Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time - 1st January 2002
In the latest round of fixtures in division three of the BDO Inter Counties Championships there was both good and bad news for the West Midlands. Unfortunately the bad news outweighed the good.
Playing away against Devon at the Peter Chalk Centre, the ladies ‘B’ got the proceedings underway. Teresa Johnson opened up for the Midlands side winning the first leg of the day in just 21 darts. Teresa’s opponent, Joyce Wilson levelled the game with a 25 darts leg. In a drawn out leg in which both players had difficulty with doubles Johnson eventually got the elusive double one to forge ahead again. Although Teresa had twice taken the lead it was Wilson who took the 3-2 result when she won the fourth and fifth legs in 24 and 30 darts. Jenny Prout added to her team mates win when she accounted for Ann Jones with a 3-1 verdict.
Sue Smith gave the visitors something to cheer when she came back from 2-1 down to Sue Frankpitt to snatch a 3-2 win, her 14.54 average also enough to earn her the match award. Sue’s win turned out to be the only one that the West Midlands would achieve in the ladies ‘B match as Lynette Pearce and Jean Tibbetts both finished as 3-1 losers against respective opponents Debbie Lyon and Sharon Duke. The final game also went to the hosts as Sandra Chamberlain beat Teresa Johnston in three straight legs to give Devon a comfortable 5-1 success.
With a draw and an 8-4 win in their first two games the men’s ‘B’ needed another good result to give the Sunday teams any real hope of achieving an overall victory. However, they did not get off to a very good start. Martin Tibbetts, despite notching a maximum plus seven three figure scores was always chasing Paul Lyon and finally went down 3-2. It was a similar story for Jonathon Platt. He also hit a 180 and seven scores of a ton or more as he lost 3-2 to Andy Taylor. Frank Johnson stopped the rot as he beat Shane Joslin 3-1, hitting a 180 and finishing the last leg in fifteen darts. Jamie Parsons (28.75) hit a 180 with his second visit to the oche, but still lost the leg to Tommy Quinn. Undeterred Parsons then turned on a man of the match display to overcome his counterpart and win 3-1, putting his team back on level terms, but not for long.
Ron Johnson got off to a fine start winning the opener against Albert Long in nineteen darts. He then began to struggle and allowed Long to step in and claim a 3-1 win. Steve Penwright went 2-0 up against Wayne Price, but, yet again the West Midlands player took his foot off the gas and allowed the host player to get back into the game and win 3-1 to give Devon a 4-2 lead at the break.
The second half began with more promise. Roger Kinsella staged a tremendous fight back after trailing 2-0 to Ray Seamarks to snatch a great 3-2 win. Viv Gould took a 2-0 lead against Phil Barrett and although the latter won the third leg it was Gould who won the fourth and in doing so the game 3-2 to square the match at four each.
Game nine saw the West Midlands take the lead for the first time in the match. Paul Johnson chalked up a 3-1 win over Jim Gregory to give his side a 5-4 advantage. Unfortunately the cheers were short lived. Alex Clyburn (Devon) despite twice taking the lead against Mick Littleford had to wait until the fifth and final leg before claiming his victory. Then in the penultimate game Brian Hodge put the home team within an ace of winning when he defeated Vic Lloyd 3-2 and with a further win from Sean Budd against Joe Biggs in the last encounter Devon recorded their second win of the day.
Time and time again those immortal words ‘Finishing Doubles’ have been spoken of as the difference between teams winning or losing and the ladies ‘A’ game yet again highlighted that very fact. Anne Jones (West Midlands) went one up against Candy Holdsworth only to see her advantage slip away and lose 3-1. Claire Downing came back from 1-0 down to Patsy Fletcher to lead 2-1, but then despite reaching finishing doubles in the last two legs lost 3-2. Teresa Johnson could not have come any closer to winning without actually winning. She checked out on 67 in the second leg after losing the first to Trish Penberthy when she was down to 5. The Devon player then won the third with Teresa left on double three and after squaring the game again in the fourth Johnson lost the decider after missing doubles down to double four. Ironically Teresa lost all three of her legs when she had first throw advantage.
