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Article: Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time - 1st July 2003

Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time - 1st July 2003

Congratulations and celebrations were certainly on the agenda for the players, officials and supporters of the West Midlands Darts organisation, when they travelled to Wales for the latest of their division four BDO Inter Counties Championship fixtures and returned as divisional champions and promotion to division three.

In what can only be described as mentally their toughest game of the season. This, their final match was against their nearest rivals Gwynedd. Both teams went into the fixture knowing that victory would almost certainly guarantee promotion but defeat could leave them with yet another season in division four as any one of the top five were still in line for promotion. So tight was it at the top that West Midlands win saw their opponents drop to an amazing sixth in the table.

The weekend got off to a flyer for the visitors when Sara Jukes (14.72) handed out a 3-1 defeat to Bethan Parry. The lead was short lived as Fiona Evans, with a similar result beat Ann Jones to level the score. Debi Hackett quickly put the Midlanders back on the winning track with her 3-1 success over Pat Graham and with a 3-2 win by Teresa Johnston against Margaret Scattergrow the away team were already in for at least a share of the spoils.

Tracy Kearns pulled one back for Gwynedd when she accounted for Sue Smith in four legs, but the result was confirmed at 4-2 in the favour of the visitors when Jean Tibbetts won the last game against Rosie Knight, to finish the season as runners up in their division, the champions…….none other than Gwynedd.

West Midlands men’s ‘B’ side had had a tremendous season with seven wins and only one defeat in their previous eight fixtures and at this late stage of the campaign they showed they were in no mood to surrender that record or their pole position.

Avtar Singh began the proceedings and set the pattern for most of the match. Avtar, apart from a slip in the third leg chalked up a competent 3-1 win over William Elphick. Frank Johnson and Fred Parsons emulated Singh’s opener, when they in turn defeated George Bell and Robert A. Wilson, both by 3-1 margins. Bill Hadley went one better with his straight 3-0 win against David A. Roberts to take the away teams lead to 4-0. Making it 5-0 was Mervyn Field. Field beat Stephen Williams in a hard fought 3-2 result before Gwynedd recorded their only win of the first half, a 3-1 success from Tudur A. Williams against Adrian Hammersley.

As did the first, the second half began with West Midlands dominating the proceedings and in the end it turned out to be a carbon copy of the opening six games. Alan Cockayne got the ball rolling with a 3- 1win against Clive Davies. He was followed by team mate Jamie Parsons who with his 3-0 win over Ian Jones and a 27.33 average was named the ‘B’ side’s man of the match. Two further 3-1 wins from Joe Biggs and Steve Penwright over respective opponents William Roberts and Larry Ellis, plus a 3-2 victory from Paul Johnson put the West Midlands 10-1 up.

The last game of the day went to the hosts. Robert Jones having a 3-1 win over Steve Brindley to put the result at 10-2, not only a win for the Midlands side but also the men’s ‘B’ divisional title.

The ladies ‘A’ team were well and truly rooted to the foot of their table and Sunday’s game did nothing to improve that position. The hosts, through Helen Jones, Rhian Williams, Gaynor Williams and Jackie Blanks stormed into an unassailable 4-0 lead with Janet Hubbard, Gill Cook, Kath Jenkins and Claire Downing all on the receiving end. Angie Perry was the player to stop the onslaught, when in the penultimate encounter against Sharon Davis she fought back from 2-0 down to snatch a 3-2 victory. With a 17.38 average Angie was just pipped to the match award by Claire Hobbs, who in the final game defeated Margaret Jones 3-2 to finish with a 17.57 average.

Just three wins was all that was now required from the men’s ‘A’ team for an overall win and the title. Wayne Jenkins (Gwynedd) won the opening leg against Chris Hickman, but Chris was quick to respond as he won the second leg with an 86 checkout. Jenkins took the lead again in the third, only to see Hickman produce a 127 finish in the fourth to force a decider. It was close but in the end it was the West Midlands man who got the verdict, shooting out on 36 when his opponent was left on 38. Paddy Johnson made it 2-0 with a 3-1 success over Alloyn Hughes and Dave Evans took the score nicely along to 3-0 when he accounted for Myfyr Jones with another 3-1 result.

It was the fourth game before the home team registered their first win provided by James Dorenbos at the expense of Viv Gould. Ian Jones put the visitors back on the winning track with a tidy 3-0 win over his counterpart James Friend and John Pountney looked all set to take his team mates into the break with a 5-1 lead when he opened up a 2-0 advantage over Charles Simpson, only his luck deserted him and Simpson went on to win 3-2 and reduce the arrears to 4-2.

The second half was a mirror image of the first. The first three games all went to West Midlands, thanks to Mick James, Ian Hartland and Gary Taylor, who in turn beat Alan D. Williams, Malcolm Hughes and David Roberts. A Martin Phillips (Gwynedd) 3-1 win against Richard Foster took the scoreline to 7-3 prior to West Midlands top player on the day, Peter Wyse chalked up his straight legs victory over Robert Harmes, his 28.90 average earning him the team’s match award. The final score was 8-4, Gwyn Williams beating Martin Tibbetts (West Midlands) 3-2 after trailing 2-1.

So West Midlands have done it, they have clinched the title. But at the beginning of the season the aim was to get promotion and that is what they have achieved the title is the icing on the cake. It could be argued that the ladies ‘A’ side did not have the best of seasons, finishing bottom of their division, but personally I believe promotion has been attained by a squad effort and every single player in the men’s and women’s teams have won that promotion. Each and every one deserves a round of applause. Let’s see more of the same next season and who knows, division two, division one …….?

What a season Mark Hollyoake has had in the Belgrave Social Individual League. After being confirmed as champion he took part in the league’s play off’s for the singles and doubles competitions. In the singles he progressed through to the final following close results against Colin Farrington and Martin Brown in the quarter and semi finals respectively. Nevertheless, Hollyoake won through the best of thirteen legs final against Mick Smith, finishing as 7-3 victor.

In the doubles Hollyoake teamed up with Ian Gould, the duo dropping just two legs on their way to the final. Their last opponents were Lance Thompson and Mick Chater, but nothing or no one was going to stop Hollyoake chalking up a fantastic treble as he and Gould went on to win 5-3.

Heartlands Club have won both the Aston League and Small Heath League titles. Not bad when you realise it’s the only two nights in the week that they actually play in leagues.

The Heartlands Club is the venue, in Aston Church Road, Nechells, Birmingham that will host the Heartlands UK Open 2003 in August. Already players are entering from all over the country and it is strongly rumoured that John Smiths brewery are about to get involved in the event.

There will be a doubles knockout on the Saturday followed by a singles competition on Sunday with approximate total prize money of £1000. Entry to both competitions is £6 per player and the good news is there are still vacancies for both. For further information the man to contact is Bill Morris who can be reached on 07791-769913.

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