Alan Towe’s The Line On Darts – Sussex v Derbyshire
There was good, reasonable and bad news from the weekend as Saturday’s ‘B’ games saw the ladies come back from 2-0 down when Samantha Harding and Hayley Gatford won 3-0 and 3-1 against respective opponents Rachel Ayres and Nicola Fletcher to take a 3-2 lead. Dawn Buckley inspired the fight back when she won 3-2 against Bridget Guilford after she had trailed 2-1. Kelly Dean squared the match with her 3-1 success over Julia Saldanha before lady of the match Jennifer Whatmough added her straight 3-0 win and 17.68 average to the tally to put Derbyshire ahead for the first time in the game.
The visitors 3-2 lead was turned into a match winning 4-2 result when anchor player Dee Fenn made short work of the challenge from Rhonda West winning 3-0 to maintain her team’s unbeaten record for the season.
Lee Stanley was first on for Derbyshire in the men’s ‘B’ game and he was made to fight all the way for his 3-2 win over Dave Creasy. Creasy won the first and levelled again in the fourth but eventually lost to Stanley’s double twenty in the fifth. Next on for the away team was Dean Wilkins who kept in the game against Geoffrey Taylor when he won the third and fourth legs after going 2-0 down. However the win was not to be as he missed his doubles in the fifth and Taylor checked out on 20 to win 3-2.
Craig Deeley put Sussex ahead for the first time in the third game with a 3-0 win over Paul Williams only to see Robin Woolery cancel out the lead when he beat Lee Jennings 3-1. The home side went ahead again in the fifth, another straight 3-0 win this time from Dan Grimmett over David Allcock. Nevertheless by the halfway mark the score were even at 6-6, Jim Beardmore beating Ken Sowerby 3-2 after Sowerby had opened up a 2-1 advantage.
Sussex forged ahead again in the second half winning the first two games through Mark Harwood and Peter Stoner, who in turn defeated Mark Walker and Robert Wood. Alan Statham reduced the deficit to 5-4 with a 3-1 win against Connor Levett only to see the hosts move to within an ace of victory when Aegir Bjornsson beat John Clifford 3-0.
Trailing 6-4 with two to play Derbyshire now had their backs to the wall, but keeping them in the game was Robert Smith. Smith lost the first leg to Dan Bradford but levelled in 14 darts and then went 2-1 up with an 18 darts leg. Bradford squared the game in the fourth but Smith came good in the fifth winning it in 15 darts for a 3-2 win and a man of the match winning average of 29.70.
The result was now hinging on the final game between Liam Kipling (Sussex) and Colin Rich. It was nip and tuck all the way, Kipling going 1-0 up, Rich making it 1-1, Kipling then went 2-1 before Colin Rich won the next two legs to win 3-2 and take the final score to 6-6.
Amazingly all of the ladies ‘A’ games were won against the first throw advantage. Lady of the match Trish Kidd (23.57) gave Sussex the lead when she beat Jane Densley 3-1, Rachel Bird won the second for Derbyshire when she had a 3-1 result against Denise Peake. The home team went ahead again when Karen Winter beat Jackie Sweet 3-0, but yet again the advantage was cancelled out this time thanks to a 3-2 win from Sara-Jane Harrison over Kelly Ryan.
Donna Rainsley restored the home team’s lead with a 3-2 win against Lauren Jackson to put the score at 3-2 to the home side but Derbyshire could not have wished for a better player to represent them in the final and decisive game than Joanne Oldershaw, having said that it was a tough ride for Joanne as Laura Macintosh won the first leg, Joanne replied by winning the second, the home player then won the third to go 2-1 up. Joanne then not only won the fourth leg but also the fifth to clinch a hard fought 3-2 win, earn her team a 3-3 draw and win herself the match award with an 18.61 average.
Despite losing the first two games when Aegir Bjornsson beat Nigel Daniels 4-0 and Rod Hawkins doubled the home teams lead with a 4-1 win over Richard Hanson, Derbyshire did not have too bad a first half as from 2-0 down they went into a 3-2 lead.
