Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time - 1st June 2004
As is the norm there were two fixtures in April to round off the BDO Inter Counties Championships season and what important games they were for the West Midlands in division three. Two wins could put them well on their way to promotion to the second division, anything less could leave them trailing behind second placed Cornwall.
The first of the two games was an away tie against Bedfordshire. The ladies ‘B’ bettered their 6-0 defeat at the hands of the Cornwall team in the previous outing, but they were still unable to chalk up a win, going down 4-2 with Gill Cook (14.76) their lady of the match.
The men’s ‘B’ were protecting an unbeaten run for the season, and protect it they did. At the halfway mark they had opened up a 5-1 lead thanks to wins from Eddie Price (26.84 man of the match), Gary Taylor, Avtar Singh, Martin Tibbetts and Viv Gould. Although the hosts pulled one back in the first of the second spell through Tony Croxford, further wins from Frank Johnson, Alan Cockayne and Dave Pugh guaranteed victory. The final scoreline was 8-4 to the Midlanders after Stuart Walton and Les Charville won the last two for Bedfordshire.
Sunday’s games saw the ladies ‘A’ kick off with a win from Janet Hubbard, but with Julie Newman and Betty Tompkins replying for the home team they suddenly trailed 2-1. Sara Jukes (19.36) put on an award winning performance against Sue Blay, beating her 3-1 to level the match before Claire Downing added her win over Michelle Lee to the tally to restore an advantage of 3-2. In the final game Kath Jenkins fought all the way against Angela King, coming back from 1-0 and 2-1 down to level terms but eventually lost out in the deciding leg and losing 3-2 to put the final score level at three each.
The men’s ‘A’, who have been in a rich vein of form now only needed to draw to secure an overall win. Things did not get off to a good start as Lol Frazer lost the opener to Barry Foster and although Dave Evans and Adrian Arnold (28.11 award winner) gave West Midlands a 2-1 lead it was short lived as Kevin Durrant, Wayne Morgan and Paul Warwick had taken their into a 4-2 lead at the break.
Two wins from Peter Wyse and Mick James cancelled out Bedfordshire’s lead, but not for long. Lee Beesley got the better of Ian Jones to open a 5-4 lead , but despite a win from Richard Foster to make it 5-5, the Bedford lads won the day when Andy Keen and Colin Hill chalked up wins to give their team a 7-5 victory and put the overall result all square at 18-18, West Midlands second consecutive draw, just one more winner from each of those games could have added vital points for promotion, but their was still one remaining game at home to Northamptonshire.
The ladies ‘B’ once again finished on the wrong side of 1 4-2 result after Kim Fellows gave them the perfect start when she beat Nicola Coleman 3-1. Northamptonshire then took hold of the game as Lynne Dale, with a straight 3-0 win accounted for Jenny Aston, Trina Butler beat Sue Smith 3-1 and Lynne King was another 3-0 winner against Debi Hackett to give their side a 3-1 lead.
A lady of the match from Claire Hobbs (17.14) kept the slim hopes of a draw for the West Midlands alive, but those hopes were dashed as Tracey Prowse handed out a 3-1 defeat to Teresa Johnston to give the visitors a 4-2 win.
The men’s ‘B’ match got off to a very extraordinary, possibly unique start. Darren Williams opened up for the hosts with a straight 3-0 win over Mick Ward and a match award winning average of 27.33. Then at number two was Darren’s team mate Martin Tibbetts, who also won in three straight legs against his counterpart Ken Woolnough and in the process amazingly recorded the exact same average of 27.33 to share the match award.
The pattern continued as Mervyn Field and Viv Gould added another two straight wins to the tally by defeating in turn Shane Hill and Steve Underwood to give the home side a 4-0 lead. It was the fifth game before Northamptonshire recorded their first winner. It came in the shape of Ian Evans, who beat Avtar Singh 3-2 after being pegged back to level terms twice by Singh. Going into the break the arrears were reduced even further when Chris Jones, with a 3-0 result accounted for Alan Cockayne making it 4-2 at the halfway stage.
A 3-0 win from Gary Taylor over Wayne Deal and a 3-1 success against Mick Nesic by Eddie Price increased West Midlands advantage to 6-2. Once again Northamptonshire won two in a row, this time it was Stuart Gilmore’s 3-1 win against Lee Jones and Mark Hanby’s 3-0 defeat of Steve Lynch that doubled the visitors tally to four. In the penultimate encounter Dave Pugh gave the home side the win they were seeking, win number seven, the all important match winner. Dave took on namesake Dave Brown and beat him 3-1. Ade Lewis got the better of a 3-1 verdict over Frank Johnson in the final game to put the result at 7-5 to the Midlands team, a result that saw them go through the season undefeated with seven wins and two draws, a great season well done lads!!!.
