Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time - 1st November 2001
A new BDO Inter Counties Darts Championships season gets underway but it appears the West Midlands are still suffering from their previous seasons problems, namely the inability to put away finishing doubles plus a little more consistency from their ladies teams.
Playing away to Avon (West of England) the ladies ‘B’ got off to a fine start when Janet Hubbard opened up a two leg’s advantage over Jan Ashton. Despite being pegged back to two each Janet went on to win the decider and give West Midlands the early lead. Lynette Pearce drew level against Donna Lewis after losing the first leg but it was Donna who went on to win the game 3-1 and square the match.
Angie Perry produced a lady of the match performance against Emma Grumbach winning in three straight legs with a 16.34 average. However after leading 1-0 and then 2-1 the remaining games all went in the home team’s favour. Sonia Tibbatts and Tracey Stephens both won 3-1 against respective opponents Nell Bryant and Jean Tibbetts, both of whom won their second legs. Audrey Thatcher put the final score at 5-2 for the hosts when she defeated Teresa Johnston 3-0.
Similar to the ladies the men’s ‘B’ won the first encounter. Joe Biggs, playing against Stuart Taylor took just three legs to account for his counterpart. Joe’s team mate Vic Lloyd did not have it quite so easy as he twice trailed against Marcus Knapman but nevertheless hung on in there and came up with a 3-2 success giving the away side a 2-0 cushion.
Fred Parsons was always struggling against Avon’s man of the match Steve Brown (27.28). Brown went 2-0 up in 19 and 17 darts before Fred made his mark on the match when he won the third leg. He only delayed what proved to be the inevitable as Brown clinched a 3-1 victory with a fifteen darts leg in the fourth game. Carrying on from where Brown left off Steve Looker stormed into a 2-0 lead against Roger Kinsella. Although Kinsella fought back to level terms it was his opponent who won the deciding fifth leg and level the scoreline at two each.
Long time West Midlands servant Ron Johnson restored their lead. Twice he had his nose in front only to see Mike Dinham cancel his advantage on both occasions. However, in the decisive fifth leg it was Johnson who got the all-important double ten for a 3-2 win. Rounding off the first half was Martin Tibbetts, unlike Johnson Tibbetts twice had to come from behind, but similar to his team mate he claimed his victory in the last leg to give the West Midlands a 4-2 lead a the break.
A man of the match performance from Paddy Johnson saw him beat Paul Christmas in three straight legs with a 26.84 average extending West Midlands lead to 5-2. The next game saw Paul Johnson guarantee at least a share of the points when he won 3-1 against Terry Gurney. At this stage the ‘B’ side looked odds on certainties for a win in this their opening game. However, very rarely in darts are there any real certainties and this proved to be the case on this occasion.
John Price defeated Peter Hadley 3-0, winning his second leg with a superb 150 checkout to keep Avon in the match at 3-6. Then Tim Oxenham, despite being pegged back to level terms twice by Frank Johnson reduced the arrears even further for the hosts to 6-4.
In the penultimate encounter Jerry Abbott handed his team the lifeline they required when he won 3-0 against Bill Hadley, giving team mate Mike O’Neill the chance to square the match in the final game. It appeared that O’Neill was not going to be able to take advantage of the opportunity Abbott had given him when his opponent Jamie Parsons was first to a double in the first leg. But despite two more visits to the oche he failed to finish and O’Neill won the leg on double twenty. The following leg was a similar story, Parsons missed the bull off a 121 outshot and O’Neill, with a 106 finish went two up. Parsons did manage to check out in the third leg and reduce the deficit to 2-1 only to see the Avon man find double twenty with his twenty second dart to clinch a 3-1 win and give his team an unexpected share of the spoils.
Once again it was not a good day for the ladies ‘A’ who now have gone twelve games without a wi, their last victory coming in March 2000 when the won 4-2 away to Berkshire. As reported many, many times before finishing doubles have lost the West Midlands ladies far too many games and this was the story yet again.
Sue Smith and Claire Downing pushed their opponents Rachel Ford and Lynne John all the way, but despite their efforts they both finished on the wrong side of a 3-2 result. Ann Jones lost 3-0 to Louise Perry, but had chances a doubles in the last two legs.
