West Midlands are finding it hard going this season in the Premier Division of the BDO Inter County Championships with just one win and three defeats in their opening four games as opposed to last season when they won two, drew one and only lost one of their first four games.
The latest and middle of the season fixture was a tough away game against reigning champions Yorkshire but it was not a bad start for the ladies ‘B’ side as they finished all square at three each. Sara Mortimer got Yorkshire off on a winning note when she beat Heather Wright 3-2 in a game where the deciding leg could have gone either way as both players had a number of darts at a finishing double.
A lady of the match performance from Sophie Singh levelled the game, Sophie beating Louise Stockings 3- 1. Stockings won the first leg and after Singh had won the second she went ahead with a 110 checkout, then with a 40 game shot in the fourth she confirmed her win and the match award for her 19.95 average.
The hosts went ahead again in the third when Sally Whiting won 3-1 against Kath Jenkins and with a 3-0 win for Anna Gale over Stella Sims they required just one more win for victory.
Shellbie Simmons opened up a 2-0 lead over Marie Tuinistra in the penultimate game and despite being pegged back to 2-2 she won the decider for a 3-2 win.
The outcome of the game now depended on the very last encounter in which Yorkshire’s Linda Moorhouse took on Jacqueline Maiden. The first four legs could easily have gone to either player but saw Moorhouse go two up and Maiden then level at 2-2. The deciding leg saw Jacqueline Maiden check out on 56 with her opponent left nursing 89 to give Maiden a 3-2 win and her team a share of the spoils.
The men’s ‘B’ had won two and lost two in their previous fixtures but they quickly found themselves trailing 4-0 as Jim Gordon beat Shane Price 4-3 after Price had gone 2-0 and 3-1 up. Stephen Blower was pulled back to level terms three times by Alfie Jacques but won the last seventh leg for a close 4-3 win. Paul Moore took the home team’s lead to 3-0 with his straight 4-0 win over Kevin Harris and with a 4-1 success for Simon Birkett against Martin Greenwood West Midlands were facing an uphill task.
Mark Craddock won his opening leg against Ady Newsholme but then lost the next three, nevertheless Craddock stuck to his task and went on to claim a 4-3 victory and with a further 4-2 win from Jonathan Platt over Graham Elvidge it was looking a little better at the halfway stage when Yorkshire’s lead had been reduced to 4-2. Platt actually lost the first leg in 18 darts but then in 14,18 and 19 darts went into a 3-1 lead. Elvidge won the fifth in 18 darts only to see Platt wrap up his win in 16 and the man of the match award for his 29.04 average.
The revival for the Midlanders continued as the second half got underway, Stephen Jones adding his 4-1 win against Darren Layden to their tally to cut the home team’s lead to just one game and with a 4-2 win from Matthew Dicken over Graham Harrison parity was restored at 4-4.
Game number nine saw the home team forge ahead once again this time thanks to a 4-2 win from Tony Molyneux who came from 1-0 and 2-1 down to Gareth Johnston. Taking Yorkshire’s lead to 6-4 was Derek Lumley but he was made to fight for his win as his opponent Mathew Tedstone opened leads of 2-0 and 3-1 before Lumley went on to win 4-3 and put pressure on West Midlands last two players.
Owen Maiden (West Midlands) took a 2-0 lead over Steve Stacey in the penultimate game with finishes of 32 and 110 in 20 and 18 darts. Stacey’s reply was two in a row in 17 and 18 darts and with further checkouts of 32 and 148 Maiden completed his 4-2 win.
Last on for Yorkshire was Michael Ridge and for West Midlands Avtar Singh. With 19 darts legs Singh went two up. Ridge reduced the arrears with a 22 darts leg only to see Singh restore his two legs buffer in 18 darts. Ridge pulled another one back in the fifth but Avtar Singh made it a 4-2 win in the sixth and at the same time a 6-6 draw for his team.
Despite playing away to such worthy opponents West Midlands on the first day of the weekend’s games had held their own and were taking into Sunday’s games an overall very creditable 9-9 scoreline.
The ladies ‘A’ are the only one of the four West Midlands team without a win so far this season and with defeats for the first four players that was not going to change.
Beau Greaves (Yorkshire) with a 3-1 result defeated Cheryl Alcock in the opening game, she was followed with a 3-0 win from Giffy Khaosoi over Debbie Loon to double the lead. A second 3-1 result for the hosts provided by Dee Bateman when she beat Kat McLean took the score to 3-0 and with Rachel Brooks winning 3-0 against Lisa Badger the hosts were in an unassailable 4-0 lead.
With no fewer than sixteen ‘A’ team match awards in the last three seasons Sarah Roberts made it another two this season when she accounted for Paula Burgess with a straight 3-0 win. Sarah produced a terrific 118 game shot in the second leg and went on to average 21.78.
