Alan Towe’s The Line On Darts – Devon v Warwickshire
The final game of the season for Warwickshire was an away tie against Devon which turned out to be a tougher task than was expected as their hosts lay perilously close to the relegation zone.
The ladies ‘B’ found finishing doubles hard to come by as they went 3-0 down all started by the home teams Sharna Eva who beat Helen Rigg 3-0, Sharna’s team mate Lisa Hughes trailed 2-0 to another Lisa, Lisa Deslandes who could have wrapped up the tie in the third leg if she could have found one of those all elusive doubles but she lost the next three legs and went down 3-2. Putting the hosts into an unbeatable 3-0 lead was Anna Johnson who won 3-1 against Nina Bolt.
Warwickshire got their first stripe on the board in the fourth encounter when Denise Keyte after going one up against Carmella Sharpe went 2-1 down then won the next two legs for a 3-2 victory.
The result was put beyong Warwickshire reach when Karen Matthews won the penultimate game against Angela Jones 3-1 and the final score taken to 4-2 to Devon when Warwickshire’s Marian Conway ended the game with a 3-0 win over Hayley Brant, Marian clinching her second lady of the match award for the season with an 18.11 average.
The men’s ‘B’ like the ladies didn’t get off to the best of starts as Simon Fairbrother lost 4-1 to Phillip Goodwin and Simon Power went down 4-2 to Phil Stewart. Terry McDermott looked all set to make it 3-0 when he won the first two legs against Rob Hawker but Hawker reduced the arrears with a tremendous 152 checkout in the third and then levelled in the fourth in seventeen darts. The fifth leg saw Hawker take the lead for the first time and although he lost the sixth he wrapped up a 4-3 win in eighteen darts in the deciding leg.
Matthew Edgar (Warwickshire) opened up a 2-0 lead against Jack Allen only to see Allen fight back and go 3-2 up. Edgar held his nerve won the sixth leg then eaned himself a 4-3 victory when he took the final leg in fourteen darts to level the game at two each.
The home side went ahead again in the fith when Ryan Searle beat Dave Atkins 4-1, Atkins winning the third with a 129 finish and Seale putting his winning leg up with a 121 game shot.
By the midway point of the game the score stood at three each as Carl Green restored parity with a 4-2 win over Mark Vellacott and winning legs of 17,20,20 and 13 darts in which he scored 82,180,78,127 and checked out on double seventeen for a man of the match winning average of 28.58.
The second half began well for Warwickshire as for the first time in the game they took the lead. Peter Hughes lost the opening two legs to Kevin Winter then won the following three. Winter took the tie to a decider when he won the sixth in 17 darts but it was the away teams Hughes that sealed the 4-3 win with a 17 darts leg in which he included a maximum.
The lead unfortunately was short lived as Devon’s Glyn Wells beat Paul Deslandes 4-0 then Daniel Allen won 4-3 against Dan Green and with a similar 4-3 result Thom Humphrey defeated Ian Shaw to ensure at least a share of the spoils for the hosts as they had opened up a 6-4 lead.
Luke Kennedy kept Warwickshire’s faint hopes of a draw alive when in the eleventh game he won 4-1 against Neil Dudbridge, but a draw was not to be as the final game went to Neil White a 4-0 win against Tom McGlone giving Devon a 7-5 victory.
With Devon having an 11-7 lead from Saturday’s games Warwickshire’s ‘A’ teams needed to come up with something special if they were to get anything out of the fixture. Donna Pinch gave the ladies a winning start as she, after going 2-0 up, was pulled back to 2-2 by Sarah Brown and then went on to win 3-2. Chrissie Kinnaird had a similar game for Devon as she opened up a 2-0 lead over Wendy Adams, Adams then winning the next two legs and Kinnaird the decider to level the game at one each.
For a second time the visitors went ahead this time thanks to Melanie Hill who beat Michelle Andrews 3-1 only to see Merryl Dennis win 3-0 against Kerry Bambridge to once again level the score.
The results continued to go with the first throw advantage as Sue Gulliver (Warwickshire) took on Kelly-Marie Gabriel in the penultoimate game. Sue stormed into a 2-0 lead with winning legs of 21 and 19 darts and despite being pegged back to 2-1 she won the fourth leg in 17 darts giving her a 3-1 victory and her second match award of the season with her superb 24.64 average.
With the score now standing at 3-2 to Warwickshire they would not have wished for a better anchor player than the "Golden Girl” herself Trina Gulliver. In 17 and 21 darts Trina went 2-0 up against Maria O’Brien but then unusually Trina lost her way a little and allowed O’Brien to come back at her and take the final three legs for a 3-2 win and give her team a share of the points with a final 3-3 result.
