Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time - 1st March 2004
I said in last month’s column that the division three tussle between Clwyd and West Midlands in the BDO Inter Counties Championships was vital to both teams as they were both battling for honours in the promotion table and a win was crucial to enforce their challenge.
The ladies ‘B’ got the proceedings underway, the West Midlands getting the best possible start, a lady of the match performance from Sara Jukes (18.33). Sara game with Lot Abley got off to a somewhat slow start as she won the opening leg on 20 game shot. However, the second leg saw Sara produce a tremendous 114 checkout to put her well in command. The third leg could have swung either way, but a double one finish was good enough to clinch a straight legs win for Sara. Who could have been better to increase the visitors lead than Teresa Johnson. Award winner in the previous four fixtures, that is all of the games so far this season. Playing against Marie Cullingworth, Teresa won the first leg. Marie replied by taking the next. Then with two further wins, Teresa made it 2-0. By the halfway stage a draw was assured as Jenny Aston made it 3-0 when she, with a straight 3-0 win defeated Sarah Roberts.
It was the fourth game before the home team recorded their first winner, coming in the shape of Melanie Armitage. Melanie won the opener against Sherry Hubbard quite convincingly; however, she was made to fight for 3-0 win in the following two legs as Sherry pushed her all the way and only fell down on her finishing doubles.
Teresa Johnston put the result beyond Clwyd’s reach when she beat Angie Griffiths 3-1 and although Eluned Wright won the last game against Debbie Hackett by 3-2 the all important 4-2 scoreline was in favour of the West Midlands.
The men’s ‘B’ were looking to protect their unbeaten record, but did not get off to the best of starts. Gary Taylor opened for the away side and was quickly disposed of by Tony Martin with a 3-0 result, Martin averaging 30.06 and taking the h0ome team’s match award. The misery continued in the second encounter when Phil Smith extended the hosts advantage to 2-0 with a 3-1 success against Viv Gould.
West Midlands first winner came in the third match, Mervyn Field having to claw his way back from 2-0 down against Mark Webster to win 3-2. Clwyd were soon back in winning ways as Steve Jones beat an under the weather Bill Hadley 3-0, taking the running score along to 3-1. Despite the early setbacks, by the midway point the match was all square. Avtar Singh had a 3-0 win in which his opponent, Tom Hankin failed to reach a double in any of the legs, and winding up the half Adrian Arnold (25.47) had a similar straight legs win, which also earned him the match award.
For the first time in the match the Midlander’s took the lead in the first game of the second half. Veteran Joe Biggs efficiently accounted for Peter Lewis with a neat 3-0 win. Eddie Price took the score to 5-3 by beating Simon Roberts 3-1 after losing the opening leg. Andy Hopwood (Clwyd) reduced the arrears slightly when he won 3-2 against Alan Cockayne, but from there on in it was West Midlands.
In the tenth game Lee Jones, although twice pegged back to level terms by Billy Stockton, won 3-2 and in the penultimate game Frank Johnson recorded a 3-1 win over Brian Burke. The final game of the day saw another West Midlands long serving player, Fred Parsons. Fred stormed into a 2-0 lead over Steve Gierke, only to see his counterpart battle back to level terms. Nevertheless, Parsons kept his nerve and took the leg and game on double ten, the same double which he denied his opponent a throw at. So the result, 8-4 in favour of the visitors, keeping intact their five match unbeaten run.
In the previous outing the ladies ‘A’ side had chalked up a convincing 6-0 whitewash over Montgomery and Radnor and were hoping for a little more of the same against Clwyd. But the result turned out to be far from that. The home side with wins from Paula Collins, Tricia Bertram and Liz Jones, at the expense of Sara Jukes, Janet Hubbard and Clare Hobbs raced into a 3-0 lead.
A lady of the match performance from Clare Downing (17.01) stopped the rot. However, her victory did not come easy. Sue Murphy won the opening leg after both players had struggled on finishing doubles. Clare then took the following two legs and Sue the fourth to force a decider. It was nip and tuck all the way but Clare just got the edge as she checked on double two with her opponent requiring 48. The final score ended at 4-2 in favour of Clwyd.
