Alan Towe’s The Line On Darts
BDO Inter County Championships:Division Four:
Shropshire v Bedfordshire
Shropshire’s mid-season fixture in division four of the BDO Inter County Championships was, despite home advantage, always going to be a tough one against high riding Bedfordshire and Saturday’s ladies game showed just how tough it was going to be.
First on for Shropshire was Caroline Powel who finished 3-1 down to Angie Moyce. Next on for the hosts was Cheryl Owen who looked all set to restore parity as she romped into a 2-0 lead against Michelle Lydiate but alas it was from that point that finishing doubles eluded Owen and it was Lydiate who got the 3-2 decision.
Putting a win beyond Shropshire’s reach was Lynda Drawe who despite being pegged back from 1-0 up to go 2-1 down by Allison Gallagher won the last two legs as once again the home player just couldn’t find the final doubles.
Bedfordshire’s lead was reduced in the fourth when Sophie Fawcett came from 1-0 and 2-1 down against Irene Maddy to go on and win 3-2 and being as she turned out to be the home team’s sole winner took the match award for her 12.88 average.
The visitors got their win in the fifth when Hannah Meadwell won 3-0 against Rachael Mooney and although Michele Pritchard (Shropshire) took a 2- 1 lead after losing the first leg to Louise Taylor wins in the last two legs saw Taylor win 3-2 to give her team a final 5-1 victory leaving the Shropshire ladies ‘B’ still without a win in their five games played.
Sam Aitkens gave the men’s ‘B’ side the ideal start as he handed Mark Circuitt a 3-1 defeat with winning legs of 21,15 and 20 darts giving him a great 25.61 average to earn him the team’s match award and his third such award of the campaign so far. Paul Harrison with a 2-0 lead over Paul Wright looked well on the way to doubling Shropshire’s lead but he was unable to capitalise on his advantage and Wright went on to win 3-2.
Dean Taylor with a 3-0 result beat Andy Vellender to give Bedfordshire their first lead in the match, then increasing that to 3-1 was Josh Hook who came from 1-0 and 2-1 down to beat Billy Robbins 3-2.
Aden O’Mahoney opened up leads of 1-0 and 2-1 over Andi Chatter but Chatter bounced back to win the next two legs and the game 3-2 and with a further 3-1 win from Robert Pierce over Shaun Copperwheat the score at the halfway mark was all level at 3-3.
For a second time in the game the home side took the lead when in game number seven Mike Hampson won 3-2 against Ashley Disson. Hampson after going two up with a 109 checkout in the second leg was then taken to a decider by Disson but won it in 15 darts. Increasing the hosts lead to 5-3 was Will Roberts in what was another five legs affair with Roberts going one up then his opponent Luke Ely wining the next two however Ely was left nursing 200 when Roberts sealed his 3-2 win in 21 darts.
Phil Mayo levelled his game against Joe Reid twice but was unable to stop the Bedfordshire man winning 3-2.
Jon Blakemore (Shropshire) assured his team mates of at least a draw when playing at number ten he won with a straight 3-0 result over Martin Hill. Colin Neale was able to keep the away side in with a shout for a draw when in the penultimate encounter he beat Brian Hickman 3-1.
Anchor man for Shropshire was Martin East and for Bedfordshire Paul Meakin. East in double quick time went 2-0 up only to see Meakin win the next two legs. The decider went to Martin East as when he shot out on double eight his opponent was left still requiring 99.
The final score was 7-5 to Shropshire’s men’s ‘B’, their second win in five.
The ladies ‘A’ like the ‘B’ are still seeking their first win of the season and looked to be well on the way to achieving that when lady of the match Marie Riggs (19.83) won the opener against Maria Perrin 3-1. Marie won the first leg only to see Maria draw level with a 107 finish. Both of the following two legs could have gone either way but it was Marie Riggs who won them giving her a 19.83 average and her second match award of the season.
Taking the score along to 2-0 was Becky Harris with her 3-1 win over Shirley Williams but a 3-0 success for Donna Hutt over Deana Sheldon halved the home team’s lead and a further 3-1 win from Lisa Perkins against Jenna Ball saw the game levelled at 2-2.
