Alan Towe's The Line
West Midlands have been unable to emulate the fine start they had to their inaugural season in the top flight of darts in the premier division of the BDO Inter County Championships in which they had two wins, a draw and only one defeat in their opening four games as opposed to three consecutive defeats in the current season the latest of which was away to Hampshire. Saturday’s games saw both the ladies and the men lose, the ladies ‘B’ won just two legs in their first three games as Elizabeth Arnold lost 3-1 to Dawn Simmonds, Jacqueline Maiden went down 3-0 to Maria Agozzino and Kat McLean finished on the wrong side of a 3-1 scoreline against Kelly Palmer. Shellbie Simmons (West Midlands) came from 1-0 down and was pegged back to 2-2 by Pennie Lewis before winning the game 3-2 and taking the match award for her 16.59 average. Shellie’s win however only delayed the home team’s victory as Nikki Stevens added her 3-2 win over Heather Wright to their score to put them 4-1 up. Nikki was made to fight for her win as after winning the first leg Heather Wright won the next two, but with Heather finding finishing doubles hard to come by in the fourth leg Nikki Stevens went on to clinch her win. The final game saw the away team chalk up their second win as Kath Jenkins took the result to 4-2 in Hampshire’s favour when she beat Clare Cheney 3-1. Kevin Harris opened up for the men’s ‘B’ and put the first stripe on the board for the Midlanders with his 4-1 win over David Bonnett, like the first game the next three all went with the first throw advantage Darren Barnes levelling for the hosts with his 4-1 win against Avtar Singh then West Midlands forged ahead again when Neil Pointon won 4-1 against John Large. James Nicholson restored parity in the fourth with his 4-0 win over Danny Coyle before the sequence was broken, Richard North (Hampshire) beating Mark Dyke 4-1 in the fifth. Going into the break Hampshire moved further ahead opening up a 4-2 lead when Linton Hickman added his 4-3 success against Alfie Jacques, Hickman having to come from 1-0 and 3-1 down. As in the first half the first four legs of the second half all went with the first throw advantage Jonathan Platt reducing the arrears for the away team with a 4-0 win over David Coffin, then Nillson Pritchard restored Hampshire’s two game buffer when he beat Steve Gillam 4-1. Shane Price (West Midlands) lost the first two legs to Steve Musson but then won the next two. Musson went 3-2 up in the fifth but with wins in the last two legs Platt sealed a 4-3 win. A 4-0 win over Ben Hollowood saw Mick Street take the home sides lead to 6-4 before Steve Jannaway chalked up the all-important seventh win in the penultimate game when he won a close 4-3 affair against Stephen Jones. The last game of the day produced the West Midlands man of the match as Trevor Brennan won 4-0 against Andy Newcombe in 24,17,15and 15 darts for a 28.23 average to take the final score to 7-5 to Hampshire. It was not a good start for the ladies ‘A’ team as Sue Lowther (Hampshire) beat Kat McLean 3-0 and making it 2-0 for the home team was Joanne Senior who won 3-1 against Debbie Loon. Winner of four match awards last season Sarah Roberts stopped the rot as she got her first award of the current season beating Abi Jurd 3-1 with a 21.35 average. Unfortunately Sarah’s win was West Midlands last as Jane Monaghan and Jo Rolls in turn won 3-2 against Cheryl Alcock and Gemma Barrett and rounding off a 5-1 win for the home team was Tracy North who won 3-0 against Lisa Badger. The honours were shared in the first half of the men’s ‘A’ game with the advantage swaying one way then the other. West Midlands took the early lead as Adam Edgar opened up with a 4-3 win over Mick Savvery. Hampshire then took two in a row with Graham Chalk beating Glen McGrandle 4-1 and Paul Winter winning 4-2 against Paul Wells. Scott Baker’s 4-0 win over Robin Hathaway levelled the score at 2-2 before the visitors took the lead again in the fifth when Gareth Watts won 4-1 against Stephen Phipps. By the midway point of the game it was all square as Mike Gillet made it three each with his 4-1 win over Shaun Carroll. Kevin Bambrick kicked off the second half in style for the West Midlands as he handed out a 4-0 whitewash to Luke Getty with winning legs of 18,18,14 and 15 darts to earn him the man of the match award for a terrific 30.83 average. From 4-3 up the West Midlands stormed into a winning 7-3 lead as Matthew Coleman, Gavin Baker and Ian Jones in turn all won 4-1 against Troy Butler, Mike Symes and Andy Mitchell. The final score was taken to 7-5 when in the last two games of the weekend Chas Barstow beat Matthew Dicken 4-1 ad Gary Stafford won 4-3 against Mark Craddock in what was a very close game. Now with three defeats in as many games West Midands are in desperate need of a win as they lie perilously close to the relegation zone being just four points to the good on next to bottom Cheshire and only six points ahead of bottom team Essex.
