Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time - 1st June 2005
West Midlands penultimate fixture in division three of the Kaliber BDO Inter Counties Championships was also their final home match of the campaign. Playing at Gilberts Bar, Willenhall against Bedfordshire, the ladies ‘B’ were hoping to emulate their opening three games of the season when they kicked off with three undefeated games, but because they were all drawn, the current run with one win and one draw could be their best run of the 2004 / 2005 season.
The match did not get off to the best of starts as Teresa Johnston lost 3-1 to Donna Hoyle and Claire Hobbs lost her encounter with Sue Blay 3-0. Debbie Hackett responded for the hosts with a straight 3-0 win over Bev Jackson and with a lady of the match performance from Sue Smith (14.88), when she defeated Michelle Lee 3-1 the midlanders were back on level terms with everything to play for.
The fourth game could have swung either way as Claire Downing (West Midlands) won the first leg, then her counterpart Angela King took the second and also the third to lead 2-1. Claire squared the game in the fourth leg and was first to a finishing double in the decider. However, Claire was unable to take advantage of her lead and allowed King back into the leg, not only into the leg but had to be content to watch her wrap up the leg on a 5 game shot to give her a 3-2 win and her team a 4-2 victory.
The men’s ’B’ also had better starts to matches as Dave Robbins lost the opener to Lee Charville in just three legs. Stuart Kendrick, man of the match in the previous outing away to Derbyshire, cancelled out Bedfordshire’s lead with a neat 3-1 victory over Tim O’Shea, only to see Roy Rutter out in a close five legs affair with Paul Orchard to put the visitor’s noses in front again.
Alan Cockayne kept the Midlands side in the match with his 3-0 win against Steve Mace, the scoreline not reflecting exactly how close the encounter actually was. Game number looked as if West Midlands were going to take the lead for the first time when Eddie Price opened up a 2-0 lead over Damien Kidd, but Kidd hung on to his task and also the fact that Price missed out on his doubles in the fourth leg and went on to win 3-2. Going into the break Lee Poulton (Bedfordshire) moved the scoreline along to 4-2 in favour of the away team when with a 3-1 result accounted for Joe Biggs.
The match then saw a complete turn around, certainly a game of two halves. Mick Noakes began the comeback with a 3-1 win over Mick Carbin and was followed by a straight legs win from Frank Johnson against Don King to bring the running total to an even four each. For the first time West Midlands went into the lead as Adrian Arnold (25.91) took the man of the match award with his 3-0 win against Colin Hill.
Stuart Walton appeared to be well on his way to taking the score along to five each when he took the first two legs off Peter Wyse. Undeterred Wyse clawed his way back into the game winning the third leg with double five after 19 darts, the next in 16 darts with double two to force a deciding leg. Despite having darts advantage Wyse fell behind in the decider and it was Walton who was first to a finishing double. It was at this point that Wyse pulled out a tremendous 144 checkout to clinch a 3-2 win and extend his teams lead to 6-4 with two to play.
Barry Foster (Bedfordshire) put the pressure on the last two players when he beat Dave Pugh 3-1, the last two being West Midlands veteran Jack Routledge and for the away side Bob Tuthill. Jack drew first blood as he began with 3x100 and a 140 to win the first leg in 19 darts on double ten. Tuthill responded in 21 darts, with Jack left nursing a possible 131 outshot. Routledge bounced back with another double ten game shot, this time in 16 darts after scores of 140 and 180. Again Tuthill responded to the challenge a 22 darts leg with a double sevn game shot to take the game to a sudden death decider.
Jack struggled to find the three figure scores hitting just one hundred to his opponents 140 and 139. Tuthill’s had first chance to win the leg but failed allowing Routledge to throw for double twenty. He also missed. Tuthill then wrapped up the issue with another double seven finish for a 3-2 win and in the process earn a 6-6 draw for his team mates.
Sunday’s games began with the hosts trailing 10-8 and it looked as though that was about to get worse. Sara Jukes (West Midlands) after falling behind to Betty Tompkins went 2-1 up then lost the next two legs to finish 3-2 down. Janet Hubbard won the first leg against her Bedfordshire opponent, but like her team mate Jukes ended up losing as Lisa Perkins won the following three legs.
