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Article: Alan Towe's The Line Archive

Alan Towe's The Line Archive

The West Midlands campaign in division two of the BDO Inter Counties Championships has not got off to a very good start. With only one of their four teams winning in their journey to Cornwall it was vital that a result was achieved in their first home fixture against Suffolk. Alas it was not to be.

With Chubbs Sports and Social again providing the West Midlands home venue Rose Sanders got the proceedings underway. Rose was unable to get into her rhythm and her opponent Karen Cudmore took the game 3-0. Angie Perry replied for the hosts with a similar straight legs victory over Nadine Leathers, Angie averaging 18.33 which at the end of the day was enough to give her the match award.

Suffolk were quick to respond, Sylvia Rogers beating Sue Smith 3-1 to just nose ahead again. As before the visitors lead was cancelled out, Jean Denton after leading 1-0 and trailing 2-1to Wendy Harden, fought back to earn a 3-2 win. For the third time in the match the away team went in front. This time it was Nicky Doidge’s 3-0 success against Val Arnold that gave them the advantage.

Everything now depended on the final encounter between Teresa Johnston (West Midlands) and Angie Topper. Teresa won the opening leg, Angie the second. Once more the home player gained the lead but that turned out to be the last ray of hope of any possible draw as Topper with two 40 outshots won the game 3-2, Johnston left way back on 157 and 130. The final score 4-2 to Suffolk.

The men’s ‘B’, the only winners in the first fixture were looking to add to that win, unfortunately it all went pear shaped. Peter Evans opened up and went down 3-1 to Ryan Lincoln. The next two players, Jonathon Platt and Alan Bradburn both lost in straight legs to Lee Hammond and Steve Warren respectively. Steve Penwright took his counterpart, Chris Ellis to the wire just losing out in the deciding, again missed finishing doubles proving to be very, very costly.

At 4-0 down Ron Johnson became the first West Midlands player to win the first leg. Johnson won the leg against Paul Sorrell in sixteen darts. However, Sorrell then bounced back with 18-19 and 19 darts winning legs to secure a 3-1 win. Steve Brindley, like Johnson, won the opening leg and again like his team mate lost the following three, Cavan Thake the man to to give Suffolk a 6-0 lead and a clean sweep in the first half.

From 6-0 down presumably things could only get better!! It certainly did not begin that way. William Hadley lost 3-2 to Carl Wilkins, Joe Biggs lost 3-1 to Anthony Green and Alan Cockayne finished on the wrong side of a 3-1 scoreline against David Ling to give the visitors an unassailable 9-0 advantage.

It was game nine before West Midlands got their first strike on the board. It came in the shape of Vic Lloyd. Vic, with a 3-0 result accounted for Stuart Greenhaugh, finishing all three of his legs with a 32 checkout and recording an average of 24.24 which was enough to give him the match award. Billy Mears restored Suffolk’s nine games advantage when he beat Frank Johnson in a five legs affair which saw Johnson come back from 2-0 down.

To wrap up what had been somewhat of a miserable day Martin Tibbetts (West Midlands) squared up to Paul Gardiner. Martin won the first two legs, only to see his opponent, with 20 darts legs level the game. The decider was nip and tuck. Tibbetts had first throw advantage but it was Gardiner who got off to the better start. After missing his double and leaving 40 with his twenty fourth dart, Gardiner opened the door for Tibbetts, who at this stage required 98. Jusyt two darts were all he needed to seal a 3-2 victory, but nevertheless the crushing 10-2 result went to the away team.

Sunday’s ‘A’games also got off to a bad start when the ladies saw their counterparts storm into a 5-0 lead. Janet Cox was opener for the West Midlands, she lost to Ann Daniel 3-0. Next on was Gill Cook. Gill trailed 1-0 to Sandra Page but pulled back and actually went into a 2-1 lead. She then had a chance to win the game, narrowly missing her doubles and then watch her opponent check out on double one. The West Midlands player kept her nose in front all through the deciding leg but it was to no avail as she left double twenty Page won the contest with a 46 finish.

Diane Tolley was unable to repeat the form that earned the match award in the previous outing and finished on the wrong side of a 3-1 scoreline against Tracey Wootton. Frances Allen was another casualty, losing in three legs to Sue Talbot. Allen’s team mate Penny Hooley looked as if she would chalk up the home team’s first win, going within an ace of victory when she won the first two legs against Sharon Hook. Yet again the Suffolk player came good when she fought back to win the next three legs and the game 3-2.

