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

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

The West Midlands penultimate fixture against Oxfordshire in division four of the BDO Inter Counties Championships turned out to be much more than a victory. After three consecutive defeats the Midlanders were beginning to let their grip on the divisional title and more importantly, promotion, slip away from them. But their 24-15 win and a massive 28-11 defeat for their nearest rivals Gwynedd has seen them regain pole position on 179 points, five more than the rest of the field with one fixture remaining. Yes just one fixture remaining, but that fixture will be the title decider as it is an away game against none other than second placed Gwynedd.

In the game against Oxfordshire the women’s ‘B’ continued their improved season with a 3-3 draw, giving them so far four wins, two draws and only two defeats. A 3-1 win for Karen Hutton over Teresa Johnston gave Oxfordshire the opening game and although Sara Jukes levelled with her straight 3-0 win against Angie Turner, the visitors went ahead again in the third when Babs Manning beat Jenny Aston 3-1.

Debi Hackett (West Midlands) squared the match again in the fourth with a 3-1 success over Jo Gleed, after her opponent had won the first leg. Angie Perry (17.86) turned on a lady of the match performance against Trina Blackman, winning 3-1 to put the home side in front for the first time in the match. Unfortunately, despite a spirited performance from Jean Tibbetts, which saw her go one up against Caroline Jeffs and then draw level at two each only to lose out in the decider after missing her finishing double.

The men’s ‘B’, top of their division, with six wins and a draw continued with their impressive form as they chalked up a tremendous 8-4 victory. The match began in great style for the hosts as Steve Penwright, Joe Biggs, Alan Cockayne, Frank Johnson, man of the match Peter Wyse (26.31) and Steve Brindley gave them a clean sweep in the first half to open up a 6-0 lead. On the receiving end for Oxfordshire were Trevor Ballard, Graham Manning, Peter Jones, Phil Addison, John Fowler and Dick Foster.

The success story continued into the second half when Mervyn Field beat Anthony Hamstead 3-2 and Avtar Singh, with a 3-1 scoreline defeated Peter Eagle 3-1 to give the home side an unassailable 8-0 advantage. Oxfordshire gained their first winner in the shape of Ron Anderson, who came back from 2-1 down against Viv Gould to win 3-2. Seemingly inspired by Anderson’s victory, his team mates Richard Parker, Dave Exell and Mark Batsford all recorded wins against respective opponents, Fred Parsons, Adrian Hammersley and Jamie Parsons to put the final score at 8-4 in favour of the home team.

Sunday’s games did not get off to the best of starts, however, things did get better. Claire Hobbs lost the opener to Paulette Guy (Oxfordshire) 3-1 and with a similar result Guy’s team mate, Karen Hutton accounted for Kath Jenkins. Gill Cook stopped the rot and kept the West Midlands in the hunt when she beat Trina Blackman 3-1 after losing the first leg. But Claire Downing’s failure to find a finishing double saw her go down 3-0 to Hazel Prowton and with the running score at 3-1 to the opposition, the West Midlands now well and truly had their back’s to the wall and with five defeats and two draws to the name, something special was required to pull anything out of the fire.

Something special is what the West Midlands got as in the penultimate game Teresa Johnson faced up to Pat Ireson. Teresa won the first, Pat the second and then the third with a 113 checkout to put her and her team within an ace of victory. Teresa won the fourth convincingly with her counterpart way back on 274 when she wrapped up the leg on double seventeen. She then went on to win the decider on double twenty, with Ireson still requiring 70, giving her an award winning 18.62 average and the chance for her team to snatch a draw.

Janet Hubbard (West Midlands) and Chris Young were the last players on. Janet stormed to a 2-0 lead, and although Chris reduced the arrears in the third leg, she lost the fourth and the game in the fifth, Wesyt Midlands scrapping bravely for a share of the spoils.

All that was now required from the men’s ‘A’ was five winning legs to ensure an overall victory and a stop to the losing three match run they had suffered. Martin Tibbetts made short work of his opponent Peter Hall as he rattled off a 3-0 win in 18-13 and 19 darts for a tremendous 30.06 average, which at the end of the day earned him the team’s man of the match award. The lead was short lived as Steve Foster took advantage of John Pountney’s failure to find finishing doubles and went on to win 3-1. Darren Williams got the Midlands team back on winning lines when he beat Keith Bedding 3-1, Darren winning the first leg with a 120 outshot and Bedding the second with a 110 game shot. The match went into the break with the home team leading 5-1, wins from Gary Taylor, Dave Evans and Richard Foster over respective opponents Mark Batsford, Glyn Jones and Olly Varney extending their lead.