The men’s ‘A’ were now in the position whereby they only required five winners for an overall victory, but were also anxious to continue their undefeated run of three games. Andy Rippard did his best to stop both of those things happening when he twice cam from behind against Paddy Johnson (West Midlands) to snatch a 3-2 win. Chris Hickman erased Rippard’s win with a 3-1 success against Les Street and Peter Wyse then put the away side noses in front when he beat Andy McConnell with a similar 3-1 win. Taking the running total along to 3-1 in the Midlanders favour was Darren Williams. Darren lost the opening leg to his namesake Derek Williams. Undeterred Darren won the next two legs. Derek bounced back in the fourth to force a fifth and deciding leg. It was touch and go all the way down to an outshot. Derek required 126, Darren 118, with Darren to throw. Three darts were all he needed as he efficiently despatched his opponent.
Ian Cullingworth was the home side’s second winner taking on Lol Frazer. Frazer was not given any chance to settle down as the home player, with a 110 finish won the first leg in sixteen darts. He then went two up in eighteen darts and sealed his 3-0 win with a maximum and a fifteen darts leg for 31.31 average. The first session was rounded off with a 3-1 win for Dave Evans (West Midlands) over Phil Smith to open up a 4-2 lead for the away team.
Man of the match Richard Foster began the second half for the West Midlands and began it in style. A superb TWELVE darts leg started Richard’s confrontation, hitting 140,140 and 83 then producing a tremendous 138 game shot. He lost the second after fifteen darts, his counterpart, Perry Harley checking out on 105 in eighteen darts. A maximum helped Richard to his second leg, which he won in twenty darts and completed his win in seventeen to average 29.96 and guarantee an overall success.
At this point Clwyd strung together their best run of the match. Mark Pritchard, Tony Martin and Mark Edwards in turn beat Ian Hartland, Ian Jones and John Pountney to bring their team back to level terms at 5-5, with just two to play.
In the penultimate game Mick James added another notch to the West Midlands tally by defeating John Cooper. Mick got a good start when he checked out on 115 in the first leg and 110 in the second. The 7-5 win was completed with a further 3-0 success from Jamie Parsons who accounted for Paul Reilly.
So an overall win of 21-15 for the West Midlands, not just a win but a very important win. Should the Midlands team get promotion, at the end of the season they could look back on this as being one of the most vital wins of the campaign as it has opened up a clear ten points gap between them and their nearest rivals Clwyd. In addition they are now just five points adrift of second placed Cornwall, who they play at home in March and a dozen short of leaders County Durham, with still four more fixtures to play.
The Forest of Arden Winter league men’s singles attracted a superb total of 83 entries and was staged at The Sheldon Heath Social Club together with the ladies event, which had 17 entries.
It was ironical that this season the league secretaries voted on splitting the league into two divisions, (a premier and a first division) and the two winners were both from first division teams.
In the quarter finals Chris Vann (Mackadown Social) recorded two 160 breaks (three over the night) plus an eight darts leg in his defeat of Mick Gorst (Hobs Meadow). Then despite a 150 finish from G.James (Greville Arms) he paved his way to the final with a 2-1 victory.
From the other half of the draw Highwood Arrows representative Jim Norris beat team mate Andy Hutchings and then had a straight 2-0 win against Mick Hussey (Greville Arrows). The final went the full three legs distance with Chris Vann getting the 2-1 verdict.
In the ladies competition first player to book her final place was Maureen Winters from the Hobs Meadow Mixes. Maureen had progressed through the earlier rounds with wins against Sue Comerford (Harvester) and Noreen Harris (Hobs Meadow) to book a final encounter in which she took on Pat Hussey representing the Greville Arrows. Pat had beaten team mate Pat Holmes in the quarter finals and Stephanie Didierserre, another Greville Arrows player, in the semi’s. All three legs were played in the final with Maureen Winters claiming the crown with her close 2-1 result.