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Article: Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time - 1st July 2004

Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time - 1st July 2004

Wednesbury are the 2003-2004 champions of the West Midlands Ladies Super League. Having lost only one match in fifteen fixtures Wednesbury have amassed a total of 78 points, sixteen more than their nearest rivals Great Wyrley, who finished as runners up. Willenhall took the wooden spoon gaining just two wins throughout the season and winding up with 30 points.

In the men’s league Tipton, who have always had an iron grip on the title are once again well on course to retain it. With just a handful of fixtures remaining they have 135 points from 15 games and their nearest rivals Warley are ten points adrift and have played one fixture more.

While on the subject of the West Midlands, Ian Jones, one of the West Midlands longest serving players has added yet another title to his never ending list of honours, that of the West Midlands Gold Cup Singles champion. Ian was in superb form throughout the event beating Steve Gittings in the quarter finals and then progressing to the final with a tremendous win against his namesake and long time adversary Wayne Jones.

From the other side of the draw emerged Jason Lowe, who had wins over Mervyn Field and Lol Frazer to earn his place in the final. It was a fantastic final with none of the five legs played going beyond 20 darts. The opening leg went to Lowe in fifteen darts, after scores of 41, 100, 60 and 180 he checked out on 120, Jones at this point was left nursing 269.

The second leg was neck and neck all the way. Ian Jones had first throw advantage and kicked off with two tons followed by 85, 24 45 and 107 to leave double twenty. Lowe, meanwhile had kept in touch with throws of 45, 100, 47, 100 and 129 to leave 80 and actually had first throw at double twenty to go two up, but failed and allowed Jones to step in and calmly plant his first dart in the required double to level the match.

Missed doubles was again the story for Lowe in the third leg after top shots of 2x100 and 140. Undeterred Jones plugged away and came strong at the end when he hit 140 and 100 to leave double twenty, which with his usual precision he put away in two darts to go 2-1 up, taking the lead for the first time in the game.

Down but not out, Lowe picked his game up again to take the fourth leg hitting a 140 and 135 together with a 55 game shot to three tons and a narrow miss on a bull finish for Jones. The deciding leg produced the best and fastest leg of the final. Despite Lowe having the first throw advantage, it was Jones who got the better start. With shots of 123, 180, 100 and 74 he left himself on double twelve after only a dozen darts, the same double that Lowe had left with after having three more darts. However, it was Jones who was next to the oche and one dart was all he required to wrap up the leg, a 3-2 result and the tile.

The ladies final was made up of Claire Hobbs and Angie Perry. On her path to the final Claire had beaten Teresa Johnston and Jackie Simmonds, while Angie had taken out Jenny Aston. With a 100 and 140 Angie won the first leg in 25 darts on double three. She then went two up when she checked out on double twenty in a similar 25 darts. In leg three Claire chalked up her first winning leg and what turned out to be her only winning leg. Twenty darts were what Claire took to win the leg, her top shots being 136, 85, 85 and 99. Although she hit a further two tons in the fourth leg it was Angie Perry who sealed a 3-1 victory when she scored 2x140’s and had an outshot of four for the crown.

In the men’s Gold Cup Pairs play off the successful duo was the brother in law pairing of Wayne Jones and Steve James. On route to the final the pair accounted for West Midland county players Mick James and Lol Frazer in the last eight and then defeated Adrian Arnold and Martin Tibbetts in the semi’s. In the other half of the draw there was an upset in the quarter finals when Richie Foster and John Pountney took out one of the favourite pairs Ian Jones and Dave Pritchard. Foster and Pountney then lost in the next round to Frank Johnson and Dave Evans, who had beaten Dave Robbins and Alan Cockayne in the previous round.

In the best of seven legs final, Jones and James opened up a commanding 3-0 lead. The first of those three wins saw them hit 140, 100, 100, 100 and finish on 61 for a fifteen darts leg. With two tons and a 140 they went 2-0 up and increased their advantage to 3-0 with another couple of tons and 105 for an eighteen darts leg.

