Alan Towe’s The Line On Darts :Riley’s BDO Inter County Darts Championships Division One:Gwent v Derbyshire
Saturday’s games brought mixed fortunes, the ladies went 1-0 down when Natalie Tucker beat Dawn Buckley, but quickly bounced back with two in a row from Rachel Bird and lady of the match Lynda Gilbert (16.74), who in turn defeated Sarah Adams and Deborah Ham. The home side then turned on the pressure, Natalie Pyatt beat Rachel Ayres 3-0 and Susan Bailey won 3-1 against Michelle Phillips to give Gwent a 3-2 lead with one to play.
Nicky Fletcher was last on for Derbyshire and facing Kelly Richardson for Gwent. It was a very close game with Richardson just getting the 3-2 verdict to bring to an end Kelly’s recent flurry of wins.
The men’s ‘B’ got off to a good start with Jim Beardmore and Paul Jones giving them a 2-0 lead with wins over Geoff Bladen and Phil Woods. Steve Challenger pulled one back for the home team with a 3-1 success against Alan Statham, only to see the away side chalk up another two wins thanks to Frank Davis, who beat Viv Smith 3-0 and Steve Pashley, who also won in three straight legs against Daniel Drury.
Brian Barne reduced the arrears to 4-2 with his 3-0 win over Alan Evans, but Derbyshire came back fighting again, this time it was John Clifford who accounted for Geoff Dyer with a 3-2 scoreline. Mike Nixey (Gwent) took the running score along to 5-3, beating Ian Byard 3-2, but again the hosts were unable to string together more than one win and in fact lost the next four to go down 9-3.
Robert Wood, currently top of the division’s men’s ‘B’ averages made it seven straight personal wins with his 3-0 victory over Alan Walker and he was followed by man of the match Keith Cooper, who averaged 25.44 in his 3-1 win against Andy Bates and at the same time chalked up the all important seventh win for his team, their 7-3 lead now unassailable.
Doug Walker and Tony Cresswell added their individual wins over Lyndon Gore and Darron Crawford to the tally to give a final scoreline of 9-3 to Derbyshire, the team’s first win of the season. So going into Sunday’s ‘A’ team games Derbyshire had an overall 11-7 lead. The ladies games all went with first throw advantage, Hannah Price (Gwent) winning the opener against Jackie Sweet 3-0. Kelly Dean wiped out Gwent’s lead when she beat former Welsh international Jan Robbins 3-1, but it was Elaine Powell’s close 3-2 win over Joanne Oldershaw that restored the home teams lead. For the second time the score was levelled as Stephanie Allerton beat Alison Bonas 3-0, before Gwent took the lead for a third time, their player Chris Savvery, who had another close 3-2 victory against Tracey Johnson.
Trailing 3-2 and one to play, however, Derbyshire could not have asked for anyone better than Jane Densley to take on such a vital game. Jane took to the oche against Amanda Rosser and Amanda must have wondered what had hit her as she went down 3-0 with her opponent recording a truly fantastic 25.05 average to take the match award and record the best lady’s average of the weekend, plus earning her team a share of the spoils with a 3-3 result. The win also puts Jane top of the ladies ‘B’ division one dart averages.
Ian Hannah, promoted from the ‘B’ side gained a great point in a 4-3 nail biter against Jesse Heal, but the cheers were short lived as Gwent rattled off three wins in a row through Martyn Freeman, Sam Cankett and Nick Kenny, defeating in turn Reece Spurr, Adrian Asprey and Melvyn Hopkins. Man of the match for the previous three outings David Smith-Hayes was next to the oche facing Phil Daniels. Smith-Hayes once more had a fine 4-1 win with a super 27.47 average, but on this occasion it was not quite good enough to win him the award.
From 3-2 down Derbyshire slumped to an early 7-2 defeat, Steve Swallow beat Peter Slater 4-3, Carl Lloyd and Andy Chappell in turn beat Darran Sinfield and Richard Rawding 4-0 and putting the score beyond Derbyshire’s reach was Stephen Cake who won 4-2 against Daniel Thomas. Nigel Daniels has recently qualified for the June finals of the UK Open at Bolton and his confidence showed as he romped to a 4-0 win over Gwent’s Jarrod Powell, another solid display of darts from Daniels.
Peter Johns (Gwent) had a 4-1 win over Paul Bettney before the last two players Adrian Rees (Gwent) and Gary Fenn took to the oche. Fenn won the opener in 16 darts, but quickly fell behind as Rees won the following two in 17 and 22 darts. Fenn then stepped up a gear winning the fourth in 20 darts and the fifth in 18 to go 3-2 up. The sixth leg was a fantastic game of darts. With first throw advantage Fenn went off with scores of 60, 100 and 180 to leave 161 after only nine darts. Meanwhile, Rees had chalked up scores of 85, 140 and 125 to leave himself 151. However, Rees didn’t get another throw as Fenn, with the very last throw of the weekend checked out on 161 to rapturous applause. Fenn not only sealed a 4-2 win but also his 27.89 average won him the man of the match award. The men’s ‘A’ result was 8-4 to Gwent, but the overall result was, for Derbyshire, a very creditable 18-18 draw to give them a fighting chance of survival in the final game against West Midlands.