The first game of the men’s ‘A’ tie went to Devon, Mike Beal coming from 2-0 and 3-2 down against Simon Power to win 4-3. Noel Grant (Warwickshire) kicked off his game against Adrian Lamerton with a great 135 finish and then added the next two legs to his tally. Lamerton fought back with two winning legs in 14 and 15 darts but it was Grant who got the 4-2 result as he won the sixth leg in 14 darts hitting 140,140,134,71 and checking out on 16.
William Naylor won the first leg against Shaun Dring (Devon) but it was Dring who took the following three legs, however Naylor then took control and after winning the fifth leg took the last two both in 20 darts for a 4-3 win.
The score was levelled for a second tim in the fourth game when Antony Hayman won 4-3 against Mark Strong after Strong had come from 3-1 down to 3-3. The fifth game saw Warwickshire edge the lead again when Antony Allen recorded a 4-1 win over Mike Pearce and by the halfway mark the visitors were 4-2 as Jamie Hughes chalked up his fifth man of the match award of the season when he accounted for John Imrie with a straight 4-0 win in 14,20,11 and 17 darts to give him a tremendous 32.32 average slightly lower than his best of the season which was 32.85 against Lincolnshire.
The first two games of the second half both finished with a 4-3 scoreline both of them going to Devon, John Mann and David Witt in turn defeating Tom Aldridge and Mark Westgarth to square the match at 4-4.
At number nine for Warwickshire was Dean Stewart, with Jamie Hughes winning five of the season’s nine match awards Stewart had won the other four and once again he was on the mark with a great 29.04 average as he made short work of his opponent Simon Stevenson with a straight 4-0 win to give his team a 5-4 lead. Jamie Atkins was unable to add to that lead as he came up against Devon’s man of the match Matthew Dickinson who won the encounter 4-2 after Atkins had gone 1-0 and 2-1 up.
Mark Carter (Warwickshire) won the first against Mark Turner but was unable to take further advantage as his counterpart won the next four legs for a 4-1 win and at the same time giving Devon a vital 6-5 lead.
With the overall result already in the bag for Devon the only remaining issue was wether or not they would win the men’s ‘A’ game and that responsibility lay in the hands of their Richard Dennis in the final tussle of the weekend. Dennis won the first leg against his namesake Richard Foster only to see Foster win the next three. Dennis then won the next two legs to take the game to a final leg which really could easily have gone either way with both players throwing for a finishing double but it was Warwickshire’s Richard that got the all important double one for a 4-3 win to give his team a well deserved and hard fought 6-6 result.
The overall result was a 20-16 win for Devon, however the encouraging fourth place finish for Warwickshire can only be good for their eighth consecutive season in the premier division.
Full Results:Devon v Warwickshire (20-16):(Devon names first):Men’s ‘A’:- Mike Beal 4 Simon Power 3, Adrian Lamerton 2 Noel Grant 4, Shaun Dring 3 William Naylor 4, Antony Hayman 4 Mark Strong 3, Mike Pearce 1 Antony Allen 4, John Imrie 0 Jamie Hughes 4, John Mann 4 Tom Aldridge 3, David Witt 4 Mark Westgarth 3, Simon Stevenson 0 Dean Stewart 4, Matthew Dickinson 4 Jamie Atkins 2, Mark Turner 4 Mark Carter 1, Richard Dennis 3 Richard Foster 4, Men’s ‘B’:- Phillip Goodwin 4 Simon Fairbrother 1, Phil Stewart 4 Simon Power 2, Terry McDermott 3 Rob Hawker 4, Jack Allen 3 Matthew Edgar 4, Ryan Searle 4 Dave Atkins 1, Mark Vellacott 2 Carl Green 4, Kevin Winter 3 Peter Hughes 4, Glyn Wells 4 Paul Deslandes 0, Daniel Allen 4 Dan Green 3, Thom Humphrey 4 Ian Shaw 3, Neil Dudbridge 1 Luke Kennedy 4, Neil White 4 Tom McGlone 0, Women’s ‘A’:- Sarah Brown 2 Donna Pinch 3, Chrissie Kinnaird 3 Wendy Adams 2, Michelle Andrews 1 Melanie Hill 3, Merryl Dennis 3 Kerry Bambridge 0, Kelly-Marie Gabriel 1 Sue Gulliver 3, Maria O’Brien 3 Trina Gulliver 2, Women’s ‘B’:- Sharna Eva 3 Helen Rigg 0, Lisa Hughes 3 Lisa Deslandes 2, Anna Johnson 3 Nina Bolt 1, Carmella Sharpe 2 Denise Keyte 3, Karen Matthews 3 Angela Jones 1, Hayley Brant 0 Marian Conway 3.
Supported by Red Dragon Darts