Alan Towe’s The Line On Darts - Riley’s BDO Inter County Darts Championships
Since last going to print West Midlands have played two more fixtures in the Riley’s BDO Inter County Darts Championships, the first being a home tie at Gilberts Bar, Willenhall, against County Durham, both teams in uncomfortable positions near the foot of the table, so victory was paramount to both.
After four fixtures both ladies teams were without a win having drawn two and lost two. The ladies ‘B’ had a slow start losing the first two games to Angela McDonald and Kathleen Renwick, who in turn defeated Jacqueline Maiden and Kirtsy Haw. Gemma Barrett was West Midlands first winner, a 3-1 success against Sandra Cairns, but County Durham’s two games lead was quickly restored when Linda Ithurralde beat Shellbie Simmons 3-1 to guarantee the visitors at least a share of the points.
Kim Fellows kept the home side in the match with her 3-1 win over Karol Dagga to set up a do or die final game between Heather Wright and Liz Tait. Heather, with three out of four match awards this season was the West Midlands ladies ‘B’ in form player and so the run continued as she romped to a 3-1 win, clinching the win with a great 106 checkout to average 17.71 and put the final score at 3-3.
The men’s ‘B’ were still chasing their first win of the campaign and after completing the first half of the match really didn’t look as though they were going to get it. Things began well as Ryan Herrington opened with a 3-2 win over Raymond Foreman, only to see David Brown beat Simon Meredith 3-0, Gerald Grieve win 3-2 against Richard Platt and Paul Tennant get the better of Mark Watkiss with a 3-1 result. Avtar Singh won the fifth game against David Milburn 3-0, but the away teams two game buffer was restored when Christopher Kitch won 3-0 against Glen Cullen to take the score along to 4-2 in Durham’s favour.
Neil Pointon reduced the gap to 4-3 when he beat Darren Melderis 3-2, but the visitors charged on with two more wins from Paul Telford and Stephen Hayers to put them 6-3 up and in an unbeatable position.
The last three games all ended with a 3-1 scoreline, two of them going to West Midlands player Jonathon Platt and Paul Price, the other and all important one going to Durham’s Gerry Hall which gave his side the much needed and vital seventh game to seal a 7-5 victory. Anchor man Paul Price beat Christopher Allum his 27.69 average earning him the man of the match award.
Sunday’s games got underway with the away team having the upper hand leading by a small margin of 10-8. That deficit was reduced immediately as Jackie Crew won the opener against Durham’s Cheryl Adamson in three straight legs with an award winning 20-04 average. County Durham struck back quickly and effectively as they raced into a 3-1 lead, dropping just two legs in the process. Allison Wells won 3-0 against Diane Tolley, Jennifer Summerson beat Katharine Jenkins 3-1 and with the same score Kirsty Hutchinson won against Claire Hobbs.
Once again West Midlands had their backs to the wall and required now the last two games for a draw. Lisa Astbury (West Midlands) was on at number five against Sharon Haywood and with a 3-0 win kept hopes alive for the Midlanders. The final game was a tense affair between Sarah Thornbury and Margaret Stewart. Twice Sarah took the lead and saw it cancelled out by her counterpart to leave the result hinging on the final leg. With the first throw and a ton with her first three darts was enough for Sarah to keep her nose in front and be first to a finishing double, double fourteen, which she despatched with her twenty fifth dart with her opponent still requiring 66, giving the ‘A’ team a hard fought, well earned 3-3 draw.
Now with the men’s ‘A’ result still to be added to the tally County Durham were still two games to the good. The home side got off to a brilliant start Dean Stewart (28.23) was in great form beating Stephen Knight in four straight legs, with Knight unable to get below 100 in any of the legs. Jamie Hughes, the in form West Midlands man dropped just one leg against John Dowd to win 4-1 and record an average of 29.96. With the averages getting higher each game Nick Fullwell completed a hat trick of West Midland wins when he won 4-1 in his tie with David Gill, Hughes having winning legs of 14, 18, 11 and 14 darts to average a truly magnificent 32.09 to give him the man of the match award and the highest average of the fixture.
