Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time - 1st February 2006
After a disappointing start to the 2005-2006 campaign in division three of the Kaliber BDO Inter Counties Championships, when West Midlands went down 19-17 away to Suffolk, it has been one way traffic ever since in West Midlands favour, rounding off the year with their third consecutive victory.
The end of year fixture was a home tie against Oxfordshire. Playing at Gilberts Bar, Willenhall the ladies ‘B’ got the proceedings underway protecting an unbeaten record with two wins and a draw. Ann Jones got the hosts off on the right foot with a 3-1 win over Babs Manning after Manning had won the first leg. Sue Smith doubled the lead despite being taken to a fifth and deciding leg by Cath Birch and as early as the third game a share of the points was assured when Angie Perry (16.19) turned in a lady of the match performance against Hazel Prowton to win 3-1 and open up a tremendous 3-0 lead.
It was game number four that saw Oxfordshire record their first win. Sharon Wells went 1-0 down to Teresa Woakes but fought back to earn a 3-1 victory as did her team mate Trina Blackman, who also lost her first leg to Julie Aston and went on to win 3-1. At 3-2 in West Midlands favour the sixth encounter was now to be the most important game of the match, it would be this one that decided either a win or draw for the home team. Teresa Johnston represented the Midlands side, but it was Oxfordshire’s Nicola Curzon who won the opener. Johnston levelled but again found herself trailing in the third leg. Once more Johnston squared the tie, but although she had darts advantage in the final leg she still required 180 when Cuzon went out on 32 for a 3-2 win and in the process grab a 3-3 draw for her team. Nevertheless the ‘B’ side kept their undefeated run intact and added a few vital points towards another overall victory.
The men’s ‘B’ had so far been in tremendous form with three straight wins in the first three games and it was obvious they were keen to extend that run. However, that did not appear to be too apparent in the first half of their encounter. Tony Leone began the match with a 3-2 win over Mark Lloyd to give Oxfordshire first blood. Although Colin Wood levelled the match with his convincing 3-0 win over Graham Manning the cheers were short lived as John Fowler (Oxfordshire) beat Chris Jones 3-1, Barry Stratford had a similar win against Frank Johnson and Dave Essex defeated Mick Noakes 3-2 to give the visitors a somewhat comfortable 4-1 lead. To round off the first half Andy Forrester (West Midlands) had a 3-1 win against Paul Cross to make the scoreline a little more respectable at 4-2.
The second session was much, much better. David Arnold set the pattern with a 3-2 success over Roy Prior after trailing 2-1. Viv Gould won 3-2 in his tie with Kevin Wilkins, Gould checking out on 114 in the deciding leg to level the match at four each.
Phil Addison got Oxfordshire’s noses in front again when he beat Steve Penwright 3-1, but that lead lasted for just one game as Ian Hartland put on a man of the match show against Terry Wood, winning in 18, 21 and 21 darts with a 115 outshot in the third and winning leg. Wood was unable to reach a double in any of the three legs.
With the score delicately balanced at five each with two to play everything hinged on the last two vital games. First on was West Midlands long serving player Jack Routledge, who took the first leg against Garry Price with a terrific 109 finish. Price responded by winning the next two legs. As competitive as ever Routledge fought back to level terms in the fourth. He then went on to win the fifth on double two to ensure at the worst a share of the spoils.
Anchor man for the Midlanders was Robert Carr and for the away team Pete Newman. Carr knuckled down to the task in hand and produced a magnificent victory in 21, 17 and 23 darts to earn not only a personal 3-0 win but more importantly a 7-5 team win and extend their record to four straight wins.
In Sunday’s matches the ladies ‘A’ began in a reverse style to their ‘B’ team. The first three players all lost. Claire Ford opened and was dismissed with a 4-0 result by Linda Jones. Kim Fellows stretched her counterpart Iris Doyle to a deciding leg, but still finished on the wrong side of the 3-2 verdict. Taking Oxfordshire into a 3-0 lead was Karen Williams. Karen was another 3-0 winner as her opponent Chris Banks failed to find the big scores.
