Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time - 1st July 2001
The 2000/2001 BDO Inter Counties Championship season is not one West Midlands will want to remember. Playing in division two the Midlands side have been attempting to fight off relegation since day one when they lost their opening fixture 20-16 at home to Cornwall. On the weekend of the 12th and 13th of May that fight ended in defeat. Despite a very creditable home draw with promotion runners up Cumbria, it was not enough to avoid finishing bottom of the table and suffering the big drop to division three after three seasons in division two.
As a former West Midlands player I can appreciate the heartbreak and disappointment the current players must feel. But, unfortunately it has to be said that if West Midlands are to ever again be the force they once were, new signings are a must. The men’s ‘B’ team appears to have it sorted with seven wins, one draw and only one defeat. The ‘A’ have recorded three wins, two draws and four defeats, a record that obviously does not require major surgery but nevertheless there is room for improvement.
Now the ladies. That is a completely different story. For many years Super league teams like Cannock, Tipton and Wolverhampton have supplied top quality players and the county have always been able to hold their own with the best of teams. However, over the past years a number of quality players have moved on or actually retired from the sport. They have not been replaced with players who have similar attributes. The result, the ‘A’ team have gone all season without a win, they have had one draw and lost eight. The ‘B’ team has been even less impressive. In this seasons nine fixtures they have lost 1 x 6-0, 5 x 5-1 and 3 x 4-2. This was after losing all nine matches last season. In fact the ladies ‘B’ team have not won a game since the 6th March 1999 when they won 4-2 at home to Berkshire, their only win in 27 games.
I’m sure all West Midlands players, past and present will join me in wishing the county all the very best of luck for next seasons campaign. I hope that more top players, especially ladies, will be attracted to the county and strengthen the squad. A couple of regular winners would give the current players that little bit of confidence that could easily turn their defeats into victories.
Now to bring down the curtain on the 2000/ 20001 season, the final match report. The ladies ‘B’ got off to a promising start when Sue Smith (14.32 lady of the match) had a straight 3-0 win over Michelle Black. Unfortunately from there on in it was all downhill. Francis Allen twice took the lead against Laura Tweedale before going down 3-2. Ann Shuley gave Cumbria the lead for the first time when she beat Janet Cox 3-1. Then Rachel Morrill, with a similar 3-1 result defeated Rose Sanders, after Rose had won the first leg.
Cumbria’s match award winner, Ann Jenkinson (16.52) chalked up her team’s winning leg when, in three legs she beat Teresa Johnston and then Dawn Stevenson made it 5-1 with a final 3-1 win over Angela Barnett, once again after the West Midlands player had won the opening leg.
The men’s ‘B’ had had a great season, going into the final fixture with only one defeat to their name and that was to top of the promotion table Buckinghamshire. Adrian Arnold opened for the home side but was always fighting from behind against Bill Hoskings who eventually won 3-2. Ron Johnson went one up against Trevor Watters only to finish 3-1 down as Cumbria took a 2-0 lead.
If West Midlands needed a ray of hope Clive Francis provided it. A 3-0 straight legs victory over Chris O’Prey reduced the arrears to 2-1. Peter Hadley then squared the match, beating Ged Stockdale 3-2 after being pegged back twice. West Midlands then looked as though they would get their noses in front when Joe Biggs first went 1-0 and then 2-1 up against George Moore. However, Moore then took advantage of Joe’s missed doubles and won the tie 3-2. By the halfway mark the visitors had regained their two legs lead, Graham Metcalf rounding off the half with a 3-1 success over Frank Johnson.
A determined effort was what was required of the home side in the second half and that is how the game began. Roger Kinsella and man of the match Paddy Johnson (27.28) both trailed 1-0 to respective opponents Mike Bewes and Malcolm Smallshaw. Nevertheless, the two battled on to clinch 3-1 wins and for the second time in the match level the scoreline.
Old campaigner Fred Parsons was on at number nine, his experience earning him a 3-1 win over John Blaney and at the same time giving his team the lead for the first time in the match. The cheers were short lived as Cumbria’s
Drynan Hannah accounted for Vic Lloyd in just three legs to put the score at 5-5 with two to play. The penultimate game saw Jamie Parsons beat Alan Sanderson 3-1 and with a final 3-0 win for Paul Johnson against Alan Butler the West Midlands ‘B’ wound up their great season with a 7-5 win. Congratulations go to the ‘B’ team who, with a total of 66 points finished the season as champions of their division, two points ahead of both Suffolk and Buckinghamshire, their nearest rivals.
Sunday was the last day of the season. It did not get off to a good start. Gill Cook, Rose Mycock, Diane Tolley, Claire Hobbs, Ann Jones and Claire Downing all lost in turn to Anita Ward, Val Mackins, Pam Hind, Barbara Lee, Michelle Jackson and Angela Jackson giving the away team a resounding 6-0 win.
The men had a much brighter start as Nick Walters opened up with a 3-1 win against Mark Storey and Mick James went one better as he defeated Andy Foden 3-0. Gary Simpson pulled one back for Cumbria with his 3-1 win over Steve Brindley. However, this proved to be a minor stumbling block as Tom Aldridge won 3-0 against Richard Smith, Steve Penwright beat Steve Armstrong 3-1 and with a 3-0 success by Avtar Singh over Graham Metcalf, the hosts went into the break 5-1 up.
