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BDO Inter County Championships:Division Four:Shropshire v Breconshire

Shropshire’s run of three consecutive defeats in division four of the BDO Inter County Championships was thankfully brought to an end when they played hosts to fourth in the division Breconshire at The Royal, Delaware Avenue, Albrighton, Wolverhampton, WV7 3BW.

Saturday’s ladies game did nothing to help get the weekend off to a good start as Caroline Powell after going 2-0 up against Emmylou Owen lost 3-2, Rachael Mooney won the first leg against Helen Thomas-Evans and lost 3-1 and Helen Walmsley went down 3-0 to Carol Bufton to put the visitors 3-0 up.

Deana Sheldon momentarily stopped the rot as she chalked up a straight 3-0 win over Abbie Fox, Deana’s 12.74 average earning her the team’s match award as she turned out to be Shropshire’s solitary winner.

Tammy Walmsley lost the penultimate game against Lynne Layton 3-1 and Jenna Ball, like opener Caroline Powell after going 2-0 up in her game against Donna Hilton then lost 3-2 to give Breconshire a 5-1 win and leave Shropshire ladies ‘B still seeking their first win of the campaign with only two remaining fixtures.

The men’s ‘B’ had a similar start to their game as the ladies ‘B’ as they quickly found themselves trailing 3-0 with Zak Turner beating Andy Vellender 3-2, Ian Evans winning 3-1 against Alex Howells and Mark Salmon taking out Neville Quinton with a 3-0 scoreline.

First winner for the home county was John Simms who with a 3-1 result defeated Richard Langlois. Reducing the arrears even further was Simon Pritchard who after going 1-0 down to Richie Williams fought back to secure a 3-1 win and by the midway point of the match it was all square as Mike Hampson won 3-2 against Chris Austin-Hill. Hampson opened up with two 20 darts legs and although his Breconshire opponent won the next two it was Chris Hampson who won the decider with another 20 darts leg giving him a 23.06 average which at the end of the day won him the team’s match award.

The second half began with the home player Paul Bromley wining the first leg against Martin Ashton but it was Ashton who got the final 3-1 verdict to give the visitors the lead once again. Then with another 3-1 result for Chris Carey against Jon Blakemore Breconshire had taken a 5-3 lead.

Games nine and ten both went to Shropshire, both of them straight 3-0 results with Robert Pierce and Billy Robbins in turn accounting for Matt Ingram and Mike George to take the running score to 5-5 with two to play.

The eleventh game produced another 3-0 result this time going to the away team’s John Brandon who defeated Rob Trumper to put the onus on the last two players to decide the outcome of the match.

Anchor man for Shropshire was Mark Bayliss and for Breconshire Jason Parnell. Bayliss in 24 and 18 darts went two up only to see Parnell then win the next two legs in 28 and 24 darts to leave the result hinging on the very last leg of the match and the day. Bayliss pulled out all the stops and with scores of 83,83,100 and 125 left himself on 110 after twelve darts and with his opponent way back still requiring 273 he produced a terrific 110 game shot to win 3-2 and put the final score all square at six each.

The ladies ‘A’ despite having lost two of their six games had drawn four of them and still seeking their first win, but that was all about to change as they stormed into a match winning 4-0 lead. Marie Riggs began the quartet of wins with her 3-2 success over Kaye Hales after Hales had gone 1-0 and drawn level in the fourth.

Becky Harris doubled the home sides lead in style as she accounted for Louisa Fox with a 3-1 result. Fox won the first leg only to see Becky Harris then run out the winner with legs of 23,21 and 22 darts to give her an award winning average of 19.61.

Taking the win beyond Breconshire’s reach was Julie Griffiths who added her 3-1 victory over Chris Sheen to the host’s tally, Julie coming from one down to seal her win with a superb 107 game shot. With Shropshire leading 3-0 the win was not long awaited as Cally Jones put the magical fourth win in place when she beat Sharon Hill 3-0.

The away team got their first winner in the penultimate game, Natalie Evans winning 3-1 against Michele Pritchard and the final score was taken to 4-2 to Shropshire when Stacy Camden (Breconshire) won 3-2 against Sue Lane.