Taking the result to 4-2 and winning the final game for the second successive day was Jacqueline Maiden who beat Courtney Hine 3-1, Hine winning the second leg.
Like the ladies ‘A’ the men’s ‘A’ also had a nightmare start as by the halfway stage they were trailing 5-1. Garry Thompson began a run of five wins for Yorkshire when he beat Matthew Dicken 4-1. A 4-2 win for Ash Taylor over Shane Price doubled the home team’s lead which was taken to 3-0 when Mark Wilson won 4-0 against Kevin Bambrick. Matthew Coleman (West Midlands) took Trevor Burkhill to a deciding leg after falling behind 1-0 and 3-1 but it was Burkhill who got the verdict in the decider for a 4-3 win. Making it five in a row for the home side was Brian Dawson who won 4-0 against Neil Pointon.
Chalking up West Midlands first win and doing it in style was long serving stalwart Ian Jones who kicked off his game against Justin Hobson with a winning seventeen darts leg. Jones then recorded a superb twelve darts leg with scores of 100,140,140 and a 121 outshot. A 110 finish in fifteen darts stretched his lead to 3-0 and he wrapped up his victory in 16 darts for an outstanding 33.40 man of the match winning average.
From 5-1 down Yorkshire stormed into a match winning 8-1 lead as John Walton won 4-0 against Trevor Brennon, in a nip and tuck game Keith Flint won 4-3 against Gavin Baker and, David Copley beat Glen McGrandle 4-1.
Gareth Watts was West Midlands second and what turned out to be their only other winner as he handed out a straight 4-0 defeat to Tony Hull.
The last two games of the day and weekend both finished with 4-2 margins as in turn Yorkshire’s Michael Dawson and James Wilson defeated Mark Craddock and John Morris to take the final score to 10-2 to the home team.
Overall West Midlands suffered their biggest defeat of the season so far 23-13 but despite that held on to their eight placing in the table but only just as they are now on the same 79 points as next to bottom of the table Essex and only seven ahead of bottom team Cheshire with just four more games to play and relegation a real threat.
Congratulations to Warwickshire’s Jamie Hughes and West Midlands player Scott Baker who have both secured a two-year Tour Card after competing at Wigan in the PDC UK Qualifying School.
Tipton based Hughes won on the first day of qualifications beating Jamie Barrowman (5-3 with an 86.7 average), Sean Bell (5-1 with an 88.8 average), John Bryan (5-1 with a 97.0 average), Scott Dale (5-2 and a 95.6 average) before a run of three games with top averages of 109.8, 109.3 and 108.5 against respective opponents Callan Rydz (5-4), Kevin Thomas (5-1), and Dafydd Edwards (5-1). Hughes then recorded a resounding 5-1 win over ex-World finalist Kirk Shepherd to secure his status as a full-time professional for the 2019 and 2020 PDC circuit.
On day two and in his first attempt at Q School Scott Baker was also successful. He began his campaign with confidence boosting 5-0 whitewashes over Mark Esposito and Lorraine Winstanley before beating David Adshead 5-2 with a superb 107.7 average. He then followed up with victories over former Tour Card holders Barrie Bates, Stephen Burton and Jonathan Worsley before a 5-2 success over Lakeside Championship semi-finalist Jim Williams to put him within one win of glory.
A convincing 5-1 triumph over American Danny Lauby, confirmed Baker's status, like Hughes as a full-time professional on the PDC circuit for 2019 and 2020.
The Camp Hill League rounded off their season with a rearranged fixture between league champions White Swan Nomads and Journeys End Lions. From their previous fifteen fixtures the Nomads had lost just one game and that was against Journeys End Lions. Journeys made it a memorable double beating the champions for a second time when they won 4-3. Despite the win Journeys still finished fourth in the table four points short of third placed Tyseley WMC.
The Sedgley and Gornal Tuesday Night League played off the finals of their Knockout Cup and Knockout Trophy and taking the respective titles were Old Bulls Head and Red Cow.
After a respective 4-0 win over Miners (Wollescote) and 41- success against Delph Bell Old Star and Brickmakers Arms ‘A’ made it to the final of the Brierley Hill Friday Night League’s 3 A-Side Knockout.
In the final league champions Brickmakers Arms ‘A’ made it a fantastic double when they beat Old Star 4-3. Brickmakers Arms team consisted of A.Floyd, C.Hart and A.Turley with P.Wakeman, S.Gough and J.Wills making up the Old Star team.
The Stourbridge and District Wednesday Night League staged the finals of their Ladies Singles Knockout and taking the title was Angie Roberts (Wilson Hall) who had a final win over Pat Field (Brickmakers Arms ‘B’).
By Alan Towe