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Article: Alan Towe's The Line

Alan Towe's The Line

This year’s Midland Counties Invitational Open was staged at the idyllic Bridley Moor and Batchley Social Club, Redditch. Class players, men and women, from the surrounding counties turned out chasing the top prizes of £500 and £200 respectively.

Making the last four in the men’s competition were Mark Frost (Staffordshire) who had taken out C.Murphy (Leicestershire) 3-2, Mick Hill (Worcestershire) 3-0, Steve Penwright (West Midlands) 3-2 and Mark Wilson (Nottinghamshire) 3-2 to reach the semi’s. Mark’s opponent in the first of the semi finals was Nottinghamshire’s Tony Pegg. Pegg made his way to the final stages at the expense of Carl Pitches (Leicestershire) 3-0, Dave Walker (Nottinghamshire) 3-2, Stuart Lilley (Leicestershire) 3-2 and Wayne Jones (West Midlands) 3-1.

The best of seven legs semi final got off to a rather slow start. Frost won the opening two games in 27 and 24 darts before both players began to settle down. Pegg then fought back, checking out on double four, leaving his counterpart nursing double eighteen. The match was levelled in the fourth leg when Pegg, in seventeen darts won the encounter, Frost way back on 138. Then for the first time in the match Pegg took the lead. A double ten outshot put him 3-2 up, Frost again unable to reach a finishing double.

After a great recovery Pegg then slipped again. Despite seven visits to the oche he still required 166. Frost meanwhile had worked his way down to double twenty. He made no mistake, levelling the game and forcing a decider.

Tony Pegg had first throw advantage in the seventh leg. After four visits to the board he required 173, Mark Frost was right there with him on 192. Pegg hit 99 to leave 74, Frost applied the pressure by scoring 156 leaving double eighteen. Pegg failed to check out, Frost took full advantage and booked his place in the final.

From the other half of the draw Tom Aldridge (West Midlands) and Kev Tomlinson (Nottinghamshire) emerged. Aldridge had a close 3-2 win in the preliminary round against P.Harvey (Nottinghamshire), but then had a relatively smooth passage to the quarter finals winning 3-1 against L.Saville (Leicestershire), Rob Hemming (Worcestershire) and Neill Birkin (Nottinghamshire). In the last eight Worcestershire’s Mick Marshall provided the opposition. Although the match went to the deciding fifth leg it was Aldridge who won through.

Kev Tomlinson began his challenge with a 3-1 success over M.Bayliss (Worcestershire) and followed that with two 3-2 wins against Ricky Sudale (Leicestershire) and Colin (Zippy) Davies (West Midlands). Drew Smith (Leicestershire) and Paul Brookes (Worcestershire) were 3-1 victims for Tomlinson as he guaranteed himself a place in the last four.

Both players got off to a good start. Tomlinson had first throw and after only fifteen darts was down to 74. Aldridge however with scores of 60-100-95 and 140 was throwing for a 106 finish on his fifth visit to the board and finish was exactly what he did to go 1-0 up. The second leg was another close affair, Tomlinson had top shots of 140 and 2x100, once more leaving a two darts finish, this time 81, after fifteen darts. However, as in the previous leg, Aldridge did not allow his rival a further throw. Two 140’s and a 74 outshot saw Aldridge go two up in seventeen darts. At 2-0 down Tomlinson responded in fine style. He kicked off the third leg with 140-140-100 and with a further 23 then won the leg on double twelve for a sixteen darts game, Aldridge without a throw at 78. The Nottinghamshire man then really turned up the heat hitting 180-140 and 140, missed his finish on 41 but made sure of the leg on double sixteen for a tremendous thirteen darts leg and the equaliser and that was after Aldridge had also hit a maximum with his first throw.

The penultimate leg could have swung either way. Aldridge throwing first missed his chance of taking the leg off a 102 finish, giving Tomlinson another throw at 20 which he accepted with open arms to go 3-2 up. Tom Aldridge should have or at least could have won the decider. After scoring 137 off 157 he then had another set of darts at 20 but again failed allowing Kev Tomlinson to step in with a 74 game shot in 18 darts plus more importantly a 4-2 victory.

The final, like the semi's went the full seven legs distance. Mark Frost got the better start 180-122-97-62 and a double top finish in sixteen darts to go one up. Despite another maximum in the second leg Frost missed his finish and Tomlinson with double ten claimed the leg in nineteen darts. From here on in the pattern was set, whoever had first throw advantage, won the leg. Frost won the third leg in 22 darts, both players hit 2x100 and 140 in the fourth with Kev Tomlinson winning it in 19 darts. Fifteen darts was all that Frost needed to regain the lead. He scored 100-100-123-100 plus a game shot of 78. True to form the Nottinghamshire player drew level, this time in 17 darts to push the match to the seventh leg and bitter end. Tomlinson’s only three figure score was a maximum in comparison to his opponent’s 4x100 which gave him the edge he required to have first shot at a double. Frost wrapped up the leg with a 41 outshot giving him, not only the leg but also, the match 4-3, the title and the £500 first prize.