With the home team holding a comfortable 3-0 lead Di Carpenter looked all set to chalk up the winning fourth game when she opened up a 2-0 lead over Angie Perry. But, Angie who won the lady of the match award in the previous outing was in no mood to concede defeat. She won the third leg and levelled the game in the fourth in 20 darts. The fifth and final leg was a very close affair with Angie having a successful 8 outshot when her counterpart was left requiring the same double four. Angie, with an 18.62 average took the match award for the second successive fixture.
Devon got their vital fourth winner in the fifth game, Mo Mortimer a 3-1 victor against Sue Smith. With the result already decided Claire Hobbs registered West Midlands second win when she defeated Lynne Cottrell 3-1 in the last game. Nevertheless, it was Devon who got the more important 4-2 match result.
The men’s ‘A’ with two defeats to their name began with real promise has Mick James beat Ken Saunders 3-1 and Nick Walters followed up with a similar result against Chris Hunt. Ian Jones with a straight legs victory over his namesake Ian Knight put the away team into a 3-0 lead. Chris Hammett was the first Devon winner when he recorded a 3-0 success against Darren Williams, but Avtar Singh was quick to restore the three game’s advantage when he also won 3-0 against Mike Curzon. Trevor Perry gave Adrian Arnold no chance as he romped to a 3-1 win with Arnold unable to reach a finishing double in his losing legs. Perry’s winput the score at the midway stage at 4-2 to West Midlands.
Tom Aldridge twice took the lead against Flynn Jones, but Jones, who was in superb form was in no mood to lose. He levelled in the fourth leg in fourteen darts and then wrapped up the issue when he produced a fabulous 160 checkout after Aldridge had left himsel double sixteen. Jones with a 33.52 average was Devon’s man of the match. Sean Budd cancelled out the West Midlands lead when he beat Paddy Johnson 3-2, Johnson pushing him all the way.
With only four to play and the match delicately poised at 4-4 the ninth leg was vital to both teams. Ian Hartland made sure it would be the Midlander’s who would go into the lead when he accounted for Andy Steed with a neat 3-0 win. Gary Taylor’s 3-1 win over Colin Greenslade assured the visitors of at least a share of the spoils, but a 3-2 victory from Mangal Singh (27.57) guaranteed a first win of the season for the West Midlands ‘A’ side. Singh‘s win earned him the man of the match award for the second successive fixture.
The last game also went to the Midlander’s, Steve Brindley won 3-1 against Mike Edwards after Edwards had taken a 1-0 lead. The final score 8-4 to the away team, however, the overall result was a 20-16 win for Devon and leaving West Midlands with a lot to think about for the new year.
I am unhappy to report the sad and sudden death of 49 years old George Harper, a dear friend who goes back many, many years.
George who got married only three years ago, was a former Tipton and Gornal West Midlands Super League player as well as a regular in the local league’s and competitions. Not only was he a player but also a dedicated follower of the sport of darts for as many years as I can remember. A quiet person who would give credit whenever and wherever it was due. Always fair and ready to help in anyway he could. George was definitely one of the nice guys of darts.
I feel proud to have played darts with George and more so that I am able to call him a friend. I’m sure everyone who knew him will join me in expressing the sadness that his untimely death has bought about and also offer their condolences to his family at this time of such great loss.
In the West Midlands Super League Tipton began life at thier new home venue, Tipton Sports and Social Club with a cracking 7-2 victory over Smethwick ‘B’, the match containing no fewer than 60 scoes of a ton or more with Tipton registering 37 of them. Mick James was the man to take the man of the match accolade for the hosts, beating Mark Bowen 2-1, hitting 4x140 and 3x100 in his winning 15 and 16 darts legs to give him a very creditable 28.13 average.
Other games saw Wednesbury and Wednesfield record 6-3 wins against respective opponents Penkridge and Coseley.