Gill Cook who won five of last seasons match awards was on target again when she beat Joy Toghill 3-1, her 17.69 average giving her the award once again. Unfortunately it was then back to as you were with the home side taking command this time through Sue Smith who with her 3-0 win over Teresa Johnston gave Avon their winning margin of 4-1. Making it 5-1 was Tracey Stephens, she needed all five legs to record her win as Claire Hobbs twice came from behind and was extremely unlucky when she missed her doubles in the fifth and final leg.
The men’s ‘A’ began brightly when Mangal Singh gave them first blood with his 3-2 victory over Kevan Feltham. Man of the match Tom Aldridge (28.83) made it 2-0 when he added his 3-2 success against Stuart Bennett, sealing his win with a 136 checkout in the final leg. That really wrapped up the West Midlands highlights of the first half as Jonathan Platt, after leading 1-0 lost 3-1 to Mark Dudbridge and Ian Jones who won his second leg, went down 3-1 to Darren Roger. Steve Brindley looked as though he would stop the rot when he twice took the lead over Paul Davis, but again it was to no avail as Davis with 180,123 and 100 won the decider in 16 darts. Rounding off the first half George Turnbull pushed the scoreline along to 4-2 in Avon’s favour when accounted for Colin Davis in just three legs.
The second session began as the first with the away side taking control. Mick James won 3-2 against Steve Looker then Avtar Singh, with a 3-1 score beat Mike Johnson and when Nick Walters won 3-1 in his tie with Dennis Rudman, West Midlands had turned around a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 lead.
Avon’s Mike Knapman had to fight all the way for his 3-2 win over Ian Hartland after Hartland had twice gone in front. Mark Christmas had a 3-1 verdict against Steve Penwright to put the home team within an ace of victory. Anchor man Graham Hunt was leading Gary Taylor 1-0, trailing 2-1 and won 3-2 to give the Avon men a hard fought 7-5 win and an overall 22-14 success for the hosts.
On the local front congratulations to Three Horse Shoes who have won group one of the Sheldon Summer League finishing on 15 points, just one ahead of runners up Stechford Social. Sheldon Heath Social Dukes won group two again by only one point, Brook Meadow in second place. Group three was a really close affair with only average separating the top three teams. Shard End Social Club with 47 legs for won the group, Dovecote and Hobs Meadow finishing with 45 and 44 legs respectively. British Telecom won group four and Victoria Social group five.
Terry Walton and Karen Clarke won the Mixed Doubles competition with Bill Morris and Sue Deery runners up. During the competition Sue Deery recorded a tremendous 160 checkout.
Sheldon Heath Social Dukes, after beating Hobs Meadow 4-3 in the semi final, won the league’s Mrs F. Richaman Trophy beating Stechford Social by the same margin in the final. Stechford won their last four tie against the Iron Horse 6-1.
In the Small Heath Summer League the Delegates Knockout was split into three groups. Kevin Maloney (Custard House ‘A’) won group one with Saltley Flights Mick Nunn runner up. The group two title went to Terry Webster from Custard House ‘B’, he beat Dave Brown (Custard House ‘A’) in the final game. Taking the group three title was Saltley Flights Terry Walton with yet another Custard House representative getting in on the act as Darren Brown from the ‘A’ team lost in the final.
The league’s Ladies Knockout final was an all Red Hill affair in which Gloria Lightwood defeated Jean Forde. Tina Bullock (Montgomerys0 and Sue Hanlon (Custard House ‘B’) were losing semi finalists.
The Custard House ‘B’ with a 7-2 result beat the Red Hill in the final of the Wooden Spoon.
It appears that everything stops for England football games, including darts exhibitions. The Ace of Clubs and Gulp Charity teams were to stage an exhibition at the Cottage of Content, Bidford on Avon, but all too late it was discovered that it fell on the night of the England versus Germany match. The result was that the opposition all decided to watch the match and the charity teams were left without any opposition.
The decision was that they would stage a knockout between themselves, but would watch the football match first. They saw the match, played the first round of the knockout and decided tey would call it a day. Nevertheless the two teams still managed to raise a fabulous amount of £166 from an exhibition that never was. The money was donated to the Bidford on Avon Youth Organisation.