Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time - 1st June 2002
West Midlands penultimate division three fixture of their BDO Inter Counties Championship season was an away game against Wiltshire. With only two wins in their previous seven outings they were looking, for the first time this season to record two consecutive victories.
Sue Smith got the women’s ‘B’ game underway and she could not have given them a better start. Twice she saw her namesake Lin Smith cancel out her advantage, but Sue stuck well to her task and wrapped up a 3-2 win with double eighteen giving her a 19.45 average, which won her the match award. Jean Tibbetts (West Midlands) came from 1-0 down against Joyce Stanton to take a 2-1 lead. Unfortunately for Jean she lost her way with finishing doubles in the last two legs and her counterpart stepped in for a 3-2 success and levelled the match.
Lynette Pearce looked all set to restore the away teams advantage when she opened up a 1-0 then a 2-1 lead over Carol Rich. However, once again doubles proved to be very costly and Rich took the honours with a 3-2 win. Four time lady of the match winner Teresa Johnson was on at number four, playing against Heather Lane. Heather won the first leg after hitting four scores of 80 plus. Teresa then went on to win the encounter 3-1 to square the match at two each.
The last two games highlighted the importance of doubles. Teresa Johnston (West Midlands) produced a tremendous 117 checkout to go one up against Sue Handscombe. Sue levelled with a 70 outshot and then, after both players had struggled on finishing doubles, Sue finally won the game 3-2 on double seventeen. In the final encounter Lilian Tonks (West Midlands) opened up a 2-0 lead over Ruth Smith, Tonks hitting 130 and 121 in her second leg, which she won in 21 darts. The next three legs saw the West Midlands player miss out on her victory when she failed in all three of the remaining legs when she reached a double. The outcome was a 3-2 win for Smith, giving Wiltshire a 4-2 success.
In their previous fixture against Bedfordshire, the men’s ‘B’ had enjoyed a 9-3 victory and were looking for a repeat performance. However, it was not a good start for them as they lost three of the first four games. John Meredith lost 3-1 to Sean Nicholls and despite drawing back to level terms, thanks to a 3-1 win by Viv Gould over Dave Sheppard the away team found themselves trailing again after the third game when Bill Hadley went down in three straight legs to Kevin Wilkins. West Midlands went further behind when Fred Parsons, after leading 2-0 against Shaun Little eventually lost out 3-2, putting Wiltshire 3-1 up. Gary Taylor reduced the arrears with a 3-1 win over Trevor Higginson and with a similar result from Vic Lloyd against Mark Ord, the score at the midway point was all square at three each.
The second half was a different story. Jamie Parsons opened with a convincing 3-0 win over Darren Freeguard. Steve Penwright, although pegged back to 2-2 after leading 2-0, won 3-2. Frank Johnson guaranteed a share of the spoils when he beat Mick Curran 3-0, making it 6-3 in favour of the visitors. Paul Johnson did not hang around as he accounted for Michael Cummings with a 3-1 win to put the result beyond Wiltshire’s reach.
In the penultimate game Ron Johnson moved the scoreline along to 8-3 by beating Darren Lodge 3-1. The final 3-2 game went to the home team’s Trevor James after Mick Littleford had put up a spirited performance to twice cancel out his advantage. The result, an 8-4 win for the Midlander’s.
Sunday’s games did not get the best of starts as the ladies were handed a crushing 5-1 defeat. Rose Mycock lost the first against Jill Little 3-0. Then West Midlands ‘B’ lady player of the season, Angie Perry cancelled the hosts lead when she beat Tina Rowlands 3-1, chalking up a 20.67 average to give her, her seventh consecutive match award of the eight match season so far. Unfortunately from there on in it was downhill all the way. Ann Jones lost 3-0 to Lou Kemp, Claire Hobbs went down 3-1 to Olive Wilmore after leading 1-0, Janet Hubbard came back from 0-2 to 2-2 and then lost 3-2 and finally, Claire Downing lost 3-1 against Emma King to give Wiltshire a 5-1 win.
The men’s ‘A’ now knew exactly what was required of them to secure an overall victory and the precious win bonus points, at the worst an 8-4 win. Joe Biggs set the wheels in motion when he beat Martin Richell 3-2. Richell made Biggs fight all the way for his victory as he twice cancelled out his advantage. No problems for Adrian Arnold as he doubled the lead with a clear cut 3-0 triumph over Darrel Townsend. Steve Hutchinson stopped the rot for Wiltshire as he registered a 3-1 win over Nick Walters, only to see Steve Brindley restore the two games advantage when he beat Juan Hopkins in straight legs.