The ladies tournament was played the best of five legs throughout. Worcestershire provided half of the line up for the semi finals in the shape of Janet Hill and Jackie Jenkins. Fortunately the two players came from separate groups in the draw and so were kept apart in the last four play off. Hill was first on against Leicestershire’s Louise Hathaway. With 3x100 Hill took the opening leg with her twenty fourth dart, Hathaway who had scored 2x100 and 135 had also missed doubles ten and five. She made amends in the second leg, which she won in 24 darts to draw level. Unfortunately for the Leicestershire player the following two legs were as the first, whereby she again missed her doubles and Hill took both to win the match 3-1.

Staffordshire’s Sarah Hall was Jackie Jenkins obstacle to the final, but as it turned out no too much of an obstacle. Sarah was guilty of missing her doubles in the first leg but that proved to be the only chance of winning she had. Jenkins after taking the first leg on 38 romped to a straight legs victory with further wins in 18 and 17 darts to set up an all Worcestershire final.

The darts advantage yet again proved to be decisive, with all of the legs going in favour of the first thrower. Jackie Jenkins took the lead three times before claiming the ladies crown. She went one up in 26 darts, Janet Hill cancelling out the lead in 25 darts. Jackie went ahead again, this time in 23 darts, Janet on this occasion taking a similar 23 arrows to keep in the hunt. In the fifth and final leg Hill left double twenty after 21 darts only to be denied the opportunity of checking out as her team mate decided the issue in 24 darts to win 3-2.

Results:Mens Preliminary Round:- N.Malkin Bye, T.Randell 1 V.Lloyd 3, D.Platt 2 D.Routledge 3, I.Warhurst 2 D.Homer 3, H.Tebble 3 P.Evans 1, Round One:- N.Malkin 1 V.Lloyd 3, D.Routledge 1 D.Homer 3, H.Tebble 2 M.Wilson 3, J.Ainsworth 3 B.Hadley 1, S.Brindley 1 M.Wellings 3, J.Thompson 2 S.Penwright 3, M.Frost 3 C.Murphy 2, N.Fullwell 2 M.Hill3, Round Two:- V.Lloyd 0 D.Homer 3, M.Wilson 3 J.Ainsworth 1, M.Wellings 1 S.Penwright 3, M.Frost 3 M.Hill 0, Round Three:- D.Homer 2 M.Wilson 3, S.Penwright 2 M.Frost 3, Group Two:Preliminary Round:- S.Cheadle 0 R.Hemming 3, N.Peach 0 S.Jones 3, P.Harvey 2 T.Aldridge 3, L.Saville 3 M.Tibbetts 2, G.Fenn 1 N.Birkin 3, Round One:- R.Hemming 1 S.Jones 3, T.Aldridge 3 L.Saville 1, N.Birkin 3 T.Carter 2, S.Roberts 3 T.Ward 1, B.Cox 3 M.Penlington 2, W.Lee 3 P.Spendlove 1, B.Yeomans 0 M.Marshall 3, A.Hammersley 2 E.Hancox 3, Round Two:- R.Hemming 1 T.Aldridge 3, N.Birkin 3 S.Roberts 0, B.Cox 2 W.Lee 3, M.Marshall 3 E.Hancox 2, Round Three:- T.Aldridge 3 N.Birkin 1, W.Lee 2 M.Marshall 3, Group Three:Preliminary Round:- F.Hill 3 T.Jenkins 0, R.Dudley 3 T.Mahony 1 A.Carrington 3 R.Bishop 1, L.Smith 3 G.Taylor 0, E.Leamar 0 K.Cotter 3, Round One:- F.Hill 1 R.Dudley 3, A.Carrington 3 L.Smith 2, K.Cotter 1 W.Jones 3, F.Johnson 0 I.Jones 3, T.Pegg 3 C.Pitches 0, D.Preece 1 D.Walker 3, D.Emery 1 S.Lilley 3, D.King 3 C.Pitcher 1, Round Two:- R.Dudley 3 A.Carrington 1, W.Jones 3 I.Jones 2, T.Pegg 3 D.Walker 2, S.Lilley 3 D.King 1, Round Three:- R.Dudley 0 W.Jones 3, T.Pegg 3 S.Lilley 2, Group Four:Preliminary Round:- M.Bayliss 1 K.Tomlinson 3, J.Palmer 1 R.Sudale 3, C.Fowler 0 L.Capewell 3, C.Cooper 2 C.Davies 3, W.Levars 3 I.Humphries 2, F.Boddy 2 J.Beardsmore 3, Round One:- K.Tomlinson 3 R.Sudale 2, L.Capewell 2 C.Davies 3, W.Levars 3 J.Beardsmore 1, C.Hill 1 D.Smith 3, J.Platt 3 J.Routledge 1, P.Johnson 3 A.Cockayne 0, P.Brookes 3 G.Bennett 1, D.Cox 1 A.Singh 3,Round Two:- K.Tomlinson 3 C.Davies 2, W.Levars 1 D.Smith 3, J.Platt 3 P.Johnson 2, P.Brookes 3 A.Singh 0, Round Three:- K.Tomlinson 3 D.Smith 1, J.Platt 1 P.Brookes 3, Quarter Finals:- M.Wilson 2 M.Frost 3, W.Jones 1 T.Pegg 3, K.Tomlinson 3 P.Brookes 1, T.Aldridge 3 M.Marshall 2, Semi Finals:- M.Frost 4 T.Pegg 3, K.Tomlinson 4 T.Aldridge 2, Final:- M.Frost 4 K.Tomlinson 3. Ladies:Group One:Preliminary Round:- S.Dodd 3 G.Guest 0, M.McEntee 3 Z.Withnall 1, J.Clarke 0 L.Hathaway 3, H.Richards 3 I.Carr 2, B.Murdoch 1 L.Farlam 3, M.Latham 3 D.Fenn 0, M.Osland 1 Z.Edmond 3, B.Sinnett 1 S.Rose 3, V.Byrne 1 J.Johnson 3, Round One:- S.Dodd 3 M.McEntee 0, L.Hathaway 3 H.Richards 1, L.Farlam 1 M.Latham 3, Z.Edmond 0 S.Rose 3, J.Johnson 1 M.Ireson 3, S.Jones 0 J.Hill 3, D.Bell 2 S.Sellars 3, J.Robinson 3 C.Jones 2, Round Two:- S.Dodd 1 L.Hathaway 3, M.Latham 1 S.Rose 3, M.Ireson 1 J.Hill 3, S.Sellars 0 J.Robinson 3, Group Two:Preliminary Round:- L.Aspinall 3 T.Roberts 2, M.Bell 0 S.Hall 3, C.Bywaters 3 H.Tipple 0, K.Leese 3 R.Hoyland 2, B.Buxton 0 G.Fullthorpe 3, J.Felton 3 D.Buckley 1, B.Smith 3 M.Blinco 0, M.Davies 1 D.Tolley 3, J.Jenkins 3 D.Holdcroft 2, B.Powell 3 J.Johnson 1, Round One:- L.Aspinall 0 S.Hall 3, C.Bywaters 0 K.Leese 3, G.Fullthorpe 3 J.Felton 2, B.Smith 3 D.Tolley 0, J.Jenkins 3 B.Powell 1, K.Botham 3 T.Bishop 2, J.Bell 3 K.Staton 1, A.Potter 3 B.Smallwood 0, Round Two:- S.Hall 3 K.Leese 1, G.Fullthorpe 0 B.Smith 3, J.Jenkins 3 K.Botham 2, J.Bell 0 A.Potter 3, Quarter Final:- L.Hathaway 3 S.Rose 2, J.Hill 3 J.Robinson 0, S.Hall 3 B.Smith 1, J.Jenkins 3 A.Potter 0, Semi Finals:- L.Hathaway 1 J.Hill 3, S.Hall 0 J.Jenkins 3, Final:- J.Hill 2 J.Jenkins 3.


