Alan Towe’s The Line – Hampshire v Derbyshire (20-16)
The ladies ‘B’ got off to the best start possible when Rachel Ayres put them one up recording a lady of the match average of 16.50.
Unfortunately that was the end of the good news as the remaining players, birthday girl Kerri Buckley lost 3-0, Jackie Sweet, despite hitting a maximum lost 3-2, Nicky Fletcher went down 3-0, Kelly Dean was another player to lose by the odd leg 3-2 and Dawn Buckley lost 3-0, finishing doubles proving to be the ladies major problem.
With the home side winning the ladies match 5-1 the men’s ‘B’ side desperately needed to get something out of their game to keep them in the match, and getting them off on the right foot was Danny Thomas, who was drafted into the side at the eleventh hour after a couple of players failed to turn up. With a maximum and a 23.99 average Danny won 3-2.
Pete Slater lost out in a five legs thriller to Hampshire’s man of the match Dave Bonnet, but Derbyshire’s lead was quickly restored when Matlock’s Alan Statham, romped to a 3-0 win, taking just 14 darts in his third and winning leg to record a man of the match winning average of 28.36.
From 2-1 up Derbyshire suddenly had the lead taken away from them and trailed 4-2 after Ian Byard missed his doubles and lost 3-1 and the Amber Valley pair Ant Palfreyman and Derbyshire legend Jim Beardsmore, who was amazingly playing his 314th game lost 3-0 and 3-1 respectively.
Daz Sinfield, another player who was bought into the team as a result of missing players, showed the county why he should be picked next match when he beat former Lakeside qualifier Paul Gibbs 3-0 in a game where he registered two 18 darts legs, hit a maximum and chalked up a very solid 26.36 average.
Restoring parity was Brian Snell, in only his second county game he was in no mood to hang around as he added his 3-0 win to take the score along to 4-4. Then giving the away side the lead for the third time in the game was Rob (Mr Consistent) Wood, two back to back maximums in the second leg, which he finished in 14 darts gave him a very creditable 27.83 average.
After a brief spell with neighbouring Nottinghamshire Aden (The Kid) Kirk was back on the oche for Derbyshire but it just wasn’t his day as he narrowly lost out 3-2 and with a further 3-1 defeat for Rick Gray the outcome now rested entirely on the final game.
Derbyshire could not have had a better anchor man as former PDC World Championship qualifier Matt Padgett raced to a 3-0 win and a 25.47 average to put the result at 6-6. Sunday’s games saw the ladies ‘A’ opener Sarah Quinn go down 3-1 however, Jackie Sweet avenged her 3-2 defeat from the previous day by winning 3-0 and take the match award with an 18.56 average.
With the teams sharing the opening two games Hampshire then moved up a gear, winning all of the remaining four games. Michelle Phillips (Derbyshire) lost 3-0 to Gemma Hayter, who recorded the best ladies average of the weekend 22.77. Buxton’s Steph Allerton played well but lost out 3-2, and Ilkeston’s duo Jo Oldershaw and Tracey Johnson in turn lost 3-0 and 3-1 to give the hosts their second 5-1 ladies win of the weekend.
A massive 11-1 win was what was now required from the men’s ‘A’ for an overall victory, but it was not long before it was proved that mountain was going to be impossible to climb. Rob Needham lost the opener in a last leg decider and with Alan Evans going down 4-1 it was now a case of damage limitation and ‘A’ team respect.
Reece Spurr started the comeback with a nail biting 4-3 win and emulating his team mate’s performance was Nigel Daniels with another seven legs affair before the game of the day between Hampshire’s Mike Gillott and Phil Henshaw. Henshaw was in superb form recording winning legs of 12, 14, 15 and 17 darts, hitting an amazing FIVE maximums in a 29.99 average earning him the man of the match award and putting his team 3-2 up.
A 4-1 defeat for Ady Daniels proved to be a minor setback as Mark Robinson won 4-3, Paul Bettney 4-2 and another 4-3 win from Daz Brown put Derbyshire into a commanding 6-3 lead.
Hampshire pulled one back when Mel Hopkins lost 4-1, but in the only 4-0 win of the day Ady Asprey put the result beyond doubt taking the running score along to 7-4 and clinching an 8-4 victory was Gary Fenn, his 4-3 win including two fifteen darts legs, for the man who has earned more points over the last five years than any other Derbyshire man.
The 8-4 win takes the men’s ‘A’ side into pole position in the ‘A’ team table on 18 points, three more than second placed Staffordshire, while the overall 20-16 defeat leaves them in a mid table position in the promotion table.
Derbyshire’s next fixture is the BIG one, another tough game as they play hosts to local rivals and table topping Nottinghamshire.