Dave Hurst chalked up Cumbria’s second win when he beat Dave Robbins in three straight legs. But from there on in it was West Midlands all the way. Gary Taylor was taken the full five legs distance by Steve Poonnett before winning 3-2. Ian Jones, for the second successive match won the match award, a 31.98 average in his 3-0 win over Peter Gale. Colin Davies was another player to be taken to a decider, his counterpart Brian Steadman twice levelling after going behind. However, Davies took the last leg with a 68 outshot with Steadman back on 96. The last two games saw Jonathon Platt and Ian Hartland record 3-0 wins against John Duncan and Robert Waugh to give West Midlands a final and convincing 10-2 victory over a team who finished third in the table just three points adrift of the men’s ‘A’ division winners Humberside.
West Midlands neighbours, Warwickshire had a more fortunate finish to their season. Playing away to Staffordshire in the final premier division fixture, the outcome would almost certainly decide who would join Kent in being relegated. The result was a draw and Warwickshire maintained the premier division status.
When speaking of Warwickshire there is one player who just has to get a mention, the truly remarkable Trina Gulliver. Nine out of nine wins, nine out of nine match awards, what a season, what a finish to the season. Playing against Staffordshire’s Sharon Kirk Trina won 3-0 and recorded a simply amazing 34.95 average, which was not only her best of the season but also Warwickshire’s best average of the season, matched only by Tony Brown in his win against Hampshire back in December.
Trina has now won eighteen consecutive match awards, two complete seasons. She has won twenty three of her teams last twenty five awards, Tammy Montgomery and Lesley Newcombe the only two other players to have been top ladies during that time.
Trina’s best average last season was 34.16 against Lincolnshire. Her 34.95 in this latest campaign sets a new challenge for her, and who is prepared to say that she will not beat it again next season, certainly not me!
To round off their winter season the Sheldon and District League have been heavily involved in various cup games. In the Divisional Cup finals E.B.A.H.A. took full advantage of an out of form St Annes to win 5-4, Kevin Moloney clinching victory with a superb win over K.Richards. Malt Shovel were good value for their 6-3 win over Brook Meadow to win the division one final, Fred Goldbey recording a 150 checkout against Stuart Foy to help Shovel on their way.
Hobs Meadow completed a fine season, a 9-0 whitewash over Sheldon Shoes giving them a terrific double of the league and cup.
The M & B Cup, in which the bottom teams in each division compete, was won by KDLC, a 5-4 verdict over Lyndon Arrows.
With wins from Jim Norris, Dave Hutchings, KarlAttwood, Rhys Duncan and Bob Vines Olton RBL won the Punch Bowl, beating Shard End Social 5-4 in the final.
Terry Webster carried off the Jubilee Trophy with the 2-0 defeat of league chairman Alan Mayell, while the Presidents Trophy went to Tom Kelly. In the “Round Robin” competition Kelly defeated both R. Earl and A. Powell. Saltley Amateur Gardeners are the champions of the Denis Houlders Trophy following a 4-1 success over St Annes in the final. Frank Keye and Barry Cowie emulated their feat of two years ago when they won the league’s doubles knockout. After going 1-0 down to Tom Kelly and Ian Spencer, Keye and Cowie fought back to level terms and then with a maximum from Keye in the deciding leg the Fordbridge Social pair went on to win the title.
Congratulations go to Hobs Meadow on winning the Forest of Arden Winter League championship. Hobs who finishing six points clear of runners up Silver Wings crowned their season by also adding the Divisional Cup and the Consolation Cup titles to their list of honours. In the final of the Divisional Cup they beat Silver Wings 9-6 and
in the Consolation Cup defeated local rivals Hobs Meadow Mixes 7-2. Harvester with a 9-6 result against Stechford Social won the Shadow League Divisional Cup.
Silver Wings representatives Lesley Newcombe and Ronnie Radford won the league’s Mixed Doubles competition. Beattie Powell and Wayne Mathews (Hobs Meadow) were the 2-0 losers in the final.
Midland Red are the winners of the Harborne and District Winter League’s Wadsworth Cup. Despite a spirited performance from W.C.WMC, Red won the final 6-3 with a nine darts leg from Peter Brotherton. The George had a convincing 12-3 win over Avenue Social in the final of the Skipp Cup.
The Warwickshire Air Ambulance will benefit to the tune of £100 as a result of the charity game between the Ace of Clubs Charity Team and the South West Birmingham Clubs League. Playing at Stirchley United WMC the game finished all square at five each. Winners for the charity team were Carl Lucas, Lesley Newcombe, Pat Bradshaw, Paul James and Steve Dwyer. On the mark for the clubs league were Joe Taylor, Brenda Bullock, Barbara Andrews, Bob Griffiths and Mick Duggan.
It was a close finish to the Vesey Sports sponsored Aston Manor Darts League as Heartlands and K.C.A. went into the final fixture level on points and the championship hinging on their last results. Heartlands, with a 180,160 break and a nine darts leg from T.Walton beat their opponents the Yew Tree 7-2. K.C.A. meanwhile, were playing against the Golden Hind. They also won, theirs a 5-4 success. Unfortunately for them it was not enough. Although finishing on the same 32 points as Heartlands, their rivals had the better average and won the league title by just seven legs.
Despite losing heavily to Heartlands, Yew Tree still won the Shadow League title.