On the local league scene it’s congratulations to the Three Horseshoes who with a 3-2 result defeated E.B.A.H.A. in the final of the Denis Houlders Trophy in the Sheldon and District League. Horseshoes had won 5-0 in the semi’s against Great Western and with a close 3-2 verdict Shard End Social lost out to the runners up.

Both K.Moloney (E.B.A.H.A) and J.Sabell (Shard End) had 160 breaks in the semi finals. Horseshoes Craig Hall was named player of the final.


In the Harborne and District Winter League Midland Red with a close 5-4 success over the Bell Inn lifted the Wadsworth Cup. M.James (Bell) taking the man of the final accolade with his nine darts game. The Wadsworth Consolation Cup was won by Red Lion again a 5-4 result. The Brook were the unlucky runners up.


The West Midland Super League have been rounding off their 1998-99 season with various finals, which were staged at the county headquarters Chubbs Sports and Social Club, Wolverhampton. Taking the men’s singles title was seasoned campaigner Steve Parkes (Tipton) who has made a recent return to Super league darts and is certainly making something of an impact. Steve clinched the title with a final success over Blackheath’s Jess Archer. Losing semi-finalists were Mark Wellings and Scott Hicking both representing Bloxwich.

The women’s event was won by Burntwood’s Diane Tolley, Diane lifting the crown by beating team-mate and fellow county player Angie Perry in the final. Losing out in the last four were Gill Cook (Wednesfield) and Jean Denton (Burntwood).

Tolley the teamed up with Hednesfords Penny Hooley in the doubles knockout and doubled her success. Playing against Hednesford duo Frances Allen and Rose Sanders the first leg saw Allen and Hooley both hit 100, Tolley scored a 101 but more importantly checked out on 56 to give her and her partner first blood. Diane turned on the gas in the second leg hitting 140 and 100, Penny 94 and 81, but and again it was the former who finished the leg with a 16 outshot to secure the title by 2-0. Losing semi-finalist were Gill Cook and Angie Perry (Wednesfield) plus Jean Denton and June Clark from Burntwood.

