Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time - 1st May 2004
The March fixture card for the BDO Inter Counties Championships produced a top of the table clash in division three between third in the table West Midlands and second placed Cornwall, obviously with only two further fixtures remaining the outcome was going to be crucial for both sides.
The weekend did not get off to a good start for West Midlands as Teresa Johnson, winner of four previous match awards got the ball rolling for the hosts. Teresa’s counterpart, Tanya Jenkin won the first leg, Teresa the next two. Then however, finishing let the home player down and Jenkin stepped in to win the following two legs and the game 3-2. West Midlands other Teresa, this time Johnston, was second to the oche facing up to another Teresa, Teresa Light. Teresa Johnston won the opening leg, but her opponent most definitely saw the Light as she won the next three legs to claim a 3-1 win. Annie Lane took the scoreline along to 3-0 with a further 3-1 success against Sue Smith, leaving the West Midlands a mountain to climb. Unfortunately the Midlanders never managed to get their climbing boots on. Caroline Calf, Teresa Brookshaw (Yes another Teresa!!!) and Angie Bird, rattled off 3-0 wins against in turn Jenny Aston, Gill Cook and Debbie Hackett to give Cornwall what must have been a start beyond their wildest dreams, 6-0.
The men’s ‘B’ were looking to extend their six match unbeaten record, which had seen them win four and draw two. The first game again went to Cornwall as Dick Barret beat Frank Johnson 3-2, after Frank had won the first and fourth. Avtar Singh levelled the score coming back from 2-0 down to Billy Collins to snatch a vital 3-2 win. Game three was a topsy turvy encounter as Steve Pearce (Cornwall) won the first, then Mervyn Field took the next two. Pearce bounced back by taking the penultimate leg only to see Field wrap up a 3-2 win in the decider. Fred Parsons (West Midlands) put up a terrific fight against Ian De Rosa to clinch his 3-2 win. Fred won the first with an 85 outshot in 20 darts. De Rosa hit back with an eighteen darts leg, but fell behind again when Fred won the third in a similar 18 darts. The fourth leg could have gone either way as both players threw for a finishing double, but it was the Cornish man who got there first to force a fifth leg. Fred drew on all of his experience in the decider and checked out on 20 as his opponent left himself on double 20.
Fred Parsons had now set up a 3-1 cushion for man of the match Gary Taylor (28.17). Gary went two up in 20 and 15 darts against Tony Turner before Turner gained his one and only win in the third leg, a nineteen darts game. Undeterred Taylor responded with an 18 darts leg and a 95 game shot to win 3-1. Taking the match into the break was Eddie Price (West Midlands) and Dave Collins. Price made short work of his encounter, a 3-0 win with a very creditable 27.84 average, giving the hosts a comfortable 5-1 lead at the halfway mark.
The visitors began the second half with a flurry, Steve Kibble got the fight back underway when he, despite being pegged back to level terms twice by Viv Gould went on to win 3-2. Simon McLeary was next. He won the first against Lee Jones, only to see Jones reverse the advantage to take a 2-1 lead. However, McLeary bounced back with wins in the fourth and fifth for a 3-2 success and reduce the arrears further to 5-3. Cornwall then moved to within one game of the West Midlands when Terry Mills, with a 3-1 result accounted for Alan Cockayne.
So from 5-1 up the Midlanders were now only leading by 5-4. Adrian Arnold was on at number ten. He took advantage of some scrappy finishing by Mike Smith and chalked up a neat 3-0 win to secure at the worst a draw. Veteran Joe Biggs soon showed he was going to be the one to record the magical seventh and winning leg when he took the first leg off Geoff Bazeley in 20 darts and although Bazeley came back with a win in the second, Biggs stuck to his task and went on to win 3-1. Rounding off the match was Brendon Cowen (West Midlands) and Geoffrey Jenkin. Cowen was unable to produce anything like his top form and Jenkin raced to a 3-0 win to put the final score at 7-5 in favour of the home team.
Sunday’s games opened up with the ladies and like their ‘B’ side they did not get the best of starts. Jane Cummings registered a 3-1 win over Janet Hibbard, who unusually was unable to find either the big scores or finishing doubles. Nevertheless, Sara Jukes came to the rescue. Playing against Sue Shepherd, Sara fought back from 1-0 down, went 2-1 up, then was pegged back to level terms and went on to win 3-2 to square the match. Clare Hobbs had a similar fight against Sue Broad as she won the first, lost the next wto and then went on to win 3-2. Kath Jenkins added to the 2-1 lead when she was involved in yet another five legs affair, this time her opponent was Sally Van Evelingen. Twice Kath took the lead and had it taken away by her counterpart, but eventually she got the leg that counted, the fifth and deciding leg to give her a 3-2 win and increase her teams lead to 3-1.