The last tie produced the highlight of the match for the host’s. Dawn Holdcroft was a little unsteady with her doubles, but nevertheless opened up a 2-0 lead. Katrina Reid won the third leg but Dawn tied the game up when she won the fourth leg to seal the Midlanders only win of the day.

With the fixture already lost the men’s ‘A’ were now playing for damage limitation and pride. The match began Suffolk yet again taking command. Lee Harlow defeated Mick James 3-1, then Peter Green beat Gary Taylor 3-2 after Taylor had come back from two down and missed his doubles in the final leg.

At number three was Steve Parkes. He lost the first leg to Lee Topper, levelled in 19 darts and then went ahead in 17. Topper won the fourth to set up a cracking fifth. Steve Parkes responded magnificently scoring 140-100-100-136 to leave himself on 25 after only a dozen darts. He missed his double on his next visit to the oche, but with Topper now down to a finish he made no mistake with his next throw to clinch a 3-2 win. Following Parkes was Tom Aldridge. Tom shared the opening two legs with Paul McKerry. A 12 finish secured the third leg for the Midlands man and he then wrapped up the issue, a 64 game shot after top shots of 100-140 and 137.

To put the home team in front for the first time in the match Tony Walker made short work of his opponent Phil Westwood. Walker needed just three legs to confirm his win and an overall 3-2 lead. Rounding off the first half Suffolk’s Kevin Leathers opened a 2-0 lead over Avtar Singh. Singh, in 17 and 18 darts levelled and despite leaving 60 after only 15 darts in the last leg, was not allowed a throw as Leathers checked out on 116 for a very close 3-2 win.

The visitors began the second half as they did the first. On this occasion it was Andy Honeyman who added a win to their tally. Honeyman, who won the first leg, then lost the next two to Adrian Hammersley checked out on 64 in the decider as Hammersley left double sixteen.

Two wins in a row saw West Midlands forge ahead again. David Platt and Paul Johnson in turn recording 3-1 wins over Al Edwards and Nicky Bloom. Game number ten produced the smartest finishing of the match. Micky Rush won the first two legs with finishes of 101 and 120. Adrian Arnold reduced the arrears with a 121 checkout only to see Rush win the tussle with a 99 outshot to put the running total at five each with two to play and everything to play for.

David Robbins timing could not have been better as he turned on a man of the match performance against Kevin Harris. Robbins went one up in 15 darts. A 101 finish saw him take a 2-0 lead and then he made sure of the win in 16 darts to give him a 30.67 average. Anchorman for the home side was Ian Jones and for the away team Fred Melton. Jones won the first on 25 after Melton had hit 139 to leave double four. The second was a similar affair Jones finishing on 20 as his opposite number scored a ton to leave double thirteen. No argument about the third leg, the West Midlands man following scores of 60-60-100-60 and 100 with a 121 game shot, Melton still requiring 110. Jones win gave the men’s ‘A’ a 7-5 win to stretch their unbeaten to two. However, two games and two defeats means the West Midlands desperately need to get into winning ways and with a little more accuracy and consistency on finishing doubles they could easily do so.

Congratulations go to Shirley Legion who with a 7-2 win at the Robin Hood in their last fixture of the season clinched the Acocks Green Summer League title. With just one defeat in their seventeen-match season Shirley finished two points ahead Bell’s R.Kinsella hit a maximum. of their nearest rivals Tyseley WMC. Brewers Arms and Journeys End both finished on 22 points with the former just getting third place with a better average.

Shirley made it a double when in the final of the league’s knockout cup they whitewashed their opponents Britannia Arrows 9-0.

No fewer than 41 players turned out for the singles competition which was won by John O’Sullivan representing, yet again Shirley Legion. John won the final against Amur Parvez 2-1, yes you guessed, from that same Shirley Legion.

The final of the Knockout Cup in the Harborne and District Summer League was a very close affair with the Red Lion just pipping the Bell Inn to the post with a 5-4 result. Lion’s P.Brotherton had an 11 darts leg in the final and Bell’s R.Kinsella hit a maximum.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. I hope the new millennium will be all that everyone wishes for. Also I would like to thank the West Midlands County and Super League plus all the local leagues for their support and encouragement throughout the last year and look forward to more of the same for the forthcoming year.

Let’s hope the new millennium will bring promotion for the West Midlands and a revival to the sport of darts both locally and nationally.

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