West Midlands home fixture with Derbyshire in division two of the Riley’s BDO Inter County Championships was a vital game for both teams. West Midlands were fourth in the table with 83 points, just eight adrift of their opponents, who were riding high in pole position and undefeated in four games.
Saturday’s ladies ‘B’ match saw Dee Fenn (Derbyshire) open up with a 3-2 win over Shellbie Simmons, Shellbie twice taking the lead before losing out. Claire Hobbs was in fine form for the home side as she rattled off a straight 3-0 win against Sarah Quinn, Claire’s 21.78 average earning her the lady of the match award.
The visitors took the following two games, Sara-Jane Harrison beating Gemma Barrett 3-1 and Michelle Phillips winning 3-2 against Samantha maiden to give the away team a 3-1 lead.
Kim Fellows reduced the arrears for the West Midlands when she chalked up the home team’s second straight win, a 3-0 success against Lynda Gilbert, but it was all in vain as Rachel Ayres, with a 3-1 scoreline accounted for Jacqueline Maiden in the final game to give Derbyshire a 4-2 win.
The first four games of the men’s ‘B’ match all went against first throw advantage. Robert Thompson got the proceedings underway giving West Midlands what should have been a giant lift as he stormed to a 3-0 win over Daniel Thomas, his game including a maximum and a 120 outshot to give him an award winning 26.84 average. However, the lead was short lived as Alan Statham beat Jamie barrowman by the same 3-0 margin to level the score.
Joe Taylor restored the hosts lead in the third game when he won 3-1 against Anthony Palfreyman, only to see Steven Homer (Derbyshire) record a similar 3-1 win over Avtar Singh to square the match for a second time.
Derbyshire’s Michael Smith broke the sequence when he took advantage of the fact Peter Wyse couldn’t find his finishing doubles and won 3-0 to give the away team the lead for the first time in the match. As previous the lead lasted for just one game as Sean Carroll’s 3-0 success against Robert Wood took the score along to 3-3.
Mark Craddock looked all set to put West Midlands ahead again when he went 2-0 up against Adrian Asprey, but then somehow lost his way and Asprey went on to win 3-2. Game number eight could easily have gone either way, Paul Price (west Midlands) won the first leg with an 8 game shot after both players had throws at a finishing double, his opponent Christian Bradshaw was left on 10. The second leg was again a similar pattern, this time Price checking out on 32 with Bradshaw on double one. With a 180 and 125 in the third leg Bradshaw went on to win it, Price still requiring 85 and with Price down to a bull finish in the fourth the game seemed to be sewn up, but it took him another 15 darts to actually wrap up his 3-1 win with double one, Bradshaw eventually leaving himself on 5.
So eight played and the running score 4-4, both teams with everything still to play for. Karl Hughes (West Midlands) was unable to get down to a finishing double as he lost 3-0 to Darran Sinfield and with a 3-2 win from Robert Needham over Jordan Singh, Derbyshire were looking good for their second win of the day as they held a 6-4 lead with two to play.
Martin Angell stopped the rot for the hosts as he beat Derbyshire veteran Jim Beardmore 3-1 to give anchor man John Platt an opportunity to save the day in the final tussle against David Allcock. It looked as though the draw was not going to happen as Allcock with scores of 100, 135, 2×140 and 145 went 2-0 and within an ace of a personal win together with a team win.
Platt kicked off the third leg with 121 and although Allcock matched his score in his fifth visit to the oche it was all too late as Platt checked out on double ten with Allcock back on 93. Both players struggled to find the big score in the fourth leg, but a late 138 from Platt gave him the breathing space he required to wrap up his second winning leg with double two, his opponent without a throw for 50.
After eleven games and four legs the result now hinged on the very last leg of the day. Platt had first throw and chalked up scores of 76, 100, 41, 121, 60 and 55 to leave 48. Allcock meanwhile had left himself on double ten after 15 darts after hitting 180, 100, 81, 66 and 54, but he missed his double with his next throw and gave Platt just the opportunity he required to put the 48 to bed to win 3-2 and give the home side a hard fought 6-6 draw.
So going into Sunday’s games West Midlands were trailing 10-8 and needed something special to come back and beat the divisional leaders. The ladies ‘A’ match saw every single winning game go with the first throw advantage. Heather Wright was the unfortunate opener for West Midlands to come against an in form Jane Densley, who went on to win the tie 3-1 and also her temas match award with a 19.96 average, Heather notched a maximum in the second leg, won the third and failed on her doubles in the fourth.
Sarah Roberts is having a fantastic season for the West Midlands with already having won all four of the previous match awards and on this occasion nothing changed. Despite being taken the full five legs distance by Jackie Sweet, Sarah won the first, third and fifth legs and averaged 22.56 to make it five consecutive awards.
Derbyshire edged ahead again, this time thanks to Kirsty Handford, who came back from 2-1 down against Kath Jenkins to win 3-2. Lisa Astbury went one down to Stephanie Allerton in the fourth game, but Lisa stuck to her task and fought back to earn a 3-1 win and level the match for the second time at 2-2.