Drew Smith began the trio of wins with his 4-1 win against Greg Upton, then came a similar 4-1 win for Gary Fenn over Jason Yates. Giving Derbyshire the lead for the first time was David Smith-Hayes, who apart from the one leg did not let his opponent Terry Howse get down to a finishing double. Smith-Hayes won the opening leg in 13 darts and added to that with 17 and 18 darts legs. Although he faltered in the fourth when he missed his finishing doubles he made amends with a winning 20 darts leg in the fifth for a 4-1 win and an award winning average of 28.92.
To round off the first half James Withers, who although he had his 2-0 lead erased by Paul Bettney went on to win 4-2 and put the running score at 3-3.
For Derbyshire the second half was a disaster, Craig Stoner (Sussex) began the half with a 4-1 win over Tim Daniels, Andy Derrick added his 4-2 success over Adrian Asprey to the total before Darren Woolgar and Michael Hammond in turn chalked up 4-3 wins against David Allcock and Keith Cooper to put the hosts into an unassailable 7-3 lead.
Matters got worse for the divisional leaders when Paul Eves beat Reece Spurr 4-3 to take the score along to 8-3, Paul Mellor (Derbyshire) making it a little more respectable at 8-4 when he beat Tony Peters 4-0 in the final game of the weekend.
The men’s ‘A’ defeat ended a run of four consecutive wins and for the squad the overall 19-17 loss their first of the season. Nevertheless, a defeat away to their nearest rivals may not have been what Derbyshire would have wanted but they still remain in pole position in the promotional table with a fifteen points lead over both Sussex and Berkshire, the bad news is that in the remaining three games they play against third placed Berkshire at home, fourth in the table London at home and bring down the curtain on the season with a final game away to fifth placed Northamptonshire, not an easy run in but two out of three fixtures are at home.
Full Results:Sussex Names First):Men’s ‘A’:- Aegir Bjornsson 4 Nigel Daniels 0, Rod Hawkins 4 Richard Hanson 1, Greg Upton 1 Drew Smith 4, Jason Yates 1 Gary Fenn 4, Terry Howse 1 David Smith-Hayes 4, James Withers 4 Paul Bettney 2, Craig Stoner 4 Tim Daniels 1, Andy Derrick 4 Adrian Asprey 2, Darren Woolgar 4 David Allcock 3, Michael Hammond 4 Keith Cooper 3, Paul Eves 4 Reece Spurr 3, Tony Peters 0 Paul Mellor 4, Men’s ‘B’:- Dave Creasy 2 Lee Stanley 3, Geoffrey Taylor 3 Dean Wilkins 2, Craig Deeley 3 Paul Williams 0, Lee Jennings 1 Robin Woolery 3, Dan Grimmett 3 David Allcock 0, Ken Sowerby 2 Jim Beardmore 3, Mark Harwood 3 Mark Walker 2, Peter Stoner 3 Robert Wood 1, Connor Levett 1 Alan Statham 3, Aegir Bjornsson 3 John Clifford 0, Dan Bradford 2 Robert Smith 3, Liam Kipling 2 Colin Rich 3, Women’s ‘A’:- Trish Kidd 3 Jane Densley 1, Denise Peake 1 Rachel Bird 3, Karen Winter 3 Jackie Sweet 0, Kelly Ryan 2 Sara-Jane Harrison 3, Donna Rainsley 3 Lauren Jackson 2, Laura Macintosh 2 Joanne Oldershaw 3, Women’s ‘B’:- Samantha Harding 3 Rachel Ayres 0, Hayley Gatford 3 Nicola Fletcher 1, Bridget Guilford 2 Dawn Buckley 3, Julia Saldanha 1 Kelly Dean 3, Teresa Weir 0 Jennifer Whatmough 3, Rhonda West 0 Dee Fenn 3.