The penultimate game was just what the doctor ordered. Angie Perry produced a lady of the match performace against Nikki Snowden, however, it was not an easy victory. Angie lost the first then won the second. With a 100 and 140 Snowden won the third, but with 2x100’s and 22 darts Angie levelled once again and in the final leg a ton and 24 darts was enough for a 3-2 win and a 20.21 average to give a decisive 4-1 scoreline.
Claire Downing looked promising as she won the first leg of the final encounter against Patsy Fletcher, but the advantage swung round in Fletcher’s favour as she went on to win 3-1 and give a result of 4-2 to the hosts.
Now an 8-4 win was what was required from the men’s ‘A’ side to gain a vital overall victory and with four wins, one draw and only one defeat, that in their opening game of the season away to County Durham was not beyond the realms of possibility.
It was not the start the West Midlands wanted as Ian Hugh, David Light and Steve Pascoe gave Cornwall a storming 3-0 lead. Hugh beat Darren Williams after Williams had opened up what looked like a commanding 2-0 advantage, then Light won 3-1 following a 1-0 deficit to Chris Hickman and to complete the 3-0 success Pascoe also won 3-1 after trailing 1-0 to Richie Foster.
With a 27.83 average and a 3-0 win against David Harris, Ian Hartland (27.83) finally got the home team’s first win. As if inspired by Hartland’s win Ian Jones (25.05), with his usual efficiency followed suit, another 3-0 win in 20, 16 and 24 darts, this time against Steven Thomas and to close the first half Lol Frazer (26.84) with outshots of 32, 131 and 94 defeated Mick Jones and in the process levelled the match at three each.
For the first time in the match West Midlands took the lead as in the curtain raiser for the second half Mick James laid on a man of the match display against Kevin Bray. Mick opened his account with a 17 darts leg and then went two up with a 15 darts game including a 115 checkout. He sealed his 3-0 win with a magnificent 13 darts leg hitting 100, 140, 140 and 105 and clinched his win with first dart on double eight for a terrific 33.40 average.
Jamie Parsons added to the tally with a 3-2 success over Ian Knowles, Jamie having taken the lead twice before securing his win. With a 3-1 victory over Colin Sibley, Paddy Johnson moved the sclore along to 6-3 and with a straight three legs win against Steve Wilson, Dave Evans chalked up the seventh and winning game for the ‘A’ side. All that was needed now was one more win out of the last two games to secure a vital overall victory. Kevin De Rosa (Cornwall) was on at number eleven facing up to Peter Wyse. De Rosa, with a 101checkout won the opening leg, Wyse took the second following up scores of 100, 140, 100 and 53 with a 106 game shot. The away player then went ahead again with a 24 darts game and sealed a 3-1 win in sixteen darts. Terry Webber began in style for Cornwall recording a fourteen darts leg in the opener against John Pountney. All appeared lost when Webber won the second in 23 darts, but Pountney stuck to his task and in 24 and 20 darts drew the game level at two each. With the darts advantage in the decider, Pountney forged ahead and was first to throw at a finishing double. Unfortunately he missed and allowed Webber to check out on double eight for a 3-2 win.
The final score 7-5 to the West Midlands, the overall score a draw. Alas the West Midlands were left pondering a series of “if only’s”. If only the ladies ‘B’could have won just one game, if only the men’s ‘A’ could have won one of the last two games, if only one more of the six defeats that went to a decider had gone in their favour, if only….if only. Let’s hope that at the end of the season we will not have to reflect on the if only’s, but will look forward to next season in division two.
It is with sadness I have to report the sudden and untimely death of one of the West Midlands long and faithful servants, Fred Parsons. At the age of 55 Fred suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after playing in his chosen and beloved sport, darts.
Fred has been a regular West Midlands County and Super League player for many, many years and has helped the County by not only playing, but also by providing them with sponsorship. Fred was a truly dedicated darts player, one that I am pleased to say I have played alongside and against over the years. Playing not only county and super league but also in numerous local league’s he was a man that always wanted to win was honourable in defeat, quick to give praise and credit wherever and whenever it was due.
He was proud man when his son Jamie joined the West Midlands, working his way up through the youth teams to eventually play alongside him in the senior squad.
Fred Parsons was a great sportsman and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
On the local league front, in the Forest of Arden Winter League, the Presidents Cup final turned out to be an all Highwood affair, with Highwood taking Highwood Arrows. The result was an emphatic 8-1 victory for the Arrows, Bob Nixon in fine form with breaks of 152 and 112, a 130 finish and a nine darts game. Bob’s team mate Jim Norris chalked up a maximum, as Jim usually does. For Highwood Nigel Green had a 160 break and a nine darts leg and Chris Grimes hit a 180.
In the Longwood Winter League Dawn Hanslow lifted the ladies singles crown with a final success against Helen Beech. Losing semi finalists were Janet Starling and Sharron Johnson. In the league’s Divisional Cup’s, Dolphin, with a final win over the Globe took the division one title, while the division two result went to Mercian with Queens ‘B’ the runners up. Two Gates Club won the Shadow League Division One Cup and Three Horse the division two title.