Game five saw the away side take the lead for the first time when Holly Meadwell beat Sue Lane 3-0 but a draw was salvaged for Shropshire when last on Julie Griffiths won 3-1 against Kerry King to give a 3-3 result.
The men’s ‘A’ team have had quite a successful season so far with three wins in four games and they got off to a decent start against Bedfordshire as Eddie Austin kicked them off with a 4-1 win over Paul Smith and Martin Price despite having his lead cancelled out three times by Carl Yeowell went on to win the seventh and deciding leg for a close but nevertheless a 4-3 win.
Jamie Barrowman pulled Philip Price back to level terms twice but it was Bedfordshire’s Price who got the 4-2 verdict and then levelling the score at 2-2 was Patrick Clowery who after losing the first leg to Chris Fox went on to win 4-1.
Chris Dilley (Bedfordshire) began well as he went one up against Dan Astbury and although Astbury drew level with a 124 game shot in the second it was Dilley who took the lead again in the third. For a second time Astbury erased Dilley’s lead this time in 18 darts before actually taking the lead for the first time in the fifth which he won in 22 darts and then round off a super 4-2 win in 20 darts earning the team’s match award for the fourth time in five games with a 27.10 average.
By the midway stage of the match Shropshire had gone 4-2 up as Richard Parker added his 4-2 win over Dara Curran to their total.
Micky Reed pulled one back for the visitors as the second half got underway beating Martin Riggs 4-1 and although John Speed (Shropshire) went within an ace of victory when he won the first three legs against Trevor Ellacott, it was Ellacott who came back fighting to win the next four for a 4-3 win.
Game nine saw Gavin Moreton (Shropshire) win the first leg, lose the next three, win the fifth then eventually lose 4-2 to Mark Elliot and with a similar 4-2 win for Gareth Murray over Andy Jervis Bedfordshire were leading 6-4.
Reece Colley kept hopes alive for a draw for Shropshire as he won 4-2 against Ben Hazel only to see anchor man Richard Bowen go down by the same margin to Paul Bailey to give the away side a 7-5 victory.
The overall result for the weekend was a 20-16 win for Bedfordshire to put them second in the promotion table on 113 points just seven short of leaders Leicestershire. Shropshire meanwhile dropped one place to sixth but only one point behind the team directly above them Tyne and Wear and only eight fewer than fourth in the table Breconshire.
Leicestershire v Shropshire
Shropshire’s sixth of their scheduled fixtures in division four of the BDO Inter County Championships was an away game against high riding Leicestershire who held a seven points lead over Bedfordshire at the top of the promotional table.
Saturday’s ladies game began well for the visitors as Michele Pritchard kicked them off with a lady of the match win over Teek Newberry. Michele with a 3-1 win clinched the match award for her 20.97 average.
Shropshire’s lead lasted for just the one game as Sophie Lilley and Hayley Crichton in turn won 3-0 against Sophie Fawcett and Suzie Barnham.
Melanie Bell (Leicestershire) looked to be well on the way to increasing her team’s lead to 3-1 when she opened up leads of 1-0 and 2-1 over Tammy Walmsley but it was Walmsley who got the final 3-2 verdict.
Krissie Long was another home player to raise hopes of another win when she went two up against Rachael Mooney but once again the Shropshire lady stuck her ground, fought back and went on to win 3-2 and at the same time give her team a similar 3-2 lead.
The final score ended all square as the home player Kelly Welsh won 3-1 against Allison Gallagher.
It was not a good day at the office for the men’s ‘B’ team but it has to be remembered they were playing against the divisions best, league leaders Leicestershire.
David Warner put Leicestershire one up with his 3-1 win over Billy Robbins then doubling that lead was Chris Wickenden with his 3-0 result against Neville Quinton. Leigh Peet made it 3-0 when he won 3-2 against Robert Trumper, Trumper coming from one down to lead 2-1 before losing the last two legs and taking the score to 4-0 was Alan Warrington who had a 3-1 success against Paul Bromley.