Stuart Kirk provided the home team with their second win when he got the better of Paddy Johnson in a very close five legs affair and then taking the match into the break Kirk’s team mate, Dave Exell defeated Martin Tibbetts to level the match at 3-3 leaving the away side with everything to do in the second half.
Similar to the ‘B’ team’s game, the second half was a completely different story. Tom Aldridge opened up against Jeff Eldridge, he trailed 1-0 but responded well to take a 3-1 verdict. Darren Williams made short work of his opponent Mark Cox, beating him 3-0 to give the West Midlands a 5-3 lead. Still requiring three further wins Ian Jones, winner of the man of the match award in the previous outing, registered another such performance. He won the first leg in 16 darts with a double twenty game shot. He then had a fabulous twelve darts leg hitting 95-140 and 99 and checked out with a tremendous 167. With 2x140 and a 62 finish in the third he recorded a brilliant 34.95 average to add another win to his team’s tally.
At number ten was Mick James. Mick lost his first leg to Chris Daglish, then won the next two. Daglish took the fourth but was way back on 122 when James wrapped up the game with his seventeenth dart in the decider. The penultimate game saw Dennis Smith (Wiltshire) pull one back for the home team. Taking on Ian Hartland he gave his counterpart no chance as he won 3-0 in 15-19 and 15 darts for a 30.67 average to leave the weekend’s overall result hinging on the last game. Contesting that final and important game were Chris Bailey (Wiltshire) and Avtar Singh. Singh drew first blood with an eighteen darts leg. Bailey replied in 22 darts only to see his opponent take the lead again in 17 darts. Kicking off with a maximum in the fourth Bailey held the lead down to a double, where he failed, allowed Singh his chance at double eight which he willingly took for a 3-1 win, plus an 8-4 success for the men’s ‘A’, but more importantly an overall 19-17 success for the squad.
The Sheldon and District Winter League have been playing off their singles competition in which in excess of 150 players turned out to contest the title. Playing at the Lea Hall RBL the knockout produced some first class darts, the final a pulsating affair between Mac Elkin (Brookmeadow) and Frank Dixon (British Telecom Club). Dixon went 1-0 up with a ten darts leg and then had a throw at double eight for the title. He wired his double and in stepped Mac with double ten to level at one each.
A 140 gave Elkin the edge in the final leg. Dixon hit 95 to leave 58, Elkin then left himself on 47 giving Frank the opportunity to win the match again. Two darts at his double and the B.T. man missed once more. Mac then hit treble seven and double thirteen to clinch a 2-1 win and the championship.
The men’s and women’s double were on the Forest of Arden Winter League’s agenda. Sheldon Heath Social Club was the setting for the men’s final between Farringdon Social’s Rob Reid and his partner Neil Lumley and representing Hobs Meadow Wayne Mathews and Paul Butler. The result was a win for Reid and Lumley.
The ladies final was contested by Pat Hussey / Ruth Gwillam (Cock and Hens) and Noreen Harris / Claire Barber (Hobs Meadow). Again the Hobs Meadow missed out and Hussey and Gwillam took the crown with a close 2-1 scoreline.
Saltley Flights supplied no fewer than six of the last eight in the Small Heath League’s singles knockout. Taking the title was Mark Birch who had a final win over team mate Alan Caddick, losing semi finalists were Terry Walton and Micky Nunn, making the last eight were Bill Morris, Gerry McCarmack, Neil Parsonage (Black Horse) and Chris Stokes (Red Devils).
The Knockout Cup was won by Saltley Flights, with Custard House ‘A’ runners up. Red Devils are champions of the Upside Down competition, with Montgomerys losing finalists.
Congratulations to the Malt Shovel who have won the Camp Hill and District League championship. Shovel finished on eighteen points, two ahead of their nearest rivals Shannons.
The Hillyfields was the setting for an exhibition in which the Harborne League took on the Ace of Clubs and Gulp charity teams. The outcome was a 9-6 win for the charity teams. However, the biggest winner, as ever was charity with a fabulous amount of £770 raised from the event. The proceeds will be split 50-50 between St Mary’s Hospice and the Trauma Association.
Thanks go to the licensee and his wife, Adam and Lee Jones, plus special thanks also to Steve Arnold, Sue Hough, Ian Jacques, Dennis Stokes and Mick O’Sullivan.