Alan Towe’s The Line On Darts – Derbyshire v Northamptonshire
Derbyshire County Darts Organisation may not have finished 2016 on a high in division two of the BDO Inter County Championships but more importantly they didn’t finish on a low in their home tie against high riding and current leaders of the division Northamptonshire.
There were two similarities to their previous outing away to Surrey for the ladies ‘B’ as both games finished with a 4-2 win and the lady of the match on both ocassions was Jennifer McCormick.
Northamptonshire took the opening game as Faye Mason after being pegged back to 1-1 by Amy Clifton went on to win 3-1. Kera Astle cancelled out Mason’s lead when she beat Rebecca Barrow 3-2, Astle going 2-0 up then seeing her lead cancelled out by Barrow but winning the decider in 19 darts.
Jennifer McCormick again was in fine form as she won 3-1 against Amy Chappell with an 18.45 average to earn her her second consecutive match award and put Derbyshire ladies ‘B’ ahead for the first time in the game.
Alison Shilton took the score nicely along to 3-1 with her straight 3-0 win over Heather Thompson and with a further 3-1 win from Louise Rawson against Sandra Simmonds the hosts were in an unassailable 4-1 lead.
The final game went to the visitors as Elisha Evans beat Michelle Cunningham 3-2, going from 1-0 up to 2-1 down before claiming her win.
The men’s ‘B’ were without a win since May 2015 and although they began with a 3-1 win by Colin Rich over John Regan they soon found themselves trailing 3-1 as Phil Coward won 3-2 against David Fritchley after Fritchely had twice taken the lead, Ian Bisland beat Loz Barnes 3-2 after Barnes had opened up a 2-1 lead and Noel Crane added his 3-0 win against Ian Scobbie.
Ashley Spencer reduced the arrears when he won his tie with Chris Kuhlman 3-1 but the away team restored their two games buffer when Stephen Tompkins won 3-0 against Ian Allcock.
Richard Hughes trailed 1-0 to Ian Evans but battled on to win 3-1 and with a similar 3-1 win from another Richard this time Palmer against Andy Tee the score was level at 4-4. Palmer went one up in 20 darts and despite Tee drawing level with a 104 checkout in 21 darts Palmer in 15 and 17 darts won the tie and also the man of the match award for his 27.60 average.
Game number nine saw the home side take the lead for the first time since the winning opener by Colin Rich, Andrew Baker giving his team a 5-4 advantage when he accounted for Shane Prowse with a 3-1 result. Jason Lovell (Northamptonshire) won the first two legs against Peter Burgoyne only to see Burgoyne with a 150 outshot in the third and a win in the fourth take the game to a deciding leg. It was a decider that could easily have gone either way but it was Lovell who got the decisive double to win 3-2.
The penultmate encounter saw Alan Clegg with a 3-2 win over Eddy Smith after Smith had gone 2-0 up, ensure at the worst a share of the points for the home team, then in what was virtually a replay of the eleventh game Scott Parkin beat Chris Doughty 3-2, Doughty losing after going 2-0 up. Parkin’s win gave Derbyshire men’s ‘B’ team a well deserved and long awaited win.
The ladies ‘A’ had been unable to record a point in their opening three fixtures having lost heavily in all of them and it looked as though they were in for another disappointing afternoon when Gail Fullthorpe (Northamptonshire) after having her 2-0 lead cancelled out by Jackie Sweet went on to win 3-2. Lauren Jackson was quick to reply for the hosts, she like team mate Sweet found herself trailing 2-0 when Rebecca Barrow won the first two legs but she recovered to take the following three for her 3-2 win.
The away team went ahead again in the third when another Rebecca, this time Rose won 3-0 against Rachel Ayres and it then took a lady of the match performance from Terri Bellamy to level the game for a second time. Bellamy opened up a 2-0 lead and although her opponent Karen Sheridan won the third it was the home player who won the fourth and the game 3-1 with an award winning average of 19.13.
A draw was secured for Derbyshire when in the penultimate game Samantha Marshall beat Sara Rose 3-1, unfortunately the win was not to be, despite Dee Fenn winning the first leg against Angela Barrow it was Barrow who got the 3-1 verdict to put the result all square at 3-3.
After a draw in their curtain raiser against Hertfordshire the men’s ‘A’ team then lost the next two games, but even a 7-5 defeat in this fixture against Northamptonshire would be enough to give Derbyshire an overall 19-17 victory and at the same time a badly needed confidence booster for a team lying bottom of the table against the team in pole position.