The men’s pairs semi-finals Steve Parkes and Tom Aldridge (Tipton) squared up to another formidable pairing, that of Wayne Jones and Steve James (Wednesfield). As expected the match went to the line, the Tipton pair winning through to the final by the odd leg. In the second of the semi’s it was success again for Tipton as Dave Robbins and Ian Jones accounted for Paul Johnson and Avtar Singh from Bloxwich with a 2-0 result.

In the best of three legs 701 up final the first of the legs went to Parkes and Aldridge, the former shooting out on 108 after Jones and Robbins had left themselves on double five. The Jones Robbins partnership blossomed in the following leg, Jones hitting 125, 140 Robbins 140 and 100 but also double twenty to level the match. The deciding leg was a real thriller. Parkes kicked off with a maximum and after only 18 darts; he and his partner were down to a bull finish. Meanwhile Jones and Robbins were not exactly hanging around with Jones matching his opponents 180 and they having played down to double eighteen after a similar 18 darts. Because of the first throw advantage Jones had first strike at his finishing double and as expected, with a handful of darts Jones did not fail, wrapping up the issue with a 2-1 verdict.

In the league’s Delegates Cup Coseley’s Dave Walker was the surprise winner. Dave produced some good darts throughout the knockout, none better than in the final where he faced Paul Johnson (Bloxwich). In the first leg Dave had top scores of 100 and 140 as Johnson struggled to find a rhythm. Johnson stepped up a gear in the second leg with top shots of 140,100 and 99. However as he left himself on double seven Walker following 2x100 and 123 checked out on 38 to seal his 2-0 victory.

Avtar Singh with a 2-0 result took the averages title, beating Paul Johnson in the final. The women’s title went to Dawn Holdcroft. Dawn beat Frances Allen 2-1 and won the decider in style checking out on 104.

As the West Midlands County prepare for the forthcoming season, it was decided at their recent AGM that Dot Harvey, together with all of her other commitments, would officially take over the County’s Press Officer’s post, vacated by the untimely death of former officer Bill Dawson.

Elected to the position of women’s team manager was Gill Cook and joining the women’s selection committee is Penny Hooley.


It was the turn of south Wales to play hosts for this years Glamorgan versus Midland Counties select annual friendly. The first encounter saw the Midlands take the initiative with a 3-1 win by Neil Birkin (Derbyshire) over Barry Bates. The home side was quick to reply Steve Williams and Neil Lewis Defeating Oxfordshire’s Joe Palmer and Chris Hill from Derbyshire. Vanda Adams extended Glamorgan’s advantage to 3-1 with her 3-2 success over Claire Bywaters before Helen Tipple managed to reduce the deficit with her straight three legs win against Leanne Mansell. A 3-1 win from Andy Thomas (Oxfordshire) over Paul Higgins squared the match at three each. Then for the second time in the match the Midlander’s took the lead. It was Kev Tomlinson’s (Nottinghamshire) 3-1 victory over Tony Bradley that gave the visitors the edge, but as before it did not last long as in the very next game Eric Burden swept aside the challenge of Nottinghamshire’s Allan Bridges, beating him 3-0. Glamorgan got their nose’s in front again thanks to Vicky Bishop’s 3-2 win over Jan Bell. Only to see Louise Hathaway win 3-0 against Sonia Stock to lock the teams again, the running score being 5-5.

The Midland Counties won two of the following men’s three encounters; Drew Smith (Leicestershire) beat Chris Jones 3-1 despite a 146 checkout by Jones in the second leg. Gareth Hurton took just three legs to defeat Leicestershire’s Graham Roberts and then Roberts county team-mate Ricky Sudale won by 3-1 against Dai Caller giving Midlands the 7-6 lead.

Rhianon Thomas kept Glamorgan in the hunt with her three legs success against Melanie Bell, but a 3-1 verdict over Chris Yews by Mary Latham restored the visitors slender lead. At number sixteen for Glamorgan Wayne Davies opened up a commanding 2-0 lead over Andy Thomas, but Thomas fought back in style, winning the last three legs to snatch a 3-2 victory and at the same time put the Midlands within one game of victory. The penultimate encounter was nip and tuck all the way. Phil Mann won the opening leg; the next two went to Leicestershire’s Stuart Lilley. Mann won the fourth to force a deciding leg. It was Lilley who had first strike at a double, but he failed and in stepped Mann to clinch a 3-2 win with a 30 outshot. The result now hinged on the final game. As far as Glamorgan were concerned it could not have been in safer hands than those of Kevin Thomas. Thomas gave his opponent, John Thompson (Nottinghamshire) no chance whatsoever as he won the first leg in 18 darts and followed that with two 14 darts legs including a 177 and a 180 to average a tremendous 32.67. The win by Thomas put the result all level at 9-9, completing a great day of darts.

