Darts: Crunch match for county darts team that is aiming for the top
Bedfordshire darts team are poised to be promoted for a third successive season.
This weekend they face arch rivals Buckinghamshire at The Ex Serviceman^s Club in Aylesbury and victory will guarantee a third successive promotion..
If they go up this season it will be Bedfordshire^s highest level of darts since leagues began 25 years ago.
Bedfordshire are currently top of Division Two in the British Darts Organisation league.
A third promotion will put them one step away from the Premier League.
County matches take place over two days, involving men^s and women^s A and B teams.
The main problem they seem to have these days is finding venues big enough to host the events.
Traditionally darts has gone hand-in-hand with pubs and drinking, unsurprising as the game was devised by archers in taverns during the Middle Ages.
"They would throw the broken arrows at barrels when they were off-duty and in the pub," said Bedfordshire^s Wayne Morgan.
These days most events still take place in pubs and clubs, but it is very much a family event, helped partly by the smoking ban.
Wayne added: "Before the ban I was not keen on taking my children or wife to the darts events. However, nowadays they take place in a clean and healthy smoke-free atmosphere.
"I would rather have my children with me at a darts match than wandering the streets or sitting in front of a PlayStation.
"As for drinking, a lot of top players will not drink during competitions as it affects their game."
The Bedfordshire team is built on strong individuals. Bedfordshire have got a Welsh international Trevor Ellacott who is their longest serving player with more than 200 games for the county.
Another member, Michael Reed, has won two major tournaments including the English National Singles and Adam King was in the England youth team.
Wayne and Trevor Ellacott lost in the finals of the Gold Cup Pairs at Lakeside in July.
Some players have achieved a nine-dart finish for Bedfordshire, albeit some years ago. The conventional route is seven treble 20s, treble 19 and double 12. However, the Holy Grail of nine-dart finishes everyone wants to see is treble 20, treble 19 and the bull - three times in a row.
"If you are playing as part of a team, you cannot afford to risk going for such a difficult set of shots," said Wayne.
"We want to win and we want to win well. We had some great outshots against Lincolnshire, 140s and 121s, very difficult and as good as anything you will see on TV."
Part of the appeal of the game, especially to some of the younger players, is the adding up, something which has not gone unnoticed by our own Government.
Wayne said: "It doesn^t make for very good TV, but adding up between shots is the most important part of the game.
"In some countries, Holland in particular where darts is massively popular, they are even using darts in schools to help teach maths.
"The Government here is even beginning to take notice. During the last world championships before a televised match Johnny Ball and the current Education Minister were on stage discussing how it might be used in this country to add some fun to maths in schools."
■ For all Bedfordshire darts match reports go to our new Darts homepage at www.bedsonsunday.com/lsnmedia%2Dsport%2Dbedfordshiredarts/
Story By: Bedfordshire On Sunday