Alan Towe - Yorkshire v Warwickshire
Alan Towe’s The Line On Darts – Yorkshire v Warwickshire
The weekend of the 18th and 19th September 2021 saw the inauguration of the United Kingdom Darts Association’s National Darts League. And what a start to the new season Warwickshire had when they won 20-16 playing away against the mighty Yorkshire. The win was even more significant as this was Warwickshire’s first win on Yorkshire’s board since 1977 when they won 13-11.
The ladies ‘B’ came out fighting with Melanie Jones and Wendy Adams both coming from 1-0 down to respective opponents Michelle Binns and Jayne Conboy.
Tracey Heppinstall momentarily reduced the arrears when she won 3-0 against Caroline Pike but a 3-1 success for Denise Keyte over Marie Tuinstra assured the away side of a share of the spoils. Sharing the points was never going to be enough as Chloe McKivett made it 4-1 with a 3-1 win against Emma Lockwood before the final score was taken to 5-1 with a lady of the match performance form Marian Conway who recorded a straight 3-0 victory over Lyn Horne with an 18.33 average.
The men’s ‘B’ match saw the home side begin with three consecutive wins as Kyle Richardson beat Carl Green 4-1, Jacob Gwynne won 4-0 against Simon Fairbrother and Josh Clough added a 4-1 success over Jack Wareing to put the hosts 3-0 up.
Mark Strong put Warwickshire’s first stripe on the board when he, after going one down when his opponent James Waite checked out on 104, bounced back to go on and win 4-2.
Yorkshire’s three games buffer was restored in the fifth when Simon Birkett accounted for Dave Honey with a 4-1 win after Honey had won the opening leg. Tony Molyneaux was taken to a decider by Mark Carter but won it in fourteen darts to give the home team a somewhat comfortable 5-1 lead at the halfway stage. That lead was extended to 6-1 as Dean Norman came from 1-0 and 2-1 down to Gareth Braham and go on to win 4-2 in the second half opener.
Warwickshire then had their best run of the game as their man of the match Tom Martin beat Paul Toulmin 4-1 in 21,17,17 and 18 darts giving him a 27.35 average. Reducing the deficit even further to 6-3 was Wayne Mynard who with a similar 4-1 result to Martin took out Ady Newsholme.
The all-important seventh win for Yorkshire was chalked up in the tenth when Steve Blower added his 4-2 win over Karl Reynolds after Reynolds had taken a lead of 1-0 and drawn level in the fourth.
Matty Washbrook (Warwickshire) found himself trailing 2-0 to Dave Calvert but stuck to his task and went on to win 4-3 before Craig Gwynne took the final score to 8-4 for the home team with his 4-1 win over Dave Hill in the final game to give an overall score for the day of 9-9.
It was a case of anything the ‘B’ team can do the ‘A’ team can also do as Warwickshire ladies ‘A’ side emulated the 5-1 result of their ‘B’ side.
Sue Gulliver got the proceedings underway with a 3-2 win over Sally Whiting, Whiting winning the first and fourth legs. Angela Jones doubled the lead with her 3-2 success over Paula Burgess after Burgess had come from one down to lead 2-1 with a 112 finish in the second leg.
Assuring the team of at least a draw was lady of the match Natalie Gilbert. Natalie went two up against Rachel Brooks with two 21 darts legs and rounded off her straight legs victory with a superb 118 checkout in 18 darts to give her a tremendous 25.05 average.
Yorkshire got was to be their first and only winner in the penultimate game when Jayne Conboy won 3-1 against Donna Pinch.
In the final game Tammy Montgomery (Warwickshire) won the first leg against Linda Moorhouse and then the second which could easily have gone to either player as both had darts at finishing doubles. There was no such doubt about the third leg as Tammy Montgomery in 18 darts with a superb 146 game shot won 3-0, her counterpart still requiring 144.
The beginning of the men’s ‘A’ match was just the opposite of the ‘B’ game as it was Warwickshire who took the first three games as Prakash Jiwa, after being pegged back to level terms three times by Keith Flint won the final seventh leg in 17 darts. Jamie Atkins was on at number two for the visitors. After going one up in 21 darts Atkins had parity restored as his opponent John Walton won the second in 13 darts. Atkins then forged a 3-1 lead with further winning legs of 18 and 14 darts and although Walton won the fifth in 14 Atkins wrapped up his 4-2 win in 18 earning him the match award for his 29.41 average.
Taking the score along to 3-0 was Saturday’s man of the match Tom Martin, Martin had a comfortable 4-1 win over Mark McGeeney in 17,21,19 and 20.
Carl Wilkinson stopped the rot for the hosts in the fourth when he recorded a straight 4-0 win over Noel Grant before Warwickshire once again chalked up another three consecutive wins.
Nigel Heydon was made to fight all the way for his 4-3 win as Garry Thompson had wins in the first (18 darts), fourth (15 darts) and sixth (18 darts). Despite this Heydon had two 17 darts legs in the second and third, a 13 darts leg in the fifth and won the decider in 19 darts to give him a 29.03 average just short of Atkins man of the match average.
Mark Strong made it 5-1 when he beat Tom Sykes 4-2 and with a similar 4-2 result Steve Hine won against Brian Dawson to guarantee the team of at the worst a draw.
Ironically a draw was what it turned out to be as the last five games all went in Yorkshire’s favour. Ash Taylor beat Tommy Aldridge 4-1, Peter Jacques and Scott Waites in turn won 4-0 against Ian McFarlane and Dean Stewart and the last two games of the day ended with a 4-1 scoreline as Adam Fryer and Martin Atkins won against their respective opponents Ian Shaw and Kevin Dowling.
The final score 20-16 to Warwickshire, a fantastic result for the away side.