Claire Hobbs was West Midlands first winner, she beat Paulette Guy 3-0 in the fourth game to reduce the arrears to 3-1. Award winner Sara Jukes (20.31) reduced the deficit even further when she got the better of Karen Parker with her 3-0 win to
yet again leave the actual result dependant upon the final encounter between Leanne Jennings and Denise Pape. Denis won the first two legs, was pegged back in the third, but her win in the fourth gave her a 3-1 win and a 4-2 success for Oxfordshire.
With two draws and a defeat under their belts the men’s ‘A’ side now required their best result of the campaign so far, a win to give the West Midlands an overall victory. It certainly did not look as though that was about to happen as similar to their ‘B’ team they found themselves trailing 4-2 by the midway point.
Gary Taylor was unable to find a of stopping Barry Stratford as Stratford stormed to a clear 3-0 win in 14, 21 and 17 darts to give him a 28.90 average. Peter Wyse went one up against Steve Foster, but Foster was quick to reply with outshots of 113 and 104 to go 2-1 up. Wyse notched a couple of tons in the fourth leg, but his counterpart replied with a 100 and 140, this together with the darts advantage gave him first throw at a finishing double, double twenty, which he put to bed with just one dart for a 3-1 win. Eddie Price (West Midlands) was another man to kick off with an opening leg win, unfortunately once more the Oxfordshire man, on this occasion Olly Varney came back to win 3-1 to open up a 3-0 lead for the visitors.
Daryl Thorpe was the man to temporarily stop the rot, a tremendous 3-0 win over Ronnie Anderson in which he had a 27.83 average as he checked out in 16, 17 and 21 darts. Pete Hall restored Oxforshire’s three game buffer as he accounted for Mick James in 16, 17 and 18 darts for a 29.47 average. The half was brought to a close with a five legs affair between Lol Frazer and Ade Larner. Frazer won the first leg, Larner the following two. With 2x140’s West Midlands Frazer then won the penultimate leg and when he followed up his first thorw of 180 with 2x100’s he won the decider to take the match into the break with his side trailing 4-2.
The last session of the weekend set off with real promise as Mark Rollinson beat John Jukes3-1, Dave Robbins won 3-2 against Alan Syphus and Avtar Singh got the better of Nick Cobb with another 3-2 verdict to put the home teams noses in front for the first time in the match, leading 5-4.
Richie Foster was unable to add to the lead as he lost out by 301 to Roger Haines. However, Stuart Kendrick did keep hopes of a win alive when he won 3-1 against Kit Young to set up a tense finale with Ian Jones and Ray Pape. West Midlands could not have wished for a better anchor man than Ian Jones. Over many years Jones has pulled out the stops when it has been needed and this was another one of those must win situations which he was more than capable of handling. He won the first leg in fourteen darts hitting 140, 125, 140, 56 and checked out on 40. The second was very much of the same as he scored 100, 60, 100 and 100 and then produced a great 141 outshot. Four tons and double ten were the highlights of Ian’s third leg as he won it in 19 darts for a match award winning average of 31.31, his second successive 31.31 average and his third consecutive match award. Well done Ian and well done the rest of the squad for extending their winning run to three games, an a fabulous 19-17 victory.
I would like to add my congratulations to the multitude that must have already been said to my old pal and team mate Wayne Jones on his achievement for reaching the semi finals of the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championships. After a gallant attempt he finally succumbed to Peter Manley, but he gave a great account of himself on what turned out to be his biggest payday ever. Well done Wayne.
The Small Heath League have been busy with their Delegates, Ladies Singles and Doubles Knockouts. First in group one of the Delegates Knockout Clive Austin (Mitre) defeated Kevin Maloney (Custard House) in the final, while in group two it was Chris Stokes (Victoria 301 Club) who edged out Darren Brown, (Custard House) with a close 2-1 result. The group three title went to Neil Parsonage (Gunmakers Arms) who in the final got the better of Robbie Vann, again another Custard House runner up.
The ladies singles crown was lifted by Jean Forde from the Red Devils Club. Jean, with wins over Sally Hudson (Gunmakers Arms) in the quarter finals and Amanda Cooper in the semi’s beat Samantha Evans (Bromford Bridge Members Club ‘B’) in the final.
It was the Bromford Bridge Members Club ‘A’ pairing of Martin Cooper and Ross Macken who won the doubles final with Brenan Lysaght and Mark Kane finishing as runners up.