Since the Shirley Premier League completed their fixtures with Steve Sidwell proclaimed champion and Phil Thomas runner up, until the new season gets underway the league have been staging various knockouts the first of which was the End of Season Blind Pairs Knockout which was won by Mick Bown and Andy Thomas who defeated Phil Thomas and Derek Harper in the final. In the first of the Open Singles Knockouts Phil Thomas was there once gain and this time he was not the bridesmaid but the winner as he beat Mark Henderson 3-0 in the final. The next Open Singles event saw Mark Gwalchmai take the top prize of £50 with a convincing 4-1 win in the final, Mark Henderson once more the losing finalist.
With all of the domestic fixtures done and dusted the South Birmingham Summer League staged the finals of their Rose Bowl and Edna Meek Memorial Cup. First the Rose Bowl in which group ‘A’ champions C’s Top Guns beat group ‘C’ champions Marlborough Villains 6-3 with Luis Barberan hitting a maximum for the winners. [caption id="attachment_35682" align="aligncenter" width="640"] South Birmingham League Rose Bowl Winners C's Top Guns[/caption] The Edna Meek Memorial Cup was battled out between the bottom two teams in group ‘A’ with the 6-3 result going to next to bottom of the table C’s Hot Shots with bottom team C’s Flights runners up. [caption id="attachment_35683" align="aligncenter" width="640"] South Birmingham League Edna Meek Memorial Cup Winners C's Hot Shots[/caption]
It has been many years since the Four Oaks and District League witnessed a perfect six darts leg of 301 but in the preliminary round of their Brian Goodman Cup B.Linnecor (Boldmere St Mikes) did exactly that. Linnecor broke with 152 and then won the leg with a 149 game shot, a terrific achievement. Linnecor’s win also helped his team to win 5-4 against last season’s losing finalists Golden Hind to take them into the next round.
Having reached the halfway point of season nine the Shirley and District Monday Night League staged its singles knockout at Shirley Legion which attracted an impressive 66 players who produced quality darts throughout the evening. The first of the semi-finals brought together brothers Andy and Chris Thomas representing The Bears with Andy winning the tie to reach the final. The second of the semis matched Highwood team mates Darren Wright and John Buckingham with Darren clinching the win to book his place in the final. Darren Wright hit a maximum in what was a very close final that went to a deciding leg. Both players had shots at finishing doubles to win the game but it was Andy Thomas who eventually found the all-important last double of the night to win the title and the top prize of £80. As runner-up Darren Wright received £30.
The Royal, Coseley staged their annual David Stanford Memorial Knockout and winning the title this year was Ashleigh Wilkinson who beat Rob Noakes in the final. Wilkinson beat Darren Sears in the semis while Noakes won against Stan Feltham. [caption id="attachment_35729" align="aligncenter" width="480"] David Stanford Memorial Knockout - Brenda Stanford (David's Wife), Ash Wilkinson (Winner), Rob Noakes (Runner Up)[/caption] Already the event has raised in excess of £220 with an auction still to be arranged in which a Wolves shirt and a darts shirt are up for grabs. All of the final total will be donated to Compton Hospice.
It was League Cup finals week in the Brierley Hill Monday Night League and in the semis there were mixed results for Dudley Ex Serviceman’s Club as their ‘A’ team beat Bulls Head (Netherton) 5-2 and the ‘B’ side lost 5-4 to Delph Bell. In the final Dudley Ex Serviceman’s Club ‘A’ wrapped up the title with a clear cut 5-0 win over Delph Bell.
By Alan Towe Website: www.alantowedarts.co.uk