Sunday’s encounter saw the host’s take a 2-0 lead through Kieron Carter and Alan Potter who both won 3-1 against respective opponents Kev Thomlinson (Nottinghamshire) and Buster Ford (Northamptonshire). Worcestershire’s Colin Fowler reduced the arrears with his 3-2 win over Tim Jones and with West Midlands Diane Tolley adding her 3-1 win against Jackie Jones, the Midlands were back in the game at 2-2. From here on in Glamorgan did not take the lead again until the penultimate game.

Mo Davis gave the away team the 3-2 lead when she won her game against Judith Thomas in three legs. Top finishes of 110 and 144 were the difference between Ian Phillips and Drew Smith, (Leicestershire) as Phillips cancelled out the one game advantage with a 3-2 win. From 3-3 the Select team stormed to a 6-3 lead. Stuart Lilley (Leicestershire), Terry Jenkins (Worcestershire) and Gill Cook (West Midlands) chalked up victories against, in turn Gareth Hughes, Tony Doyle and Babs Aherne. Janine Gough stopped the rot when she beat Louise Hathaway 3-1 that together with John Picton’s and Steve Durnell’s 3-2 successes against Graham Roberts (Leicestershire) and Tom Aldridge (West Midlands) levelled the score yet again.

The next four games were shared. Ricky Sudale (Leicestershire) beat Chris Bailey 3-0, Glamorgan’s Dil Walters had a 3-1 verdict against Helen Tipple, Midlands Jackie Jenkins won 3-2 against Rose Newman and West Midlands Dave Robbins lost out to John Roberts 3-2 to give an 8-8 tally with two to play.

Northamptonshire’s Darren Williams found the finishing doubles hard to come by and allowed Phil Begley to seal a 3-0 win giving the home team a 9-8 lead at a vital point in the match. Last on for Glamorgan was John Butler, for the Midlands, IanJones (West Midlands). Butler twice took the lead; he won the first leg in 20 darts and the third in 24, Jones winning the second in 22. Two 140’s and 100 gave the edge in the fourth leg, which he won on double sixteen with his sixteenth dart. The final leg was a cracker undoubtedly the best of the day. Butler had first throw advantage and kicked off with scores of 60-100-180-95 and 50 to leave 16 after only 15 darts. Jones meanwhile had been scoring 45-180-140- and 96 to leave himself on his favoured double twenty. With no hesitation he planted his first dart in the double bed to secure an overall 9-9 draw, exactly the same as the previous day.

Another four games were played, John Thompson and Ricky Sudale won for the Midlands and Paul Davies and Steve Gillett for Glamorgan.

Glamorgan v Midland Counties (Saturday):Glamorgan names first:Men:6-6:- B.Bates 1 N.Birkin 3, S.Williams 3 J.Palmer 1, N.Lewis 3 C.Hill 2, P.Higgins 1 A.Thomas 3, T.Bradley 1 K.Tomlinson 3, E.Burden 3 A.Bridges 0, C.Jones 1 D.Smith 3, G.Hurton 3 G.Roberts 0, D.Caller 1 R.Sudale 3, W.Davies 2 A.Thomas 3, P.Mann 3 S.Lilley 2, K.Thomas 3 J.Thompson 0, Women:3-3:- V.Adams 3 C.Bywaters 2, L.Mansell 0 H.Tipple3, V.Bishop 3 J.Bell 2, S.Stock 0 L.Hathaway 3, R.Thomas 3 M.Bell 0, C.Yews 1 M.Latham 3, (Sunday):Men:9-7:- K.Carter 3 K.Tomlinson 1, A.Potter 3 B.Ford 1, T.Jones 2 C.Fowler 3, I.Phillips 3 D.Smith 2, G.Hughes 0 S.Lilley 3, T.Doyle 0 T.Jenkins 3, J.Picton 3 G.Roberts 2, S.Durnell 3 T.Aldridge 2, C.Bailey 0 R.Sudale 3, J.Roberts 3 D.Robbins 2, P.Begley 3 D.Williams 0, J.Butler 2 I.Jones 3, S.Berry 2 J.Thompson 3, P.Davies 3 T.Jenkins 1, S.Gillett 3 S.Lilley 1, C.Williams 1 R.Sudale 3, Women:2-4:- J.Jones 1 D.Tolley 3, J.Thomas 0 M.Davis 3, B.Aherne 1 G.Cook 3, J.Gough 3 L.Hathaway 1, D.Walters 3 H.Tipple 1, R.Newman 2 J.Jenkins 3.


Joyce Webster has had a fabulous 1999 so far. For the third consecutive season she has successfully defended the Birmingham Ladies Double Top League title and in the same league together with Vicky Edwards has won the doubles competition. Joyce plays in many leagues and has so far this year been part of teams that have won the Warwickshire Ladies Super League, the Bromsgrove League and the South West Birmingham Clubs Winter League. There as also been cup successes in the various leagues winning the Floss Banner Cup, Hospital Cup and the Benevolent Cup. In addition to this in the South West Birmingham League she won the singles, doubles (with Angie Bourne) and mixed doubles (with Paul James).

I think you will agree that is a pretty impressive list and believe it or not Joyce does all this at the age of 72, long may she continue to play, win and enjoy the sport, as she truly does.