With Jones and James now requiring just one more leg for victory Johnson and Evans began their comeback and did it in some style with a 119 game shot in eighteen darts. The following leg proved to be something of a marathon with both pairs failing time after time to find a finishing double. Nevertheless, it was Johnson and Evans who eventually checked out on double one to reduce the arrears to 3-2 and keep them in the match.

Trebles were hard to find in the sixth leg as both teams hit just one three figure score, but despite this Jones and James built up a lead and as they left themselves on double twenty, their opponents left 118. One dart was all that was needed to secure a 4-2 win and a place in the grand finals.

In the ladies competition once again Claire Hobbs made the final. Teaming up with Kath Jenkins, the pair defeated Claire Downing and Teresa Johnson in the semi’s to face up to Sue Smith and Teresa Johnston in the final. Smith and Johnston had beaten Jenny Aston and Kelly Aston in the preliminary round and then Debbi Hackett and Siobhan Mills in the semi’s. Playing the best of five legs the final went the full distance. The first two legs could easily have gone either way, but with doubles difficult to find it was Hobbs and Jenkins who won both of them. The following two legs went in favour of Smith and Johnston to square the match at two each and force a deciding leg.

The fifth and final leg was a tension packed affair with both teams struggling to find the big scores. Hobbs and Jenkins hit the only three figure score of 125 and as a result were first to a finish. A game shot of 8 was the deciding factor that gave Hobbs and Jenkins a close 3-2 verdict, their opponents left stranded on 110 without a throw.

For some ten years now Tim Porter, Managing Director of Hollybush Aquatics and Garden Centre, Shareshill, near Wolverhampton, one of the largest garden centres in the country, has sponsored me. Throughout that time Tim has been more of a friend than sponsor, he initially engaged Ken Simon of Pond and Pool Services to build me a pond some 16 feet by 12 feet. He supplied all of the equipment required including filters, electric pump, ultra violet filters and even the fish for what turned out to be the main feature of my garden.

Around three years ago Tim authorised further improvements and renovations to upgrade the pond, this time supplying a new external pump and gravity filter system, but it was in June of this year that Tim really answered my call for help.

During the few days that we encountered tropical weather, at some time in the night my water intake filter got clogged up with blanket weed (a nightmare for anyone with a pond). As a result the pump stopped and there was no oxygen for the fish. I lost around twenty Koi carp, worth somewhere in the region of £1,000. I was distraught. Some of the fish I had reared for in excess of twelve years.

Obviously Tim could not do anything about the dead fish but he immediately got one of his staff to come over to my house and make amendments to the water system so that a similar problem could never happen again. He has also stated that once I have the pond up and running and in good order again he will help me to restock it.

All I can say is a big thank you to Tim and Hollybush Aquatics and also thank goodness for darts because that is how Tim and I first got acquainted and for me it has been a relationship that has not only grown over the years, but is one that I personally would have been the poorer for should it not have happened. Once again many thanks Tim

The Sheldon and District Winter League have been busy with playing off some of their numerous cups and knockouts. The Doubles competition saw B. Nixon and J.Sidwell, from the Highwood clinch the title with afinal straight 2-0 victory over T.Randell and T.White, who represented Saltley Amateur Gardeners.

Losing semi finalists were J.Prince and C.Horsley (Fordbridge Social) and J.Pears and P.Stevens also from Fordbridge.

In the divisional cups, Highwood won the premier, with Malt Shovel runners up. Harvester won the division one title, with Shard End Social the beaten finalists and Banbury Club took the honours in division three after a final win over Yardley Ex Service.

Sheldon Shoes were winners of the M & B Cup.

In the Small Heath Winter League Victoria 301 Club had a 6-3 win against Innisfree (Red Devils Club) in the final of the Knockout Cup, while Custard House won the Upside Down Cup following a similar 6-3 success over McVeighs.

The Ace of Clubs Charity team are on the lookout for opponents. The squad take on all comers to raise funds for whatever charity the opposition care to name. Anyone wishing to invite the Ace of Clubs to their pub or club or require any further information should contact Joyce Webster on 0121-604-5081.

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