The second half was not so rewarding despite Ian Jones continuing the winning sequence when he opened it with his 3-1 success over Jim Jukes. From 6-1 to the West Midlands the scoreline moved along to 6-5 when Roger Haines, Kit Young, Jon Jukes and

Peter Newman in turn defeated Chris Hickman, Ian Hartland, Mick James and Steve James, leaving the result hinging on the final encounter between Paddy Johnson and Kevin Middleton (Oxfordshire).

The result was in little doubt as Johnson went two up with Middleton failing to reach a double on either occasion and although he did have two darts at a finishing double in the third, he missed and Johnson sealed his 3-0 win on double two and his team’s 7-5 victory in the process.

So the West Midlands and indeed Gwynedd face their most important and vital game of their nine match season as the two teams meet in the title shoot out in Wales on the weekend of the 10th & 11th of May, the result of which will be known when this column actually gets to print.

The H.O.P.E. charity squad have been in action taking on the King Edward in an effort to raise funds for John Jones. John, who has done a lot for raising monies for cancer research has now unfortunately discovered he is suffering from the disease himself. The match raised in excess of 500 pounds.

Congratulations to Ian McLean (Black Horse) on winning the Small Heath League’s singles title. McLean took the title with a final success against Alan Caddick who was representing the Custard House. Losing semi finalists were John McCaffrey (Antelope) and Colin Wyatt (Gunmakers).

With games in hand, Mark Hollyoake went into the final stages of the season in the Belgrave Social Individual League knowing that wins in those matches would give him the title. And win he did. Mark finished the season as champion with 146 points, fifteen more than his nearest rival, Colin Farrington, who was runner up, with Gordon Clinton third a further four points adrift.

Hollyoake, after clinching the championship went into the league’s singles and doubles knockout’s. In the singles he romped through to the quarter finals, where he faced Colin Farrington, the top two players of the season now playing each other for a place in the last four. As expected the match was very close, Hollyoake just getting the narrow 5-4 verdict. Mark then endured another tight game in which he again won by the odd leg, this time his opponent being Martin Brown.

Mark’s final opposition came in the form of Mick Smith, who had finished in a respectable sixth position in the league. However, Hollyoake’s experience came to the front and he claimed the title with a final 7-3 win.

In the doubles Mark teamed up with Ian Gould. The duo won their first round tie against Mick Bagley and John Turner 3-0. They then went on to win 3-1 against John Green and Phil Jones in the quarter finals and 4-1 in the semi’s against Colin Farrington and Derek Mountjoy to set up a final game against Lance Thompson and Mick Chater.

Hollyoake and Gould won the final 5-3 to give the former a terrific trio of wins in the league, the league title plus both the singles and doubles, in fact a clean sweep. Well done Mark.

The Sheldon and District League have also been involved in their singles and doubles knockouts and it was Ian Spncer (Three Horse Shoes) who secured the coveted singles title. Ian threw consistently throughout the competition with a superb show in the final where he came up against Colin Henn (St Annes). Spencer won the first leg with a 100 game shot, then in the second he won the title hitting 100 and checking out on 131 for a nine darts leg.

The double’s knockout was deservedly won by Bob Nixon and Tom Sidwell from the Highwood. They won the final against Tom White and Tony Randall (Saltley Amateur Gardeners) 2-0. In the first leg Nixon broke with 152 and Sidwell checked out on 158.

Throughout the night five maximum’s were recorded by Richard Goldbey (2), Alan Grainger, Tony Randall and Bob Nixon.

The Harborne and District League have staged their first ladies knockout, which proved to be most successful. League headquarters, the Hillyfields was the setting for the event, with Leanne McDonald (W.C.WMC) taking the crown at the expense of Emma Hill who represented Hobsons Choice.

Losing semi finalists were Lyn Grant (Avenue Social) and Lea Pythian (Highlander Ladies).

Once more the Ace of Clubs and Gulp charity teams have got together in a bid to raise monies for charity. Their latest exhibition match was staged at the Victoria Club, Sparkhill, Birmingham, where they took on a Bulls Head select from Bideford on Avon.

The result was a 9-7 win for the charity teams, but the most important statistic was the £244 raised from the event which will be split 50-50 between Ward 11 of the Princess Diana Childrens Hospital, Birmingham and Cancer Research.

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