Now to another dedicated player who goes by the name of Tony Blakemore. Tony, known by members of the Sheldon and District Summer League as “ Blakey” has played in the league for many years, league officials believe about eight. Recently Blakey, playing for the Heathway shocked not only his fellow players but also himself when he won his match. You could easily say at this point what’s so surprising about that? Well when you realise that this was actually Blakey’s first win, no not of the season, but his first win EVER in the league then that is why Tony and his team mates were speechless after his dart went into the finishing double.

Well done Tony, who knows perhaps this could be the start of a winning role.


Staying on the local league front congratulations to Midland Red who with a 6-3 victory over Wernley in a re-arranged fixture in the Harborne and District Winter League secured the premier division championship. 9-6 was the margin by which Midland Red defeated the Raven in the final of the league’s Skipp Cup. The Skipp consolation title went to Londonderry who beat Beeches 11-4 in their final

The Irish Centre Four a Side Ladies League has been won by Selly Park with 208 points. Northfield finished as runners up on 181 points. Other placings were Handsworth 171, Sheldon 164, Perry Barr 104, Ward End 100.

The winner of the singles knockout in the Birmingham Ladies Double Top League was Marion Walker who lifted the crown with a final success against Lucy Hart.


Round one of the Bedworth Open Men’s Championship produced a fascinating draw that bought together the Fishermead Social Club, Milton Keynes and the reigning champions Chase Inn, Brownhills. With either team capable of taking this year’s title prospects were high for a top class encounter. The followers of the teams were not disappointed as they witnessed a tremendous battle for the result.

The first two players to the oche were Steve Sherrock (Fishermead) and Joe Biggs. Both players got off to a somewhat shaky start, Biggs not hitting a three figure score in the opening leg. Sherrock, meanwhile hit 100 and 105 which gave him the advantage and the first leg in 26 darts. Biggs had the darts advantage in the second leg but was unable to make it pay. His one and only top shot was in his third throw where he notched a maximum. Sherrock kicked off with 135 and later followed that with 137, together with some steady throws around the 60 mark Sherrock then went on to win the leg and the game in 20 darts to give first blood to the hosts.

The second game was the highlight of the night, for the home team, England captain, Martin Adams and for the visitors Ian Jones. Adams had first throw and scored 60-100-100-100 and 95 to leave 46. Jones was magnificent, down to double twelve in just twelve darts after scores of 60-100-180 and 137. Jones missed doubles twelve, six and three to leave three to work, Adams made sure his opponent would not have another chance as he wrapped up the leg with a 46 checkout in 17 darts. Adams now stepped up a gear hitting 100-140-140 and 57 to put himself on a 64 finish, a finish which he executed to perfection with his next three darts for a 15 darts leg and a 2-0 win. Jones again had put on a brave show with scores of 100-100-60-100 to give him an overall average of 31.77, and he lost 2-0, Adams average 31.31.

Confidence was now riding high for the home team as Paul Warwick stepped up to play Dave Robbins. Warwick with a 41 outshot won the first leg after Robbins had failed on his doubles. That was not the case in the following leg, the Chase man checking out on 16 as Warwick had left double eighteen. 140 and 2x100, as opposed to 2x100 by Robbins, gave the Fishermead player the necessary lead to clinch the leg in 17 darts and the game 2-1 putting the home team in what appeared to be an unbeatable 3-0 lead, needing just one more win to secure an overall victory.

Dean Taylor looked all set to win the opening leg against Tom Aldridge when after fifteen darts he was throwing for 88, Aldridge after the same number of darts was back on 161. Taylor missed his finish and also failed on two further visits to the board. Aldridge had scores of 46 and 59 leaving 56, which with a sigh of relief he finished with his next two darts. The second leg was a similar affair, Taylor this time was down to 25 after fifteen darts, Aldridge required 80. The Milton Keynes man after another six darts was unable to secure the leg and again his opponent did the necessary to wrap up a 2-0 win and keep the Chase in the chase.

David Platt (Chase) found the big scores against Lee Rose but was unable to find his doubles and allowed Rose to win the leg in 24 darts with a 55 finish. The next leg was the complete reverse, Rose with 180-199 and 136 left 25 after only a dozen darts, a further nine darts and he still required double two. Platt, who also by this time had thrown for a double won the leg with a 19 game shot. Both players started the decider with a 100 but it was Platt who hit another couple of tons and was first to a finish. Finish was exactly what he did, an 81 checkout reducing the arrears to 3-2.

In the penultimate game it was the Fishermead player John McConnell who forged ahead of Avtar Singh. Singh levelled the game in 18 darts with an 81 finish to set up another deciding leg. Strangely neither player hit a three figure score in the last leg, McConnell recording no fewer than six shots of 41. With the higher score rate Singh won the tie 2-1 with a 40 finish to bring the running score to three each after the Chase at 3-0 down looked dead and buried.