Danny Coyle began well with a 101 checkout in the first leg against Paul Clark, but it was Clark who went on to win the game 4-2. Durham’s Keith Gowland beat Ian Stanton 4-0 and with a close 4-3 win from Stephen Annan against Matthew Dicken, Durham were back in the game at 3-3.
Two more wins in a row for the West Midlands came from Mark Rollinson and Michael Baker, in turn beating Ian Adamson 4-3 and Robert Douthwaite 4-2. The away teams reply was a 4-3 win from Kevin Naunton over Peter Wyse. Andy Forrester put the home side’s men’s ‘A’ team within an ace of victory with a 4-1 win against Martin Farmer and with the ever reliable Ian Jones on in the penultimate game that win looked a real possibility.
However, a win for Jones was looking doubtful when his opponent Phillip Nixon won the first two legs in 17 and 21 darts. Never say die Jones fought back with 20 and 13 dart legs to square the game, but Nixon once again forged ahead with a 14 darts leg, only to miss his outshot in the sixth and let Jones in with a double twenty finish to force a deciding leg. The last leg was a cracker, Nixon had first throw and chalked up scores of 41, 100, 100, 125 and 63 to leave 72. Jones meanwhile had scores of 100, 140, 60, 100 and a game shot of 101 for a 15 darts leg, a 4-3 win and at the same time a guaranteed West Midland’s men’s ‘A’ win.
Jake Jones was on last for the home team and looked to improve on the already won game when he went two up against James Forster. However, a win was not to be as Forster went on to win 4-2 putting the final score at 7-5 to the West Midlands and an overall 18-18 result.
The second of the West Midlands two games was an away fixture with high riding Cambridgeshire, who were on 103 points and in second place in the division one promotion table behind Cornwall, who had 116 points, whereas West Midlands were seventh on 81 points. So by any stretch of the imagination it was not going to be an easy game for West Midlands.
The ladies ‘B’ had a good start with Kim Fellows coming from 2-0 down against Wendy Ickin to win 3-2 and Gemma Barrett (18.73) doubling the advantage with her lady of the match 3-1 win over Debbie Melton. Ronnie Johnson (Cambridgeshire) lost the first leg to Lisa Maiden but went on to win 3-1 before Jacqueline Maiden secured at least half the points for the Midlanders with a 3-0 win over Kerry Brown.
Looking good for their first win at 3-1 up West Midlands then ran out of steam as Amy Grant beat Shellbie Simmons 3-1 and Sandra Greatbatch won by the same margin against Heather Wright to give a 3-3 result.
The men’s ‘B’ were also without a win in five games as Gurpal Singh set them off on the right foot, a 3-1 win over Pete Richardson. The second game could have gone either, Viv Gould missing out on finishing doubles letting in Gary Robertson for a 3-2 win to level the score.
West Midlands then had a good run of three wins in a row. Man of the match Avtar Singh (26.51) began the run when he accounted for Paul Newstead with a 3-2 win, after Newstead had gone 2-0 up. Kevin Jones added to the score with a 3-1 win against Paul Hilsden, before Glen Cullen made it 4-1 when he beat Steve Carrett 3-0.
Darren Cottereill pulled one back for Cambridgeshire, a very close 3-2 win over Paul Price, who had left a double on each occasion.
By the eighth game West Midlands had equalled their best performance of the season, they had recorded six winners, and assured themselves of at least a draw. Neil Pointon and Martin Angell were the two players to add to the winners list in turn winning 3-1 against Kelvin Crane and Alexander Topper, to give a handsome lead of 6-2.