Claire Downing got Sunday’s proceedings underway with a 3-1 win over Trina Butler. However, the lead did not last too long as Sylvia Jones and Mary Garling beat Claire Hobbs and Kath Jenkins to give the away team a 2-1 lead.
Sara Jukes and Janet Hubbard responded quickly to the challenge beating, in turn Teresa Bradford and Anita Daly to open up a 3-2 advantage and with a lady of the match show from Angie Perry (23.48) in her 3-0 win over Karen Roberts the result was 4-2 in the home teams favour.
In the final game of the fixture, the weekend and the season, the men’s ‘A’ began with consecutive wins from Dave Evans and Ian Hartland. Evans beat John Elliott 3-1 and Hartland, who won by the same margin beat Si Almey.Despite the good start, Northamptonshire drew back to level terms with their two in a row being supplied by Neil Thompson and Curly Connelly at the expense of Peter Wyse and Chris Hickman. By the midway point West Midlands had had their two games cushion restored when Richie Foster, in straight legs took out Dick Sharp and John Pountney, with a 3-2 win including outshots of 109 and 140, plus a 12 darts deciding leg beat Martin Thompson.
With a lead of 4-2 the second half saw all six games go in favour of the first throw advantage giving the Midlands side a 7-5 victory. Winners for the home team were Paddy Johnson, Ade Arnold and anchor man Lol Frazer, who also took the man of the match award with his 28.36 average. The winners for Northamptonshire were Mark Bruce, Jamie Richardson and Ray Jones.
The overall result was a 23-16 win for the West Midlands, but unfortunately it was not enough as Cornwall won their final fixture against Bedfordshire 27-12 and finished eleven points ahead of them and claimed the second promotion spot behind County Durham. So it’s another season in division three, but nevertheless lessons will obviously be learned and I’m sure that next season West Midlands will be toasting their return to division two.
While on the subject of county games my column would not be complete without mentioning and congratulating Trina Gulliver for her latest entry in the record books. It feels like only yesterday that in my Birmingham Evening Mail column I was writing about Trina being the first lady to be accepted as a player in Warwickshire Men’s Super League. Now she is able to add to her numerous triumphs the record of being the only player ever to register fifty straight county wins. In the process of chalking up those memorable wins she dropped only fourteen legs. She is truly the greatest female player EVER!!! And will give many of the male players a good run for their money.
On the local league scene the Four Oaks and District League have completed their season and taking the honours in division one is Midland Red, with the Greyhound runners up. The second division title went to Hill Allotments. Going into the final game of the season Allotments and the Sportsmans Rest were level on 24 points and having to play each other. The result was a very close 5-4 to Hill Allotments and despite their inferior average gained the two vital points to give them the title and leave Sportsmans Rest as runners up.
In the final of the Coronation Shield Anvil took the crown with a 9-6 verdict over the Greyhound, while with the same scoreline Yenton Settlers beat Hardy Spicer in the final of the Norman Day Cup.
In the Longwood League Andy Hanslow won the singles Knockout beating Paul Whittaker in the final. Hanslow then teamed up with Tony Goodwin in the doubles and made it a personal double when they lifted the title. Yet again Paul Whittaker had to be content with the runners up prize as he and Mark Martin lost in the final.
The Dolphin won the Open Cup and Queens ‘B’ won the Division Two Challenge Cup.
Saltley Gardeners are the new Premier Division champions of the Sheldon and District Winter League and they certainly ended their season in style as they won 8-1 at Castle Vale Residents Association. A.Caddick had a 160 break for the champions. Highwood finished as runners up with 34 points, four less than Saltley, but their finish was not so glamorous as they lost 5-4 at home to the Three Horse Shoes, who with 30 points were third.
In division one Glebe Community Centre won the title on 30 points, two more than second placed Hen and Chickens. The vital two points difference were gained in the final game when Glebe won 7-2 against Dovecote, defeat would have cost them the title as Hen and Chickens beat Sheldon Social 5-4.
Banbury Club are the division two champions, their final success being a 6-3 win over Small Heath Gardeners. Banbury won the title by four points from Shard End RBL, who also won their final game, beating Gunmakers Arms 5-4. K.White had a 164 finish for Shard End and C.Vann a 160 break plus a nine darts game for the Gunmakers.
Congratulations to Tony Randell, who with a straight 2-0 win in the final against Pat Sinnett lifted the league’s singles crown. Tony was in fine form throughout the night beating Paul Nunn 2-0, Alan Caddick and Peter Brogan 2-1 and then in the final recording a 160 break and a nine darts game against Sinnett.
Congratulations go to the George, who have not only won the division one title in the Harborne and District Winter League, but have won it without losing one single game in their eighteen match season. George rounded off their 100% win record with a 5-2 away win at the Quinborne Flights. Hillyfields finished as runners up, beating the Raven 4-3, but still four points adrift of the champions.