After six pulsating games the result now hinged on the very last game of the fixture between Tony Moore (Fishermead) and Paul Johnson. Of the two Moore had the two highest scores of the first leg, nevertheless it was Johnson who took the leg in 24 darts. Moore won the following leg after Johnson had muffed his chance of a 2-0 win, thus taking the match to the last possible leg of the encounter. Johnson won the bull for first throw advantage. Despite hitting 83 he soon found himself trailing to scores of 60-100-140 and 100 from Moore and it was Moore who was to throw for 60 to win his game and the match. He hit single twenty, single twenty and by the width of the wire missed double ten giving Johnson a throw at 90. Johnson found treble eighteen with his first dart, missed double eighteen but made no mistake with double nine for a 2-1 win and an overall 4-3 victory for the Chase. They don’t come any closer than that!!

Other highlights from the round saw last seasons runners up the Six in Hand from Gwent lose 5-2 to the Rodbourne Cheney (Wiltshire). The Locomotive ‘A’ from Wisbech recorded a similar victory over the Granville Arms, Nottinghamshire. Erwood Inn (Powys), winners of the competition three years ago progressed to the next round as a result of their away win over the Prince of Wales. There was also success for Bristol teams Royal Archer and Three Crowns who in turn defeated Greaves Social Club, Leamington Spa 6-1 and Wyke Smuggler, Weymouth 4-3.

The Air Balloon Tavern, Bristol, reigning ladies champions won their tie at the Royal Victoria Hotel ‘B’, Weymouth by 6-1. Joining Air Balloon in the next round will be the Bakers Arms from Swindon who beat a very strong Six in Hand team from Gwent 4-3. Bakers Arms also have no less than three teams through in the men’s competition.

Round two of the men’s knockout has paired Rodbourne Cheney with reigning champions Chase, it should be quite a battle.

Full draw for round two: Men: FIXTURES TO BE PLAYED ON OR BEFORE SATURDAY OCTOBER 16:- Walnut Tree (Leamington Spa) v Stockingford Sports Club (Nuneaton), Highfield Social Club ‘B’ (Blackpool) v Halesowen RBL (West Midlands), Royal Archer (Bristol) v Erwood Inn (Powys), White Lion (Fewcott) v Nags Head ‘A’ (Peterborough), Liberal Club ‘A’ (Skegness) v Queens Head (West Midlands), Royal Victoria Hotel ‘A’ (Dorset) v Red Admiral ‘B’ (Birmingham), Barras Social Club ‘A’ (Coventry) v Fosters Arms ‘A’ (Salop), Stopsley WMC (Bedworth) v Stirchley United WMC (Birmingham), Nags Head ‘B’ (Peterborough) v Kibworth WMC ‘A’ (Leicester), Golden Lion ‘A’ (Devon) v Londonderry (West Midlands), Beauford Social Club (Cheltenham) v Park Inn (West Midlands), Post Office Social Club (Milton Keynes) v Five All’s (Cambridgeshire), Bakers Arms ‘B’ (Swindon) v Fosters Arms ‘B’ (Salop), Rodbourne Cheney Social Club (Swindon) v Chase Inn (Staffordshire), Duple Social Club ‘C’ (Blackpool) v Waggon and Horses (West Midlands), Three Horseshoes (Coventry) v White Horse (Walsall), Royal Victoria Hotel ‘B’ (Dorset) v Sun Inn (West Midlands), Hollybush Inn ‘B’ (Crewe) v Rockvilla Social Club (Merseyside), Duple Social Club ‘B’ (Blackpool) v Kingstanding Ex Service Club (Birmingham), Black Horse (Rugby) v Stag Inn (Coventry), Liberal Club ‘B’ (Skegness) v Hailstones ‘A’ (West Midlands), Wyke Smuggler ‘B’ (Weymouth) v Norfolk Arms (West Sussex), Samson and Lion (West Midlands) v Blackcountryman (West Midlands), Golden Lion ‘B’ (Devon) v Bakers Arms ‘A’ (Swindon), Three Crowns (Bristol) v Staffordshire Knot (West Midlands), Locomotive Inn ‘A’ (Wisbech) v Askern Hotel (Doncaster), Plough Inn ‘B’ (Essex) v Kings Cliffe Social Club (Peterborough), Blue Gates Hotel ‘B’ (Birmingham) v Sportsman Social Club (Cambridgeshire), Railway Inn ‘B’ (Cambridgeshire) v Locomotive Inn ‘B’ (Wisbech), Bakers Arms ‘C’(Swindon) v Paddys Bar (Weston Super Mare), Barras Social Club (Coventry) v Rowley Labour Club ‘B’ (West Midlands), Jenny Wren (Wiltshire) v Cosby WMC (Leicester), New Inn ‘B’ (Worcester) v Woodman Inn (West Midlands), West End WMC (Leicester) v Brunswick (West Midlands), Liberal Club (Skegness) v Plough Inn ‘A’ (Essex), Ladies: FIXTURES TO BE PLAYED ON OR BEFORE SATURDAY OCTOBER 30:- Air Balloon Tavern (Bristol) v Erwood Inn (Powys), Golden Lion ‘B’ (Devon) v Bakers Arms (Swindon), Angel Inn (Bicester) v White Horse (Coventry), Royal Victoria Hotel (Dorset) v Bull Inn (Exhall), Rugby Workers Club (Rugby) v Prince of Wales (West Midlands), New Inn (Storr-Worcester) v Fosters Arms (Salop), Liberal Club ‘B’ (Skegness) v Locomotive Inn (Wisbwch), Whitesmith Arms (Gloucester) v Biggleswade Liberal Club (Bedford), Norton Social Club (Worcester) v New Inn (Malvern-Worcester), Boston Shodfriars Social Club (Boston) v Liberal Club (Skegness) or Corby RBL (Northampton), Dove (Milton Keynes ) v Irish Centre (Birmingham).