The men’s ‘A’ have been enjoying quite a decent season so far with three wins, a draw and just the two defeats and once again began their match with plenty of promise as Martin East won 4-2 against Ben Watkins and Andi Chatter made it 2-0 when he beat Craig Lewis 4-1. Dan Astbury, winner of four match awards so far this season opened up a 2-0 lead over Mark Layton and although Layton won the next two to level the game it was Astbury who took the following two to win 4-2 and give the home side a 3-0 lead..

Richard Parker looked to be a winner all the way against Lee Williams as he went 1-0 up and then 3-2 up but with outshots of 160 and 135 it was Williams who won the next two to win 4-3.

On at number five for Shropshire was Martin Price who saw his opponent Graham Jenkins take leads of 1-0 and 2-1, however in the fourth Price checked out in 13 darts to square the game and then added 18 and 21 darts legs to clinch a 4-2 win and the ‘A’ team’s match award for a super 28.81 average.

The first half ended with a 4-1 win for Dan Rickwood over Simon Farely to take Shropshire’s lead into the break to 5-1.

As the second half got underway Wayne Glover pulled one back for Breconshire as he won 4-2 against John Speed and with a similar 4-2 win for Ralph Heaven-Richards against Chris Fox the visitors had reduced the arrears to 5-3.

The away team’s run was brought to an abrupt end when Brian Hickman and Andy Jervis added 4-0 wins over respective counterparts Kevin Holvey and Andrew Kerry to seal victory for Shropshire as they were now in an unassailable 7-3 lead.

The final two games of the weekend both went the full seven legs distance with Martin Riggs (Shropshire) twice cancelling John Donaghey’s leads of 1-0 and 3-1 before he lost the decider and then Martin’s team mate Richard Bowen, who again levelled twice against his opponent Stephen Davidson after trailing 2-0 and 3-2 once again lost the seventh and final leg but only after he had had throws at a finishing double.

The final score 7-5 to Shropshire, the overall score 18-18 and a very creditable draw for Shropshire as their opponents are four places above them in the promotional table in fourth position.

The draw saw Breconshire hold on to their fourth place but Shropshire dropped one place to eighth but with two more games to play and only seven points the difference between Shropshire and Breconshire there is still time to move up the table.

Full Results:Division Four:Shropshire v Breconshire (18-18):Shropshire names first):Men’s ‘A’:- Martin East 4 Ben Watkins 2, Andi Chatter 4 Craig Lewis 1, Dan Astbury 4 Mark Layton 2, Richard Parker 3 Lee Williams 4, Martin Price 4 Graham Jenkins 2, Dan Rickwood 4 Simon Farely 1, John Speed 2 Wayne Glover 4, Chris Fox 2 Ralph Heaven-Richards 4, Brian Hickman 4 Kevin Holvey 0, Andy Jervis 4 Andrew Kerry 0, Martin Riggs 3 John Donaghey 4, Richard Bowen 3 Stephen Davidson 4, Men’s ‘B’:- Andy Vellender 2 Zak Turner 3, Alex Howells 1 Ian Evans 3, Neville Quinton 0 Mark Salmon 3, John Simms 3 Richard Langlois 1, Simon Pritchard 3 Richie Williams 1, Mike Hampson 3 Chris Austin-Hill 2, Paul Bromley 1 Martin Ashton 3, Jon Blakemore 1 Chris Carey 3, Robert Pierce 3 Matt Ingram 0, Billy Robbins 3 Mike George 0, Robert Trumper 0 John Brandon 3, Mark Bayliss 3 Jason Parnell 2, Women’s ‘A’:- Marie Riggs 3 Kaye Hales 2, Becky Harris 3 Louisa Fox 1, Julie Griffiths 3 Chris Sheen 1, Cally Jones 3 Sharon Hill 0, Michele Pritchard 1 Natalie Evans 3, Sue Lane 2 Stacy Camden 3, Women’s ‘B’:- Caroline Powell 2 Emmylou Owen 3, Rachael Mooney 1 Helen Thomas-Evans 3, Helen Walmsley 0 Carol Bufton 3, Deana Sheldon 3 Abbie Fox 0, Tammy Walmsley 1 Lynne Layton 3, Jenna Ball 2 Donna Hilton 3.

By Alan Towe