Alan Towe’s The Line On Darts :Riley’s BDO Inter County Darts Championships Division One Darts: Derbyshire v West Midlands
The hosts got off to a good start in Saturday’s games with both the men and women winning. The ladies, fresh from their 5-1 victory over Staffordshire were high in confidence and Rachel Bird and Sarah Quinn gave them a dream start going 2-0 up with respective wins over Doreen Kaye and Claire Hobbs. Shellbie Simmons reduced the arrears for the West Midlands beating Michelle Phillips 3-1, her win turning out to be the only one the visitors would get as Lynda Gilbert, beat Samantha Maiden 3-1, Nicola Fletcher won 3-2 against Heather Wright and rounding off the 5-1 win was Rachel Ayres, whose 3-2 win and 15.79 average won her the lady of the match award.
The men’s ‘B’ also opened a 2-0 lead, Darran Sinfield and John Clifford defeating Jordan Singh and Avtar Singh before West Midlands strung together five consecutive wins. Glen Cullen started the ball rolling with his 3-2 win over Paul Jones, next came Nick Fullwell, who was another 3-2 winner in his tie with Robert Needham.
For the first time in the game Derbyshire went behind in the fifth encounter when Tony Cresswell lost 3-1 to Jonathon Platt and with a man of the match performance from Dough Thompson (33.40) and a straight 3-0 win over Doug Walker, plus a further 3-0 win by Richard Platt against Alan Evans, Derbyshire were trailing 5-2.
Peter Slater stopped the rot his 3-2 win against Paul Price the turning point in the game. Paul Bettney became the fifth player in the game to win 3-2, his success against Mark Watkiss keeping the hosts in the match albeit they were still trailing 5-4.
At number ten was Robert Wood (Derbyshire), the men’s ‘B’ team’s top player having won all of his previous seven games. His skills were now crucial if Derbyshire’s hopes of a win were to continue. Wood made it eight wins in as many games when he defeated Christopher Stanley 3-1, his 26.29 average not only earning the man of the match award but also gave him the verall runners up spot in the ‘B’ divisions averages.
Ricky Gray assured at least half of the points with a 3-1 win against Ian Stanton before Reece Spurr chalked up the all important seventh win when he beat Gary Watts 3-2 in the final game of the day. Going into Sunday’s games the home side had a healthy 12-6 advantage and they could not have wished for anyone better than Jane Densley to increase that lead. Jane made it five match awards out of the last six games when she won the opener against Sarah Thornbury 3-1 with a terrific 27.28 average to place her sixth in the ladies ‘A’ division averages.
West Midlands then won three in a row, Gemma Barrett beat Joanne Oldershaw 3-0, Katherine Jenkins won 3-1 against Dawn Buckley and Jackie Crew also had a 3-1 win in her game with Tracey Johnson. With their backs to the wall Jackie Sweet’s 3-0 win over Diane Tolley took the result to the final game between Stephanie Allerton (Derbyshire) and Lisa Astbury. Buxton’s Stephanie Allerton was in fine form recording a 3-1 win to give her team mates a share of the points in a 3-3 draw, leaving the men requiring four wins for an overall victory.
Three of those wins came in the first three games, Keith Cooper, Frank Davis and John Grace in turn accounting for Peter Wyse, Nick Fullwell and Mark Rollison. West Midlands then came into the game with wins from Michael Baker and Dean Stewart at the expense of Ian Hannah and Melvyn Hopkins, taking the score along to 3-2 to Derbyshire.
Richard Rawding’s 4-1 win against Doug Thompson meant that over the weekend Derbyshire would be outright winners as they now had an unassailable 19-11, but with relegation staring them in the face both teams needed to add as many wins to their tally as possible.
Once again West Midlands came bouncing back, John Roberts winning 4-2against David Smith-Hayes and Janie Hughes having a close 4-3 verdict over Nigel Daniels. The ninth game saw the visitors take the lead for the first time when Neil Pointon registered a straight 4-0 win over Adrian Asprey, only to see Gary Fenn (Derbyshire) hit 20 tons in his seven leg thriller with Danny Coyle and in the process record a twelve darts leg, a 121 finish and a superb 29.06 average to earn Gary his second consecutive man of the match award.
With the game delicately poised at 5-5 Steve Pashley (Derbyshire) squared up to Andy Forrester, the outcome a 4-1 in for Forrester putting Derbyshire 6-5 down with one to play. The very last game of the weekend and the season paired Matthew Padgett (Derbyshire) and Ian Jones. Jones opened up a 2-0 lead in 14 and 15 darts. Padgett took the third and despite kicking off the fourth with a maximum it was Jones who won the leg with another 14 darter. The home player pulled another one back in 15 darts only to see Jones secure a 4-2 win with a final 18darts leg to give West Midlands a 7-5 win.
The overall result was 20-16 to Derbyshire, which put West Midlands bottom of the table on 158 points and despite the win Derbyshire, who finished with 160 points will join them in division two next season.