Alan Towe’s The Line – Derbyshire v Nottinghamshire
Prior to the game Nottinghamshire were sitting pretty at the top of the promotion table with Derbyshire in a mid table position. Ladies ‘B’ award winner Kelly Dean (19.04) got the ball rolling with a 3-2 win over K.Staton. The lead was doubled when Rachel Bird beat E.Dunn in three straight legs. Unfortunately from there on in the situation changed. Nottinghamshire moved up a gear to win the last four games thanks to J.Pipe, M.Bamford, J.Whatmough and K.Henry.
Danny Thomas opened up for the men’s ‘B’ and despite drawing level in the second leg with a tremendous 156 checkout, it was Paul Harvey (Nottinghamshire) who got the 3-1 result. Former Nottingham player Matt Padgett squared up to former Derbyshire player Wayne Pepper in game two and the two super league team mates could not be separated as the encounter went to the wire in the fifth and final leg. Padgett wired double twenty for a 3-2 win and missed allowing Pepper to step in and claim his victory.
At 2-0 down the home side needed to get a win on the board and supplying that win was Pete Slater. Pete lost the first leg to Graham Cook, but fought back in style to clinch a 3-1 win. The following three games all went the full five legs distance, games which could easily have swung either way, unfortunately for the home side they went to Nottinghamshire to give them a 5-1 advantage. Alan Evans playing his 286th county game played some solid darts to beat D.Layden 3-1, but the visitors resumed their four games buffer when Tom Allies (27.66 man of the match) beat Mel Hopkins 3-1.
The home team rallied again in the ninth game when Darren Sinfield and his opponent both hit a maximum but the all important 3-2 scoreline went in favour of Sinfield moving the running score along to 6-3 in Nott’s favour with only three to play.
M.Pitchford chalked up the winning game with a 3-1 win over Paul Jones, who in his comeback game notched a 180. T.Ellis added to Nottinghamshire’s tally with a close 3-2 verdict over Rick Gray and in the final game of the day Rob Wood (Derbyshire) beat Ashley Spencer 3-2 to put the final score at 8-4 to the away side.
The first five games in the ladies ‘A’ match all went against the first throw advantage. Jane Densley, with nine scores of a ton or more won the first for the home side, a 3-1 result over S.Faulkner. Nottinghamshire levelled through their lady of the match Kirsty Hanford, a 3-0 win against Sarah Quinn. Jackie Sweet restored Derbyshire’s lead with a similar 3-0 result against J.Whatmough, only to see L.Allick beat Tracey Johnson 3-1 to cancel the lead for a second time.
Steph Allerton kept the home spirits high for a win when she defeated Helen Harvey 3-1 and what turned out to be Derbsyshire’s lady of the match Joanne Oldershaw (23.85) beat N.McNamara 3-1 to seal a 4-2 to win and keep the overall deficit down to 14-10.
The men’s ‘A’ side now required a reversal of the scoreline from the previous days ‘B’ team result. The odds of that happening were greatly reduced after the first three games. Wayne Pepper Tom Allies and Derek Shipley in turn beat Mark Robinson, Reece Spurr and Phil Henshaw, who despite losing 4-1 hit two maximums and recorded a 118finish.
Derbyshire’s first winner came in the form of Ady Daniels in the fourth game, Daniels beating Brian Kirk 4-1. The cheers were short lived as Nottinghamshire reeled off another four wins in a row through Neil Birkin, Andy McCracken, P.McConville and T.Broadhurst accounting for respective opponents Ady Asprey, Kevin Rimmer, Rob Needham and Nigel Daniels.
Reducing the arrears in the ninth game was Darron Brown. With a 180, 120 checkout and a 28.51 average Brown won the game against Mark Wilson 4-1 and in the process won the home teams man of the match award.
Trailing 7-2 the hosts then went further behind as A.Kerr beat Paul Bettney 4-0 and Nott’s captain Jay Forman won 4-3 against England International Gary Fenn, Forman taking the match award with the weekend’s highest average of 30.38 which also earned him £100.
Anchor man Dave Smith-Hayes put in another solid display winning 4-1 against D.McGarry with a 26.95 average to put the final ‘A’ team result at 9-3 to the away team and giving the an overall victory of 23-13.