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Article: Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time - 1st May 2001

Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time - 1st May 2001

It may well have been a long time coming but it was certainly well worth the wait as West Midlands, in division two of the BDO Inter Counties Championships recorded their first win since the closing day of last season, when in their away game against Cumbria they won 22-17.

Despite the result the weekend fixture at home to Gwent did not get off to the best of starts. Claire Downing opened up for the ladies ‘B’ side but only managed to win one leg as she went down 3-1 to Carol Wilkins. Janet Cox suffered a similar fate as she lost to Shirley Sharp, giving the away team a 2-0 lead.

Game three saw West Midlands chalk up their first winner. Claire Hobbs (16.52) facing Vanessa Lewis romped to a straight 3-0 victory to keep her team in the hunt and at the same time earn herself the lady of the match award. The visitors were quick to respond as Dawn Walker took out Janet Hubbard 3-1 to ensure a least half of the points. It appeared that Sharon Campbell was not satisfied with a share of the spoils as she guaranteed the win in a quick time 3-0 win over Val Arnold. The final game went to the hosts although Frances Allen was made to fight all the way by Myfanwy Jones for her 3-2 success.

The men’s ‘B’ got off to a fine start as Frank Johnson beat Steve Cook 3-1, Fred Parsons came from 2-0 down against Robert Heard to win 3-2 and Ron Johnson with a tremendous 3-0 win over Brian Cook opened up a 3-0 lead. Johnson wrapped up his win with a superb 140 game shot, which not only gave him his win but also a superb 29.47 average, which at the end of the day was enough for the match award.

Roger Kinsella extended the winning sequence to 4-0 when he, with 3-1 scoreline accounted for Ian Clarke. Wayne Brooks broke the run, coming back from one down against Vic Lloyd to win 3-1. However, Joe Biggs pushed the score along to 5-1 when he defeated Anthony Perry in just three legs to end the first half.

Clive Francis opened the second session with a neat 3-0 win over Gary Pickett and a useful 24.24 average before Gwent produced their best run of the match. John Short and Andrew Samuel had 3-1 wins in turn over Paul Johnson and Brian Dolman to reduce the deficit to 6-3. Nevertheless undeterred by this Peter Hadley (24.24) got the West Midlands back on track with fine 3-0 success against Alan Jones and with further wins from Paddy Johnson, 3-1 against Doug Parfitt and Jamie Parsons, 3-2 over Jeremy Madden, the home team finished as worth 9-3 winners.

Sunday’s games again proved to be disappointing for the ladies. Diane Tolley was unlucky as she narrowly lost 3-2 to Jan Robbins. Diane was followed by Claire Hobbs who was unable to keep pace with Michelle Sheppard and finished on the wrong side of a 3-0 result. Sue Smith twice came from behind against Carmen Baines but eventually lost the battle and went down 3-2.

By the fourth game Gwent were firmly in the driving seat and were assured their victory when Linda Rogers-Pickett beat Rose Mycock 3-2 despite a late rally from Rose to square the match after trailing 2-0. The penultimate encounter was where the West Midlands blushes were saved. Gill Cook, lady of the match in the previous two fixtures made it three consecutive successes when she won 3-0 against Sharon Campbell and recorded a 15.49 average. The final score was 5-1 to the visitors, Kerry Benyon winning the last tussle against Ann Jones 3-1.

Both ladies teams have now completed seven of their scheduled nine fixtures and lost all of them apart from one draw by the ‘A’ team when they played away to Suffolk. A little more luck on finishing doubles and the season could well have been a different story, instead of fighting off relegation they could well have been on their way to division one.

A win was now the minimum requirement from the men’s ‘A’ to give an overall victory and with only one such result in the previous six outings the prospect looked dim.

The outlook looked even gloomier when Tom Aldridge lost the opening game 3-2 to Lyndon Gore after twice taking the lead. Mick James looked set for an early bath when he lost the first two legs to Chris Reed. But fortunately Mick fought back to snatch a much-needed 3-2 win. Adrian Arnold and Ian Hartland had 3-1 wins over respective opponents Geoff Dyer and Richard Herbert giving the home team a little breathing space with a 3-1 advantage.