Jackie Crew came up against one of Derbyshire’s top players this season in the form of Joanne Oldershaw, who had won all four of their previous match awards this season and narrowly missed out again when she beat Jackie 3-2 and averaged 19.38, just 0.58 below Jane Densley’s winning average.
As happens many times the outcome of the match rested on the decision of the final game and squaring up for the vital encounter were long serving Diane Tolley for the West Midlands and Kelly Dean for Derbyshire.
One big score was the difference between the two players in the opening two legs, Diane Tolley hitting 121 in the first and 140 in the second to give her first throw at a finishing double which she despatched with ease to go 2-0 up. Neither player found a three figure score in the third leg, in fact Kelly was unable to find one in all three legs, but it was the home player who was again first to a double and although she and Kelly had throws towin the leg it was Diane who actually got her double to win it and the game 3-0 and in the process give her team a share of the spoils in a 3-3 draw.
Just the men’s ‘A’ result to be added and the running score without that result standing at 13-11 in favour of Derbyshire, so the outcome of the overall result was still in doubt and both teams still required at least a draw to earn the win.
Richard Platt was West Midlands opener and he twice took the lead over Peter Slater, but a t 3-1 up he was then out tonned by Slater, who went on to win 4-3. Glen Cullen (West Midlands) was unable to equal Gary Fenn’s scoring rate as he trailed 3-0, he did however match his maximum in the fourth leg and went on to win it in 20 darts after Fenn had missed his outshot. Fenn was on fire in the fifth hitting 100, 100, 100, 105 and shot out on 96 for a 15 darts leg and a 4-1 win.
Mark Jones saw his Derbyshire opponent Stephen Pashley open up a 2-0 lead, but came back in style to win 4-2 to reduce the arrears to 2-1. That deficit was quickly increased as Robert Needham won 4-2 against Neil Pointon, Nigel Daniels beat Michael Baker by the same 4-2 scoreline, Paul Mellor added his 4-1 win over Gavin Baker and taking the running tally to 6-1 and ensuring an overall win for Derbyshire was John Clifford, who had a close 4-3 verdict against Andrew Forrester.
With the score at 6-1 to Derbyshire the overall weekend’s result was in no doubt. However West Midlands men’s ‘A’ were still in with a faint chance of sneaking a draw and keeping that hope alive was Ian Stanton. Ian was made to fight all the way by Doug Walker, who actually went ahead in the first and third legs before Ian took the lead for the first time in the fifth. Walker won the sixth to force a decider, a 140 and 180 from Stanton just the difference to give him first throw at a finishing double and his 4-3 win.
Hopes of a draw were shattered in the ninth game when Tony Cresswell had a straight 4-0 win against Gary Watts. Never say die Ian Jones was on for the home side in the following game and once again, like many times before, he laid on a man of the match performance. David Smith-Hayes was Ian’s opponent and a worthy opponent he turned out to be as he scored 180 plus eleven scores of a ton or more, but that couldn’t compare with the eighteen tons or over from Jones, who with checkouts of 81, 101, 16 and 40, and winning legs of 17, 15, 19 and 15 finished with a tremendous 30.39 average.
In the penultimate game Danny Coyle won the first against Drew Smith and lost 4-1 and to round off the proceedings Mark Rollinson, who trailed 3-0 to Reece Spurr and came back to 3-3 finally lost out 4-3 to give Derbyshire a 9-3 win and an overall 22-14 victory to keep them top of the division two promotion table on116 points, with Cleveland second on the same number of points. West Midlands, with 97 points held on to fourth place and Somerset whose game with Berkshire was cancelled dropping from second to sixth now on 91 points with a game in hand.
The South Birmingham League had their singles knockout on the fixture card and winning the title was The Crown representative Neil Parsonage. Runner up in the competition was Will Naylor from Riley’s Kings. Losing semi finalists were Martin Partridge (The Crown) and Dave Clinton (St John’s).
The Aston League staged their annual singles knockout and had a fantastic turnout in excess of 80 players. The semi finals saw Rob Hawker, from the Riley’s beat Dean Bond (Red Lion) and from the other half of the draw Heartlands Will Naylor defeated Mark Birch (Riley’s).
The final produced some excellent darts with high scores and finishes, but it was Rob Hawker who ran out the 3-1 winner, with Will Naylor runner up.
Taking the title in the Small Heath League’s doubles knockout, with a final win over Alan Wale and Paul Brown from the Custard House, were Dave Heighway and Nick Walker representing Gulp Tribe.
Losing semi finalists were, Neil Parsonage and Raymond Fisher plus Peter Hopkins and Peter Yardley, both pairs from the Emerald Club.
The 501 singles knockout, with a final win over Emerald Club’s Neil Parsonage went to another Emerald Club player Peter Yardley. Losing semi finalists were Dave Heighway (Gulp Tribe) and Paul Webster (Custard House Flights).
The Tamworth League played off the finals of their Andrew Evans Memorial Cup. In the semi finals Old Liberal House beat Sports Bar ‘180’ 4-1, league leaders Fox and Dogs had a clean sweep 4-0 win against Mile Oak Rovers.
Once again in the final it was all Fox and Dogs as they romped to a 4-1 victory to take the title.