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

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

After the first four games in division four of the BDO Inter Counties Championship season West Midlands record read won four, drawn nil, lost nil. Now after seven games the statistics are won four, drawn nil and lost three. Just what has gone wrong? Surely the Midlanders, at this late stage, with only two fixtures remaining are not going to throw away their chance of promotion to division three.

An away game against Northamptonshire was the latest of their seven fixtures and the weekend did not get off to a bad start. Despite Jenny Aston losing the ‘B’ side’s opening game to Teresa Bradford, Claire Hobbs levelled the match with her 3-2 success over Trina Butler, although Trina twice took the lead. Tracey Fowell squared the game again when she beat Jean Tibbetts in three straight legs, only to see Gill Cook (15.49) turn on a lady of the match performance to defeat Sylvia Jones 3-0 and level the match yet again.

The fifth encounter saw the West Midlands take the lead for the first time in the match when Sara Jukes accounted for Denice Evans with a 3-1 scoreline, guaranteeing a draw, but leaving the overall result hinging on the final tie between Lynne King (Northamptonshire) and Debi Hackett. Lynne got off to what appeared to be a winning start racing to a 2-0 lead. However, in the third leg Debi took full advantage of her opponents failure to finish and stepped in with a 32 game shot to keep her in the game.

Debi was first to a double in the penultimate leg and despite giving her counterpart the opportunity to steal the leg and the match eventually checked out on 20 to force a deciding leg. Tension played a big part in both of the lady’s games as they struggled to hit the high scores. Nevertheless the home player slowly opened a small lead and when down to a 60 outshot promptly despatched it to seal her personal 3-2 win and earn a share of the spoils for her team mates.

The men’s ‘B’, proudly boasting a 100% win record, began with a 3-2 win for Mervyn Field over Dave Brockwell. The lead was short lived as Chris Doughty twice pegged back Peter Wyse to win 3-2. Steve Penwright was the man to restore the West Midlands advantage with his clinical 3-0 win over Mick Ward before the home team recorded their best run of the match, two back to back wins from Chris Kuhlman and Mark Hanby at the expense of Avtar Singh and Fred Parsons. Going into the break Adrian Hammersley wiped out Northamptonshire’s lead with a 3-1 victory over Neil Thompson.

What better way to start the second half than with a man of the match performance supplied by Viv Gould. Gould kicked off with a nineteen darts leg against Paul Southgate and then followed that with a terrific thirteen darts leg hitting 140,140,81,100 and finishing on double top. He rounded off his win with a 23 darts leg for a 27.33 average. The lead then swung in Northamptonshire’s direction as Si Almey took out Joe Biggs with a 3-1 score and his team mate, Martin Thompson beat Frank Johnson 3-2 giving the hosts a 5-4 advantage.

Alan Cockayne kept the home team in check when he chalked up a 3-0 win against Shane Hill and with a similar 3-0 success from Paddy Johnson over Andy Fletcher, West Midlands were certain of a draw and in with a chance of victory with one to play.

The first leg of the final game went to Jamie Parsons (West Midlands), but from 1-0 up he quickly went 2-1 down when his opponent, Wayne Deal won the next two legs. Parsons, with four three figure scores and a double one outshot with his sixteenth dart, forced Deal to play a decider. Parsons was unable to find the big scores in the fifth leg, unlike his opposite number who notched 125,140 and 99 to check out on 56 when Jamie was left way back on 204. So the game finished all square at 6-6 and although the Midland team maintained their unbeaten record, did lose their 100% win record.

The ladies ‘A’ side have really found the going tough this season and with two draws and four defeats were still seeking their first win of the campaign. Unfortunately this was not going to be the match in which they registered their first win. West Midlands were on the back foot from the word go as Mandy Ireson handed out a clear cut 3-0 defeat to Angie Perry. Next on for the home team was Karen Roberts who took on Teresa Johnson and beat her 3-1. A similar fate awaited Janet Hubbard and Kath Jenkins as Molisa Jones and Mary Garling pushed Northamptonshire to an unassailable 4-0 lead.

The previous day Gill Cook had earned herself the ‘B’ side’s lady of the match award and her promotion to the ‘A’ team changed nothing as for the second consecutive day she claimed the trophy. Playing against Anita Daly, Gill had to come back from 1-0 down and 2-2 to snatch a hard fought and well deserved 3-2 victory. That however, was the only highlight of the match for the visitors as Gail Fullmore took the home teams tally to 5-1 when she beat Teresa Johnston 3-0 in the last game.

For an overall win the men’s ‘A’ now required a massive 9-3 win. A 3-1 defeat for Mick James in a very close encounter with Jamie Richardson did not help the cause one iota, but Ian Jones showed that the fighting spirit was still evident when he defeated John Harris 3-1 after losing the opening leg. Jones won his legs in 19,19 and 16 darts giving him an award winning 28.98 average. Paddy Johnson added another stripe to the West Midlands tally with a 3-2 win over Ian Evans before Chris Jones made it 2-2 beating Darren Williams 3-2 after Williams had gone 2-1 up.

Once more the away team went ahead, this time thanks to Chris Hickman’s neat 3-0 win against John Elliott, but it was all square at the break when Derek Burnhope (Northamptonshire) beat Richard Foster 3-2 after twice being pegged back to level terms.

The second half got off to a cracking start with John Pountney (West Midlands) winning the opening leg against Curley Connelly with a 120 game shot. Connelly won the second leg only to see Pountney once again record a three figure outshot, this time 105. The fourth leg saw the first throw advantage pay dividends again when Connelly won the leg in 22 darts, he then for the first time in the game broke the sequence and won the decider for a 3-2 verdict. With the next two games shared, Dave Evans winning for the Midlands and Paul Walker for Northamptonshire, the running score was 5-4 to the hosts with three to play.

The remainder of the match turned out to be all one way traffic in favour of the West Midlands. Wins from Martin Tibbetts, Steve James and Ian Hartland against respective opponents Mark Hanby, Mark Robbins and Dick Sharp gave a 7-5 verdict for the away team, but unfortunately not enough for an overall win as the weekends tally was 19-17 to Northamptonshire, West Midlands third such consecutive defeat.

With two fixtures left to play the title now looks as though it could well rest on the final game of the season when the top two teams Gwynedd and West Midlands play each other on the Welsh team’s board.

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).

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