A win in the first leg was not enough for Greg Parkes (West Midlands) to seal victory as Terry Redhead came back to beat him 3-1, but in the very next game that all important win came from Richard Platt. Platt, playing against Thomas Stevens went on to win 3-1 and give his team a 7-3 lead. Things got even better when Simon
Meredith made it 8-3 with his 3-2 win over Dan Whitlam, Adam Cousins winning the last game for the hosts against Jonathon Platt 3-2 to give a final score of 8-4 to the away team.
So Sunday’s games began with the Midland side in a healthy 11-7 lead, but with only half of the fixture completed both teams had everything to play for.
It was not long before the ladies were fighting a losing battle as Jane Judges beat Katherine Jenkins 3-1 in the first game and Barbara Greatbatch won 3-2 against Sarah Thornbury. Although Lisa Astbury (22.29) with her lady of the match performance against Nadine Bentley in which she won 3-1, the outcome of the game was decided in the next two encounters as the home players Claire Ball and Amanda Mallett chalked up 3-0 wins against Gemma Barrettt and Diane Tolley to move into an unassailable 4-1 lead.
The final score was 4-2 to Cambridgeshire as Claire Hobbs gave West Midlands the final 3-0 win over Karen Stanhope.
With both men’s teams vying for the ‘A’ division title a close game was expected by all, how wrong that turned out to be as the West Midlands men recorded their best win in over three years, they annihilated their opponents with an astonishing 12-0 victory. The last time the men’s ‘A’ team had a clean sweep 12-0 win was way back in January 2010 when playing at home in division two they beat Buckinghamshire and the West Midlands went on that season to gain promotion to division one.
Another startling fact from the game was that all of the wins, apart from the first and last were won within six legs. Racking up the wins were, Jake Jones (26.74) who won 4-3 against Stuart Ward, Dean Stewart (26.83) and Matthew Dicken (25.53) each won 6-2 in turn against Micky Reed and Gary Flynn. Then there were two 6-1 wins from Ian Jones (28.75) and Nick Fullwell (24.30) at the expense of Will Harwood and Paul Wenn. Danny Coyle (28.63) had a straight 3-0 win over Mark Horspool and was followed by Ian Stanton, who beat Bill Richards 4-1. Peter Wyse (27.05) was the 4-2 winner against Garry Kilpatrick before Michael Baker added another straight legs win over Gary Robertson. Jamie Hughes (27.64) was once again on the mark as he defeated Dennis Harbour 4-2 before man of the match Andy Forrester (28.84) squared up to Ian Withers to win 4-1. Forrester kicked off with a tremendous eleven darts leg hitting 180, 180 and 125 before checking out on 16. He lost the second leg but bounced back to win the following three legs in 22, 14 and 21 darts.
With the score at 11-0 the pressure was all on anchor man Mark Rollinson to complete the whitewash and he duly obliged, but not before a scare. Martin Adams won the first leg in 14 darts, Mark took the next two both in 21 darts. Adams went ahead again in 15 and 16 darts to set up a nail biter of a deciding leg. Both players set off with three, three figure scores and with the first throw advantage Adams had darts at a finishing double. But he failed and allowed Rollinson to throw for double two which he took full advantage of to win the leg in 19 darts, the game 3-2 and the match 12-0.
So with such an impressive result from the men’s ‘A’ side, which took them top of the men’s ‘A’ table on 42 points, three more than second placed Cornwall, the overall score for the weekend was a tremendous 25-11 to the West Midlands to lift them into sixth position in the overall table, but only one point behind third in the table Gwent.
Congratulations to Robert Carr (Union), who for the second year running has won the Brierley Hill Friday Night League singles title. Playing at Dudley Sports he was unlucky not to make it a double as he and his partner Alan Moreton lost 3-1 in the final of the doubles to J.Batham and Pat Pace (Dog and Lamp Post).
The South Birmingham League played off their Singles Knockout and taking the title was Mark Birch, who beat Mike McFall in the final. Losing semi finalists were Kevin White and Dean Marshall.