The Belgrave Sports and Social Club, Tamworth was the setting for the Midlands Area Finals of the BDO Champions Cup. In the first round of the men’s event Buckinghamshire went down 6-3 to Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire beat Bedfordshire 5-4 and Warwickshire with an 8-1 scoreline crushed Hertfordshire. West Midlands had a bye.

In the semi’s West Midlands beat Oxfordshire 6-3 and to set up a local final Warwickshire won 7-2 against Northamptonshire. Going into the next round will be Warwickshire (Coventry Howitzers) who finished as 7-2 winners.

West Midlands made an early exit in the preliminary round of the ladies knockout losing 4-3 to Buckinghamshire. Warwickshire quickly followed them as they lost in the next round, the last four, to Hertfordshire by the same margin. Bedfordshire beat Buckinghamshire by 5-2 to book their final place but then lost by the same score to winners Hertfordshire.


I find it absolutely amazing that a number of Birmingham ladies have been banned from the Bromsgrove Ladies League. Joyce Webster, 73 years young, for numerous years has been a real ambassador for the sport, she is just one of the banned ladies. The silly reason that the Bromsgrove league has given for their decision is that they reckon the ladies are semi professionals. The league base this on the fact that the players all play in the Irish Centre Four a Side Ladies and the Birmingham Ladies Double Top Leagues, which are both sponsored by the Irish Centre, Digbeth. However it is the leagues that are sponsored not the individual ladies and personally I cannot understand how that can make the ladies semi professionals. The vast majority of leagues, mens and womens have sponsors of some kind, does this mean that all players in those leagues are also semi professionals? I don’t think so!!!

Some of the ladies are also members of the Mercury Ladies Charity team. Funding the majority of the expense themselves they travel around the Midlands raising cash for the Give a Child Health Fund. The Sunday Mercury help towards the ladies travelling expenses, again this has also been criticised and classed as a payment for professionalism. Absolutely ridiculous!!!

Many would be darts players just cannot afford to play darts every night and as a result a lot of local leagues have folded due to lack of support. Surely players with the dedication and devotion that Joyce and her team-mates have should be appreciated and welcomed with open arms, not used as a tool to ban them from playing. But are we again looking at a minority of influencial people who are afraid of competition and concerned that it may not be their team that wins the league title? Possibly so!!!

I would be very interested to hear other people’s views on this subject. Perhaps they could even be printed in this column. I’m sorry but I truly believe that it is people with blinkered views, such as those in the Bromsgrove League, that are helping to bring our sport to its knees.


Back in the July edition of Darts World I wrote an article about West Midlands Dot Harvey. In that article I asked the question ‘What does Dot do in her spare time?’ In addition to all the numerous tasks already mentioned, she goes to college each week, works from home in the family business with her husband Rod, writes about the West Midlands in a local paper and also she tells me does the odd bit of upholstery. So now I know!!


I am pleased to say that my connection with Hollybush Aquatics at Shareshill, Nr Wolverhampton, one of the countries biggest and leading garden centres is continuing. Director Tim Porter has confirmed that after seven mutually beneficial years he is to carry on his sponsorship. Earlier in the year Tim announced that for the third consecutive season he would again sponsor the Hare and Hounds in the local Dudley Monday League and supplied the team with new playing shirts.

Every time I visit the Hollybush Centre, which is just off junction 11 of the M6, I just can’t help being amazed at the wide selection and variety of gardening and home products on offer. It is most certainly a place to visit and I personally can recommend the food, it well and truly comes up to the very high standard set by Hollybush.

Once again on behalf of the Hare and Hounds team and myself I would like to thank Tim and his company for helping to keep the sport of darts alive.


In the second Selworthy Knockout proved to be yet another success with Paul Burnham taking the title with a very close win over Alan Blythe in the final. Paul defeated competition host Alan Mayell in his semi, while Alan accounted for Graham Stych.

A big thank you goes to Cath and Alan Mayell for not only staging the event but also for putting on a fabulous barbecue and quiz in the evening.


The new champions of the Sheldon and District League’s Mrs F.Richman Trophy are E.B.A.H.A., who with a 4-3 result defeated Smiths Wood in the final staged at Lea Hall RBL. Losing semi finalists were Shard End Social, who lost 4-3 to the champions and Stechford Social, who by the same scoreline went out to Smiths Wood.


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