It was game number five before Shropshire got their first winner and it came in the shape of a return to form Andi Chatter who handed his opponent Steve Smith a straight 3-0 defeat.
The deficit by the midway point was 5-1 as Darren Burdett added his 3-2 win over Chris Fox to the running score.
Chalking up Shropshire’s second win was John Speed who despite losing the first and fourth legs to Joe McKenna went on to win 3-2 but only to see the home team bounce back with a 3-2 win from Charlie Abbott over John Simms followed by a 3-0 win by Paul Atkins against Robert Pierce to give the hosts an unbeatable 7-2 lead.
Shropshire’s man of the match came in the tenth when their Andy Vellender beat Peter Wills 3-0 in 20,20 and 27 darts to give him a 22.43 average which on the day was Shropshire’s best.
Vellender’s win turned out to be the away teams last as Ricky Sudale won 3-0 against Mike Hampson and rounding off a 9-3 victory for Leicestershire was Paul Ablett with his 3-1 success against Jon Blakemore.
Sunday’s ladies ‘A’ game had a similar result as the ‘B’ the day before, again ending all square at 3-3 and again like the ‘B’ Shropshire’s lady of the match was the opening player. Suzanne Lane was first on for the visitors and after going within a whisker of losing to Kirsty White who won the first two legs Suzanne came back with wins in the next three legs to give her a 17.59 award winning average.
The next three games all went to the home team as Shannon Reeve beat Jenna Ball 3-2 after Ball had come from 2-0 to 2-2, Julie Booth beat Marie Riggs 3-2, Marie opening up leads of 1-0 and 2-1 and Claire Clough took the score to 3-1 with her 3-0 win against Deana Sheldon.
Becky Harris kept Shropshire in the hunt with her 3-1 win over Mem Martin and with Julie Griffiths coming from 1-0 and 2-1 down to Angie Sheffield to win 3-2 the result was 3-3.
The men’s ‘A’ team had chalked up three wins in their five games but Leicestershire was going to be a real tester and that showed as Derek Allsopp (Leicestershire) recorded a 4-3 win over Andy Jervis after the Shropshire man had gone 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 up and with a 4-2 win for Jason Lole over Eddie Austin Shropshire trailed 2-0.
Martin Edwards appeared to be on his way to a win over Reece Colley as he opened leads of 1-0 and 2-1 and then with a win in the sixth force a decider which he actually lost as Reece Colley wrapped up his 4-3 win in 17 darts.
Tom Atkinson made it 3-1 with his 4-1 win over Martin Riggs but by the halfway stage it was all square at 3-3 when Sam Aitkens beat Mick Hibbert 4-1 and Richard Bowen added his similar 4-1 win over Matt Dickinson to Shropshire’s tally. Bowen lost the first leg as Dickinson checked out in 14 darts but his response was superb as he levelled in 19 and with further wins in 15,17 and 14 darts sealed his win and won the man of the match award for his tremendous 29.66 average.
Going ahead for the first time in the seventh Shropshire’s Brian Hickman beat Darren Tyler 4-2 and with outshots of 120 and 104 Richard Parker handed Rick Varney a straight 4-0 defeat in the eighth. Increasing Shropshire’s lead to 6-3 was Martin Price who despite being pegged back to level terms three times by Lee Saville went on to win 4-3 to ensure at the worst a share of the spoils.
Winner of four previous match award Dan Astbury opened up 2-0 and 3-1 leads over Craig Allen but it was Allen who won the last three legs for a very close 4-3 win.
A 4-1 win for Chris Peat over Martin East kept hopes alive of a draw for Leicestershire and that was how the match ended as their Samuel Whittaker won 4-0 against Simon Pritchard.
Although an overall 21-15 defeat Shropshire put up a brave fight with draws by both ladies teams and a valiant draw by the men’s ‘A’ who could so easily have won the game with a little more luck, nevertheless it was an encouraging result.
By Alan Towe