West Midlands first winner came in the third game when Kim Fellows got the better of Sylvia Critcher. Kim won the opening two legs then suffered a setback in the third but won the fourth to win 3-1. Chris Banks levelled the match when she beat Sharon Mitchell in style with a 3-0 margin and with a lady of the match performance from Angie Perry, her fourth consecutive and fifth out of the eight played this season, another 3-0 win, this time Julie Newman on the receiving end and West Midlands were 3-2 up.
West Midlands Kath Jenkins may have outtonned her opponent Paula Clarke by 3x100 to 140 and 100 in the decider but the all important statistic of the 3-1 win went to the Bedfordshire player and a share of the spoils to her team in a 3-3 draw.
It now remained to be seen if an 8-4 win was asking too much of the men’s ‘A’ to earn an overall victory for the weekend. The odds on that got shorter as the match got underway and Wayne Morgan chalked up Bedfordshire’s first win with his 3- 1success against Paddy Johnson. Things looked a little better when Chris Hickman beat Rob Clarke 3-2 and Mick James won 3-0 against Andy Keen, but wins from Trevor Ellacott and Derek Hunt over respective opponents Richie Foster and Viv Gould gave the visitors a 3-2 lead. Taking the match into the break Avatr Singh’s man of the match performance put the scores level at three each. Singh beat Les Beesley 3-1 and he recorded a tremendous 30.22 average, winning his legs in 18, 14 and 18 darts.
Daryl Thorpe began the second half for the home side and gave them a 4-3 lead by winning 3-1against Adam King. Then came the battle of the Ian’s, Ian Jones for the West Midlands and Ian Kent representing Bedfordshire. Kent went into a 2-0 lead, but as ever with Ian Jones never say die attitude he fought back in style. His win in the third leg was in 17 darts, he then produced a great fourteen darts leg hitting 100, 121, 140, 100 and a 40 game shot. The decider could have gone either way, but it was the double ten from Ian Jones that won the game 3-2 and opened up a 5-3 advantage.
Once again the match was squared up as Gary Taylor and Dave Evans lost out to their opposite counterparts Kevin Durrant and Eamonn Lilly (Bedfordshire). A neat 3-0 win over Bill Rhodes by Ian Hartland gave the West Midlands the opportunity to win the match in the final game between Lol Frazer and for the away team Paul Warwick.
A 116 checkout in fifteen darts gave Frazer the first leg. Warwick took the next in sixteen darts, but Frazer got the edge again when he found double top with his nineteenth dart and with only sixteen more darts he wrapped up the tussle to win 7-5 and end the fixture all square at 18-18.
Next month’s column will include the match report for the West Midlands final game of the season away to Northamptonshire.
Congratulations to Midland Red, who with 22 points have won the division one title in the Four Oaks and District League, but it was oh so close as runners up Yenton Exiles also finished on 22 points and were only beaten by a superior average. Barn Social are the second division champions. They won the title by two clear points from Bromford Lions.
In the last week of the season the league played off their various finals. The Sprawson Singles title went to A.James (Midland Red) who beat A.Stainfield (Yenton Exiles) 2-1. The Chairman’s Pairs was won by M and G.Gaughan, again by a 2-1 margin against W.Griffiths and D.Miller.
With a close 5-4 verdict Old Oscott Arrows beat Yenton Exiles in the final of the Brian Goodman Cup, while the Leopard had a convincing 8-1 success over Hardy Spicer to lift the Ken Rust Cup.
The Small Heath League’s Doubles Knockout attracted a tremendous 75% of the league’s players, which is a wonderful turnout. The eventual winners were Arthur Forde and John McCaffrey who represented the Innisfree (Red Devils). Beaten finalists were Darren Brown and Kevin Moloney from the Custard House, while the losing semi finalists were Paul Wilding and John Comer (McVeighs) plus Neil Parsonage and his partner John Hudson from the Gunmakers Arms.
Making their exits in the last eight were, Brendon Lysaght / Trevor Frost (Mitre), Sheila Carter / John Young (Innisfree), John Miley / Martin Cooper (Ward End Ex Service Club), Chris Stokes / Mick O’Sullivan (Victoria 301 Club).
The month of April saw yet again another sad loss to our great sport and that was the death of Harry Thompson. For many, many years Harry was a regular darts player around the Black Country, especially in the Dudley, Gornal and Pensnett areas. He was a top player when I first started to play darts. A man, who was dedicated to darts, loved to win but was always magnanimous in defeat. Harry Thompson was a true gentleman, a credit to the sport of darts and I feel proud to have played alongside him in numerous league teams and cup competitions.