbridge was the setting for the annual Jimmy James Memorial Shield. The eventual winner of the trophy was Ian McLean who defeated Mick Rose in two straight legs in the final.
A special mention goes to nine years old Mark James, grandson of the late Jimmy James, who actually participated in this year’s competition. Mark hit five tons to beat last year’s semi finalist T.Walsh 2-1 in the opening round before going out to the eventual runner up Mick Rose, Mark again found the big scores hitting four tons or more.
The event raised a fabulous £200, which will be donated to the Acorn Childrens Hospice, Selly Oak.
Congratulations and commiseration’s to West Midlands player Wayne Jones, Congratulations for reaching the quarter finals of the Embassy World Championship. Jones finally making his exit when he went down 5-1 to England captain Martin Adams, and commiseration’s for not making the actual final. Although bitterly disappointed not to make the final his £5500 prize money will undoubtedly take away some of the pain.