Alan Towe’s The Line On Darts – Berkshire v Derbyshire
It’s been almost two years since Derbyshire won a BDO Inter County Championships fixture, in fact the last win was in March 2015 when they were in division two and played at home defeating Berkshire 19-17 and now in their first fixture of 2017 again playing in division two they squared up to Berkshire once more.With both teams desperate for points as they languished near the foot of the table it was expected to be a close but very tense affair.
Rachel Ayres was first on for Derbyshire’s ladied ‘B’ and actually took the lead twice against Amy Smith but eventualy went down 3-2. Berkshhire’s lead was short lived as Alison Shilton chalked up a 3-1 win over Mandy Pawley before Kera Astle (17.68) with a lady of the match performance against Jackie Walford gave Derbyshire the lead for the first time in the game.
Louise Grannell (Berkshire) won the first two legs against Amy Clifton and although Clifton fought back to level terms it was Grannell who got the 3-2 verdict to level the game at two each.
Debbie Connors looked all set to give the hosts the lead again in the fifth when she opened up a 1-0 and then 2-1 lead over Louise Rawson but it was the Derbyshire player who took the final two legs to put her team within one game of victory.
With wins in their previous two outings three in a row was not to be as Berkshire’s Hayley Watts recorded a 3-1 win over Michelle Cunningham to put the final score all square at three each.
The men’s ‘B’ fresh off the back of a 7-5 win over table topping Northamptonshire were quick off the mark as Adam Fern and Loz Barnes in turn won 3-1 against Simon Miles and Simon Purvey, they were followed by Peter Burgoyne who turned in a terrific performance against Roy Barton beating him 3-0 with winning legs in 16,17 and 16 darts for a man of the match winning average of 30.67 to open up a 3-0 lead.
Richard Hughes won the first leg against Stewart McKie and also the fourth but it was McKie who gave Berkshire their first winner with a very close 3-2 result in the fourth game.
The three games buffer was restored for Derbyshire in the fifth game when Richard Hanson recorded a straight 3-0 win over Paul Upson, Hanson starting another three games winning sequence for the away team as he was followed by Andrew Gillott who won 3-2 against Steve Shadwell and Peter Slater with his 3-0 success over Andy Wells taking the score to 6-1 in Derbyshire’s favour.
Andy Sturton pulled one back for the home side in game eight when he won 3-0 against Scott Parkin but the all important winning seventh game was achieved in the ninth when Ben Holmes recorded the vital win in style handing out a 3-0 defeat to Mark Stuart Humphries.
With the game already lost Berkshire gained their third and what turned out to be their final winner when Robert Bowers won 3-2 against Brian Snell, however he was made to fight for his win as Snell came back to level terms after trailing 2-0.
Taking the final score to 9-3 to Derbyshire were Alan Clegg and Adrian Asprey, Clegg beating John Hall 3-2 and Asprey winning 3-1 against Andy Biddle.
In Sunday’s games the ladies ‘A’ and men’s ‘A’ teams were both desperate to record a win something neither had been able to do in the previous four games this season.
After Lauren Jackson (Derbyshire) suffered a 3-1 defeat to Ally Judge in the opening game of the ladies ‘A’ match Terri Bellamy came from 1-0 down to Carole Holroyd to win 3-1 and level the game. Jennifer McCormick made short work of Carol Bowers beating her in three straight legs and in the process winning the match award for her superb 21.17 average.
From a 2-1 lead the advantage was quickly turned around with Berkshire going 4-2 up as Debbie Shadwell beat Dee Fenn 3-1 after Fenn won the first leg and Jo Rolls won 3-0 against Samantha Marshall to leave the result hinging on the final game between Angela Hogan (Berkshire) and Jackie Sweet.
The first leg went to Sweet but she had to fight back to level at 2-2 after Hogan had won the second and third legs. Keeping her cool in the fifth and deciding leg Sweet checked out on 32 with her counterpart still requiring 169 to give Derbyshire ladies ‘A’ a share of the 3-3 result.
