Alan Towe - A Look Back In Time - 1st October 2006
It is with deep regret this month I write an article about an old friend and long acquaintance, the late John Westwood from Pensnett, West Midlands. John was a man who defied all the odds by successfully playing darts despite being registered as blind. At the age of 59 John sadly passed away following a massive heart attack.
Some eighteen years ago I worked with John’s wife Nita and although she has suffered a tremendous loss she kindly sent me the following details about John’s life and darts history.
In 1968 on his 21st birthday, John had operations on both eyes. He then had another operation in 1977. In 1986 John was declared blind in one eye and partially blind in the other. Not deterred John carried on playing his beloved darts.
He began playing at the age of fifteen and won his first league averages the following year. He represented Worcestershire in the Inter Counties Championships and together with his brother in law, Bill Kelly, won many of the local league doubles competitions as well as numerous individual events.
John was a truly remarkable person, well known and well respected throughout the darts circuit. Two local leagues are currently in the process of organising a memorial trophy, which will be played for annually. The proceeds from the knockout are to be used to buy a commemorative bench.
I could go on to fill this month’s column with John’s achievements, but that is not necessary as everyone who knew him knew how successful he was and what a great person he was.
Quite fittingly Nita ended her letter saying “John will leave a massive hole in Carl and my life, as a dad and husband, but he’ll also be sadly missed on the darts circuit for just being John”.
Three wins in week five of the Brook Meadow Individual League as seen Ian McFarlane take over pole position. In his first match Ian beat Warren Rudd 2-1hitting eight tons or more in the process. He won both of his other games 3-0. Terry Blakemore was Ian’s next opponent, Ian again finding the three figure scores relatively easy as he chalked up 180,2x140,125 and 3x100. He followed that with scores of 170,2x140,5x100 plus a 15 darts leg against Bill Cadby. Ian now has total points of 46, two more than previous champion Mark Birch who lies in second place. However, the season has only just got underway and there is a long way to the winning post.
In the G.U.L.P. Charity League Bromford gained a vital 4-3 away win over Barmy Army, which effectively takes Barmy Army out of contention for the title and also rules out an thoughts they had of being the first team to successfully defend the title.
Bromford then had to take on the Tigers in a top of the table clash, which proved to be a high scoring affair. The home side, Bromford moved to within one leg of victory after going 3-1 up, but the Tigers fought back to take the 4-3 win on a last game decider. Top shots came from C.Farrington 180 anf C.Wyatt 180 plus a 160 break.
Barmy Army stay in third place beating Red Devils 5-2, the Devils hanging on to the number one spot in the shadow league. The Lions have moved back into contention for the shadow league title after winning 6-1 at home to the Sharks.
A 7-2 win by Midland Red at Bartley Green F.C. and an 8-1 success by Smethwick Labour Club against bottom
of the table Quinton Members Club Flights has put Red’s and the Smethwick club level on all aspects, wins, average and points at the top of division one of the Harborne and District 401 Summer League. P.Brotherton was in top scoring form for Midland Red as he chalked up two maximums, while K.Pemberton recorded a 160 break for the football club. C.Singleton hit a 180 for Quinton Members Club Flights.
The George, who can still mathematically win the title, beat Quinton Members Club 7-2, M.Tonks and M.Lyden both hit 180’s.
With fixtures running out there were wins for the top two teams in division one of the Pip Club League, leaders Dolphin winning 7-1 at home to Royal Oak and Red Lion ’A’ having a 5-1 success at the Three Horse Shoes. Both teams are on 20 points, with only average separating them.
In the second division Hopwas Club, as a result of their bye, have been replaced at pole position by Tamworth Sports Bar, who beat Red Lion ’B’ 5-3. Just one point is the difference between the two teams.
Roll of honour for the West Midlands Super League: Men’s winners Tipton, runners up Wednesbury, Ladies winners Wednesbury, runners up Wednesfield. Men’s singles winner I.Jones, runner up A.Forrester, Ladies winner A.Perry, runner up K.Simpson, Men’s pairs winners P.Wyse / A.Singh, runners up M.Lloyd / S.Pinches Ladies winners S.Jukes / A.Perry, runners up C.Banks / A.Bowen, Men’s averages knockout winner D.Thorpe, runner up I.Jones, Ladiws winner C.Banks, runner up T.Woakes, Men’s overall average winner R.Foster, Ladies winner L.Jennings, Delegates Cup winner I.Jones runner up C.Jones. Men’s Highest Match Average M.Angel 37.11, Ladies L.Jennings 21.47 (2).Men’s most wins M.Rollinson 18, Ladies L.Jennings / C.Banks 18. Men’s Most 180’s I.Jones 8 Ladies T.Johnston 4, Men’s Highest Finish D.Pritchard 167, Ladies K.Fellows 136. Men’s Personality Award V.Lloyd, Ladies J.Davies / C.Hobbs.