After the first half of the game even a 7-5 defeat was looking very unlikely as Northamptonshire stormed into a 6-0 lead and once again it was the old problem of finishing doubles that could easily have changed that scoreline.
Simon Almey won the first game against Lee Stanley 4-2, Jason Lovell came from 3-1 down against Alan Statham to win 4-3 and Kevin McDine beat Darran Sinfield 4-1 to put the away team 3-0 up.
Richard Hanson (Derbyshire) twice took the lead against Dave Walker and took the game to a deciding seventh leg when he won the sixth but it was Walker who won the final leg for a very close 4-3 victory. Tony Littleton won 4-1 against Peter Slater and Martin Biggs made it 6-0 with his 4-3 win against Steven Soar.
It was game number seven that saw the hosts chalk up their first win, Tim Daniels the man to stop the rot as he went one up with a 100 game shot in the first against Christian Shipley and although Shipley took the next two legs Daniels replied with a 17 darts leg to level at 2-2. Shipley went ahead for a second time with a similar seventeen darts leg but after levelling at 3-3 it was Daniels with an 18 darts leg in the decider who got the 4-3 verdict.
Rob Wood looked all set to reduce the deficit even further when he won the oepning two legs against Ben Goodger, but it was Goodger who won the next four for a 4-2 win and give Northamptonshire a winning 7-1 advantage.
Nigel Daniels had to come from behind twice against Paul Shepherd before he won 4-2 but any remaining faint hopes of an overall win were shattered when in the tenth game Luke Smith beat Adrian Asprey 4-0 to put the visitors 8-2 up.
Two games remaining and it was at this point that Derbyshire strung together their best run of the match as they won the final two games. Sean Lambert with a 114 checkout in his first leg against James Thompson won 4-1 and in the final encounter of the weekend Gary Fenn produced Derbyshire’s best performance. Playing against Stuart Gilmour Fenn lost the first leg in 15 darts, he then took the next three in 17,18 and 20 darts and although he lost the fifth in 20 he won the sixth and the game in sixteen hitting 100,100,140,100, 43 and sealed his 4-2 win with double nine first dart to take the match award for a second successive fixture with a 27.96 average.
As stated in the opening paragraph Derbyshire didn’t finish the year on a low as the 18-18 draw against a team top of the table and with almost double their points, a share of the spoils was no mean feat and it lifted them off the foot of the table up two places above Suffolk and Staffordshire. Hopefully the result will restore the confidence the team had two seasons ago in division two and 2017 will see them move even further away from the relegation zone and who knows with five fixtures to play promotion could still be a possibility.
Full Results:Men’s ‘A’:- Lee Stanley 2 Simon Almey 4, Alan Statham 3 Jason Lovell 4, Darran Sinfield 1 Kevin McDine 4, Richard Hanson 3 Dave Walker 4, Peter Slater 1 Tony Littleton 4, Steven Soar 3 Martin Biggs 4, Tim Daniels 4 Christian Shipley 3, Rob Wood 2 Ben Goodger 4, Nigel Daniels 4 Paul Shepherd 2, Adrian Asprey 0 Luke Smith 4, Sean Lambert 4 James Thompson 1, Gary Fenn 4 Stuart Gilmour 2, Men’s ‘B’:- Colin Rich 3 John Regan 1, David Fritchley 2 Phil Coward 3, Loz Barnes 2 Ian Bisland 3, Ian Scobbie 0 Nigel Crane 3, Ashley Spencer 3 Chris Kuhlman 1, Ian Allcock 0 Stephen Tompkins 3, Richard Hughes 3 Ian Evans 1, Richard Palmer 3 Andy Tee Andrew Baker 3 Shane Prowse 1, peter Burgoyne 2 Jason Lovell 3, Alan Clegg 3 Eddy Smith 2, Scott Parkin 3 Chris Doughty 2, Women’s ‘A’:- Jackie Sweet 2 Gail Fullthorpe 3, Lauren Jackson 3 Rebecca Barrow 2, Rachel Ayres 0 Rebecca Rose 3, Terri Bellamy 3 Karen Sheridan 1, Samantha Marshall 3 Sara Rose 1, Dee Fenn 1 Angela Barrow 3, Women’s ‘B’:- Amy Clifton 1 Faye Mason 3, Kera Astle 3 Rebecca Barrow 2, Jennifer McCormick 3 Amy Chappell 1, Alison Shilton 3 Heather Thompson 0, Louise Rawson 3 Sandra Simmonds 1, Michelle Cunningham 2 Elisha Evans 3.