The men’s ‘A’ game didn’t begin too well as Paul Self (Berkshire) won 4-0 against Colin Rich but Derbyshire were quick to respond as Lee Stanley levelled with a fine 26.73 average in his 4-2 win over Gary Jones and Darran Sinfield put the visitors noses in front with his 4-3 success against Michael Waterworth.
Andy McNeil-Aitken (Berkshire) was involved in a seven legs affair with Keith Cooper in which he came out the 4-3 winner to level at 2-2 only to see the away team forge ahead again in the fifth when Seam Lambert in yet another seven legs encounter defeated Paul Croucher 4-3, Croucher wining the first and then coming back from 3-1 down to 3-3 before losing.
The game was levelled for a third time in the sixth leg when Berkshire’s Kevin Morley won 4-0 against Ashley Spencer only to see Derbyshire take the lead for a third time in the seventh thanks to a 4-3 win (the fourth seven legs win in the first seven games) from Steven Soar over George McKie.
Game eight brought the score level for a fourth time, the home side’s man of the match Terry Stubbs (27.24) winning 4-1 against Tim Daniels after Daniles had won the first.
Still full of fight the away team went ahead for the fourth time in the ninth as Gary Fenn won 4-3 in a hard fought battle with Paul Hogan.
Now almost without saying the game was leveled in the very next tie as Eddie Simmons won 4-3 (another 4-3 result!!) against Andrew Baker and then for only the second time in the match Berkshire took the lead when Dan Woodcraft added his 4-2 win against Alan Statham to the home team’s tally after he had trailed 2-0.
The final game of the weekend produced the seventh seven leg tussle and the winner of not only the game but also the Derbyshire man of the match award was Rob Wood who in his 4-3 win over Richard Stride had winning legs of 16,15,15 and 17 darts giving him a terrific 29.56 average and also at the same time salvaging a share of the 6-6 result for his team.
The overall result for the weekend was 21-15 to Derbyshire but unfortunately it was not enough to lift them from the foot of the table leaving them six points adrift of their hosts who are next to bottom of the division with 83 points they in turn are another point short of the team just above them Staffordshire. Nevertheless it was a win for Derbyshire, a much needed win to restore confidence into the team and hopefully the beginning of a successful second half to the campaign.
Full Results:Men’s ‘A’: (Berkshire names First):- Paul Self 4 Colin Rich 0, Gary Jones 2 Lee Stanley 4, Michael Waterworth 3 Darran Sinfield 4, Andy McNeil-Aitken 4 Keith Cooper 3, Paul Croucher 3 Sean Lambert 4, Kevin Morley 4 Ashley Spencer 0, George McKie 3 Steven Soar 4, Terry Stubbs 4 Tim Daniels 1, Paul Hogan 3 Gary Fenn 4, Eddie Simmonds 4 Andrew Baker 3, Dan Woodcraft 4 Alan Statham 2, Richard Stride 3 Rob Wood 4, Men’s ‘B’:- Simon Miles 1 Adam Fern 3, Simon Purvey 1 Loz Barnes 3, Roy Barton 0 Peter Burgoyne 3, Stewart McKie 3 Richard Hughes 2, Paul Upson 0 Richard Hanson 3, Steve Shadwell 2 Andrew Gillott 3, Andy Wells 0 Peter Slater 3, Andy Sturton 3 Scott Parkin 0, Mark Stuart Humphries 0 Ben Holmes 3, Robert Bowers 3 Brian Snell 2, John Hall 2 Alan Clegg 3, Andy Biddle 1 Adrian Asprey 3, Women’s ‘A’:- Ally Judge 3 Lauren Jackson 1, Carole Holroyd 1 Terri Bellamy 3, Carol Bowers 0 Jennifer McCormick 3, Debbie Shadwell 3 Dee Fenn 1, Jo Rolls 3 Samantha Marshall 0, Angela Hogan 2 Jackie Sweet 3, Women’s ‘B’:- Amy Smith 3 Rachel Ayres 2, Mandy Pawley 1 Alison Shilton 3, Jackie Walford 0 Kera Astle 3, Louise Grannell 3 Amy Clifton 2, Debbie Connors 2 Louise Rawson, Hayley Watts 3 Michelle Cunningham 1.