Steve Brindley had the highest average of the day 29.79, but that alone was no enough to defeat his counterpart Peter Johns (28.71) who won the game 3-2 and his team’s man of the match award. This minor setback was soon overcome as Jonathon Platt rounded off the session with a 3-1 win against Paul Mason, taking the Midlanders into a 4-2 lead at the break.

The second half began with a straight defeat for Colin Davies. Andrew Haywood had winning legs of 19-18 and 19 for his 3-0 win and a 26.84 average per dart. Avtar Singh got the hosts back on the winning track with his 3-2 success against Alan Walker. Walker levelled twice but it was Singh who got the all-important fifth and final leg. Gary Taylor was involved in a somewhat topsy turvy affair as David Tancock won the opener, Taylor took the next two legs to go 2-1 up and then the Gwent player checked out on 130 to set up a deciding leg. Both players had chances to win the fifth leg, however, it was Taylor who eventually won it and in the process put the ‘A’ side with an ace of victory and more importantly the match within on leg of an overall win.

At a time like this who better to be walking to the oche than West Midlands “Mr Reliable”, Ian Jones. Although not at his usual high scoring best Jones still did enough to clinch a 3-0 win over Clive Fielding to give his team mates an invaluable win, one that could well confirm their division two status for next season.

Adding another notch to the West Midlands belts was Nick Walters who turned in a man of the match performance against Paul Cosslett. Nick lost the opener as Cosslett checked out in 21darts.With scores of 125-60-135 and 131 Walters left himself on 50. One dart at the bull was all he required, finishing in 13 darts. He then took a 2-1 lead with an 18 darts leg before Cosslett with a similar 18 darts and a 112 game shot levelled the game again. The West Midlands player could not have wished for a better start to the decider when he kicked off with a maximum and followed that with a ton. He left double sixteen after fifteen darts and needed just two more to record his win, Cosslett left without a throw for 84.

The final game went to the away team’s Chris Smart, a 3-1 win over Steve Penwright, but the vital statistic’s of 8-4 to the men’s ‘A’ and 23-16 to the West Midlands overall were all the mattered.

The fight for the runners up spot in the Small Heath Winter could not have been closer. Custard House on 18 points had already wrapped up the title but second place would only be decided in the final fixture of the season. With ten points to the Black Horse’s ten, Sheldon Heath Flights needed to win to finish second to Custard House. However, Sheldon’s match was away to the champions and obviously a tough proposition. Black Horse meanwhile had a what appeared to be a relatively simple task of beating Red Hill who had remained rooted to the foot of the table for the majority of the season with just one win to their name. Black Horse chalked up an emphatic 7-2 win, Sheldon Heath Flights lost 5-4. The outcome, both teams had played ten games, both had won six and lost four. Average, not one point separated them, 49 for and 41 against giving a total of 12 points to each team.

The league now needed to go back one stage further and check the individual wins. Yet again both teams were level on individual legs won, 98. However, the situation was resolved on the number of games, Sheldon Heath Flights had conceded 20 and Black Horse had only lost 15. Phew! That is what you call close.

Congratulations to Dave Shorthouse on retaining his Bass Breweries sponsored Minworth Social Individual League title. With 128 points Dave finished four ahead of his nearest rival Trevor Frost. Further success came to Dave when he teamed up with Derek Mountjoy in the league’s doubles competition. The duo had chalked up convincing wins through to the final, 3-1 against Pat Koyce and Brian Brooks, 4-1 in the quarter finals against Karl Stephens and Tony Pedley and 5-0 when they beat Gary Mills and Paul Burnham in the semi’s. Their final opponents were Steve Davis and Steve Shenton. Playing the best of eleven Shorthouse and Mountjoy won 6-3.

League runner up Trevor Frost won the individual knockout. In the best of 13 legs final Frost accounted for Tony Randell with a 7-4 result, he had previously beaten, Pat Koyce, Steve Cain, Karl Stephens and Steve Davis.

In the Forest of Arden Winter League a 6-3 win over Red Arrows gave the Highwood the Presidents Cup title while the Ladies Doubles crown went to Hobs Meadow representatives Claire barber and Noreen Harris with Jeanette Mulholland and Jane Hall (Red Arrows) runners up.

The Silver Wings pairing of Chris Busby and Jim Gilfoyle took the men’s doubles title, they defeated Paul Richardson and Chris Lucas (Highwood) 2-0 in the final.

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