Alan Towe’s The Line On Darts – Lancashire v Warwickshire
In their middle of the season fixture in the premier division of the BDO Inter County Championships Warwickshire were quick to recover from their previously somewhat surprising defeat at home to Lincolnshire when they chalked up a superb win away to high riding Lancashire who are second in the table behind leaders Yorkshire.
The ladies ‘B’ with two draws and two defeats were still seeking their first win and getting them off to a flying start was Sue Gulliver who not only beat Amy Eden 3-0 but also clinched the team’s match award with her 20.04 average.
Melanie Hill (Warwickshire) took the first leg off Jo Clements but it was the Lancashire lass who got the 3-1 result to level the game. The pattern of results going with the first throw advantage continued in the third game when Helen Rigg beat Tracey Cunningham 3-1 to put Warwickshire’s noses in front again but once more it was short lived as Sue Corry after trailing 2-1 to Denise Keyte won the last two legs for a close 3-2 win and put the scores level once again this time at 2-2.
Chloe McKivett was Warwickshire penultimate player the sequence of winning games still continuing as she defeated Maria Ronson 3-1 to assure the away team of at the worst a share of the points and still in with a chance of victory.
Anchor player for Warwickshire was Nina Bolt who faced up to Ged Fielding, Nina in double quick time romped to a 3-0 win to give Warwickshire ladies ‘B’ a 4-2 victory their first since March 2016 when they beat Hampshire by the same scoreline.
The men’s ‘B’ like the ladies ‘B’ drew first blood as James Hykin handed out a 4-3 defeat to Chris O’Connor who had gone 2-1 and 3-2 up before losing the deciding leg. The second game also went the full seven legs distance but on this occasion it was the Lancashire man Gary Jackson who got the better of Peter Hughes with the 4-3 result.
Game number three saw the hosts take the lead for the first time when Dave Rawstron won 4-2 against Andrew Foulkes and with a further 4-2 win from Graham Lalor over Mangal Singh after Singh had opened up a 2-0 lead, Lancashire were 3-1 up.
Carl Green stopped the rot for the visitors when he won 4-3 against Chris Proctor and by the halfway mark the scores were level at 3-3 as Prakash Jiwa beat Steve Plummer 4-0 in 18,18,16 and 20 darts giving him a man of the match award winning average of 27.83.
The second half of the game began in similar fashion as the first with Warwickshire winning the first as Simon Power accounted for Dave Bennett with a 4-1 result and then Lancashire won the next when David Place beat Ian McFarlane 4-2 putting the running score at 4-4. For the third time in the game Warwickshire took the lead this time thanks to long serving Tom Ryan who with a 4-1 margin beat Darren Hebb. Despite taking the lead twice against James Marcroft Luke Kennedy was unable to consolidate and go on to win the tie and Marcroft ran out the 4-3 winner.
The score was now standing at 5-5 with just two to play and at number eleven Warwickshire’s Ian Shaw won the first leg against Tony Clarke but then lost the next two, however he stuck to his task and sealed a 4-2 win in 18,24 and 18 darts to leave the result still to be determined by the last two players of the day. Lining up for the home team was Mike Sexton and for the visitors Anthony West and as the opening game was like the ladies ‘B’ so was the final game as West recorded a straight 4-0 win to give Warwickshire the 7-5 result.
Sunday’s games didn’t get off to a good start for the ladies as the opening pair of Donna Pinch and Kerry Bambridge both went down 3-0 to respective opponents Allly Smith and Danni Platt.
The evergreen and trusty Trina Gulliver came to the rescue and reduced the arrears in the third when she beat Gina Jones 3-1 with a lady of the match average of 22.60 but unfortunately this was to be the ‘A’ teams only highlight as Natalie Gilbert lost 3-1 to Sue Cusick and Caroline Pike and Marian Conway both lost 3-0 in turn to Sharon Seed and Debbie Baxter to give the hosts the 5-1 result.
The men’s ‘A’ had been undefeated in their previous four outings but had only been able to record one win and the opening signs didn’t look to encouraging as David Airey (Lancashire) won the first against Mark Strong 4-0 and Robert Rickwood after going 3-1 down added his 4-3 win over Mark Carter to the home teams tally.
Antony Allen stopped the rot with a straight 4-0 win over James Marcroft only to see a 4-3 win from Lee Shewan against Jamie Hughes restore Lancashiere’s two game buffer. It took a man of the match performance from Tom Aldridge to get the away team back on track, Tom beating Dave Adshead 4-1 with winning legs of 19,14,14, and 17 darts to give Tom a tremendous 30.47 average, then by the midway point the scores were levelled as Ted Evetts won 4-3 against Mick Oversby.
Game number seven saw Rob Hawker give Warwickshire the lead for the first time when he won 4-1 against Graham Lalor and Richard Foster made it 5-3 when he accounted for Martin Barratt with a similar 4-1 result. Bob Nixon took the first leg off Martin Atkins only to see Atkins win the next three, nevetheless the experienced Nixon battled on and in 22,23 and 17 darts claimed a 4-3 win to put his team in an unassailble 6-3 lead.
Dave Rawstron went 2-0 and 3-1 down to Simon Power but fought back to snatch a 4-3 win to keep Lancashire in the hunt for a draw only to see those hopes dashed in the very next game as Mark Westgarth took Warwickshire’s lead into a match winning 7-4 with a 4-1 win over Carl Sneyd.
The final game of the weekend went to Lancashire’s Paul Taylor, a 4-0 verdict over Noel Grant to give a final score of 7-5 to Warwickshire and a vital overall win of 19-17 to lift them over Lincolnshire and take over fourth place in the table leaving them just three points short of third placed Cheshire.
Full Results: (Lancashire names first):Men’s ‘A’:- David Airey 4 Mark Strong 0, Robert Rickwood 4 Mark Carter 3, James Marcroft 0 Antony Allen 4, Lee Shewan 4 Jamie Hughes 3, Dave Adshead 1 Tom Aldridge 4, Mick Oversby 3 Ted Evetts 4, Graham Lalor 1 Rob Hawker 4, Martin Barratt 1 Richard Foster 4, Martin Atkins 3 Bob Nixon 4, Dave Rawstron 4 Simon Power 3, Carl Sneyd 1 Mark Westgarth 4, Paul Taylor 4 Noel Grant 0, Men’s ‘B’:- Chris O’Connor 3 James Hykin 4, Gary Jackson 4 Peter Hughes 3, Dave Rawstron 4 Andrew Foulkes 2, Graham Lalor 4 Mangal Singh 2, Chris Proctor 3 Carl Green 4, Steve Plummer 0 Prakash Jiwa 4, Dave bennett 1 Simon Power 4, David Place 4 Ian McFarlane 2, Darren Hebb 1 Tom Ryan 4, James Marcroft 4 Luke kennedy 3, Tony Clarke 2 Ian Shaw 4, Mike Sexton 0 Anthony West 4, Women’s ‘A’:- Ally Smith 3 Donna Pinch 0, Dnni Platt 3 Kerry Bambridge 0, Gina Jones 1 Trina Gulliver 3, Sue Cusick 3 Natalie Gilbert 1, Sharon Seed 3 Caroline Pike 0, Debbie Baxter 3 Marian Conway 0, Women’s ‘B’:- Amy Eden 0 Sue Gulliver 3, Jo Clements 3 Melanie Hill 1, Tracey Cunningham 1 Helen Rigg 3, Sue Corry 3 Denise Keyte 2, Maria Ronson 1 Chloe McKivett 3, Ged Fielding 0 Nina Bolt 3.