Northamptonshire v Derbyshire
With six wins and only two narrow 19-17 defeats from the eight games played prior to their final fixture Derbyshire have enjoyed a very successful season, one which has seen them hold on to pole position for the majority of the campaign and with their last game, an away fixture against lowly Northamptonshire the prospect of promotion as champions was a reality, but it didn’t all go quite to plan.
The ladies ‘B’ who were undefeated this season having won three and drawn five began brightly with Samantha Clarke beating Jacky White 3-2, Samantha in the process winning the match award with a 15.55 average, it then all went a little pear shaped as Northamptonshire’s Sandra Simmonds, Amy Chappell and Faye Mason each recorded 3-1 wins against respective opponents Dawn Buckley, Rachel Ayres and Nicola Fletcher.
Although the team trailed 3-1 Jennifer Whatmough kept Derbyshire in the match and with a chance of a draw when she handed out a straight 3-0 defeat to Chloe Collins. Dee Fenn (Derbyshire) took the first leg off Mary Garling but was unable to push her advantage home as Garling went on to win 3-1 and give the home side a 4-2 victory and at the same time inflict a one and only defeat of the season on the Derbyshire ladies ‘B’ team.
The men’s ‘B’ had got their season off to a great start with three wins in the opening three fixtures but of late had struggled a little with two defeats and a draw in the last three games.
Ashley Spencer was first on for Derbyshire and went one up against Andrew Tee before falling 2-1 behind, however he then bounced back to win the next two legs and go on to win 3-2. Derbyshire’s long serving Jim Beardmore was on at number two and he ended his season in top form beating Luke Smith 3-1 with a 117 checkout in the second leg and winning legs of 19, 21 and 16 darts giving him a man of the match award winning average of 27.77.
Graham Roberts chalked up Northamptonshire’s first win his finishing power on the day second to none as he won 3-1 against Robert Needham with checkouts of 114, 122 and 112. Andy Tempest squared the game with a 3-0 win against Keith Coooper and although the away team forged ahead again in the fifth when Paul Baker beat Lee Rose 3-0 the score at the midway point was 3-3 when Chuck Scott (Northamptonshire) won the sixth against Colin Rich 3-2 after Rich had come back from 2-0 down to 2-2.
For a third time Derbyshire took the lead, this time thanks to a 3-2 win from Stephen Pashley over Eddy Smith, the score then taken to 4-4 with a 3-0 win by Paul Shepherd (Northamptonshire) over John Clifford.
David Allcock and Doug Walker then took Derbyshire to within one game of victory when Allcock won 3-0 against Ian Evans and Walker beat Max Murray 3-1.
In the penultimate game Ian Allcock looked set to chalk up the winning game for the away side when he won the first leg against Tony Littleton but Littleton rallied and went on to win 3-1 and put the onus on the last two players.
Tony Cresswell (Derbyshire) got off to a fine start in his game with Ian Bisland as he kicked off with scores of 115, 140 and 140 to leave himself on 106 after only nine darts. With his opponent still requiring 219 Cresswell stepped up to the oche and finished the leg with a superb game shot of 106 in twelve darts.
With a 180 and 100 in the second leg the Derbyshire man opened up a 2-0 lead and although his charge was momentarily halted in the third when Bisland won with an 80 outshot Cresswell won the fourth for a 3-1 win giving Derbyshire men’s ‘B’ team a 7-5 victory, their first in four games.
The ladies ‘A’ record for the season read four wins, two draws and two defeats, they began the match with a defeat as Lauren Jackson, who has scooped four lady of the match ‘B’ team awards this season, lost 3-1 to Angela Barrow, Rebecca Barrow was not so fortunate she came up against Joanne Oldershaw (Derbyshire) who came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 giving her a 17.65 average and her third match award of the campaign.
Jane Densley completed a marvellous season for Derbyshire with yet another win and although she was unable to add to her already won six match awards for the season her 3-1 win over Gail Fullthorpe put her team 2-1up.
The home team’s award winner Karen Roberts was on at number four, her 3-1 win against Jackie Sweet levelling the game at 2-2, Karen’s team mate Chrissie Moore then restored the home teams lead when she twice came from behind against Rachel Bird to win 3-2.
With the result now hinging on the final game Kelly Walker (Northamptonshire) won the first leg against Sara-Jane Harrison, Harrison replying with a 120 game shot to level the game. The away player then took a 2-1 lead and despite being pegged back to 2-2 went on to win 3-2 and give Derbyshire a share of the points in a 3-3 draw.
With only two defeats in their eight games the men’s ‘A’ have done their share to keep Derbyshire in with a promotional challenge and once again they began their game with real promise as Richard Hanson beat Dave Walker 4-1 and Gary Fenn won 4-2 against Christopher Lawrence, but from 2-0 up it suddenly all changed, Chris Doughty (Northamptonshire) on three occasions came from behind against Paul Bettney to win 4-3, Jason Lovell won 4-3 against David Smith-Hayes, Ben Goodger had a similar 4-3 win against Lee Stanley and Chris Shipley’s 4-1 win over Alan Statham gave the home team a 4-2 lead.
The second half of the game began as did the first with Derbyshire winning the first two games, Robert Smith won 4-1 against Chris Jones and Robert Wood’s 4-2 win over Stuart Gilmour took the score along to 4-4, then came the game of the match when Nigel Daniels (Derbyshire) beat Liam Fox 4-0, Daniels with nine scores of a ton or more plus a 180 had winning legs of 17, 13, 17 and 17 darts for a terrific 31.31 average to give him his first match award of the season and open up a 5-4 lead for the visitors with just three to play.
Paul Mellor (Derbyshire) came from 2-0 down and 3-2 down against Ricky Evans to level terms twice before Evans eventually won 4-3. Derbyshire’s Tim Daniels had a 118 outshot in his first leg against Martin Biggs only to see Biggs win the next two legs, but Daniels stuck to his task and went on to win 4-2 and at the same time guarantee that his team wouldn’t lose as they held a 6-5 lead.
Anchor man Adrian Asprey looked all set to clinch a 7-5 win as he went 1-0 and 3-1 up against Shane Prowse, but it was Prowse who won the following three legs for a 4-3 win and take the final score to 6-6.
The overall result for the weekend was all square 18-18 and with Nottinghamshire recording a 22-14 home win over Sussex it meant that Derbyshire were ousted from their number one spot and had to content themselves with the runners up position as they finished just five points adrift of the champions. Nevertheless Derbyshire’s 203 points was enough to win them promotion back to division one something they narrowly missed out on last season, let’s hope they can do the same again next season and get into the elite premier division.
Full Results:Division Two:(Northamptonshire names first):Men’s ‘A’:- Dave Walker 1 Richard Hanson 4, Christopher Lawrence 2 Gary Fenn 4, Chris Doughty 4 Paul Bettney 3, Jason Lovell 4 David Smith-Hayes 3, Ben Goodger 4 Lee Stanley 3, Chris Shipley 4 Alan Statham 1, Chrsi Jones 1 Robert Smith 4, Stuart Gilmour 2 Robert Wood 4, Liam Fox 0 Nigel Daniels 4, Ricky Evans 4 Paul Mellor 3, Martin Biggs 2 Tim Daniels 4, Shane Prowse 4 Adrian Asprey 3, Men’s ‘B’:- Andrew Tee 2 Ashley Spencer 3, Luke Smith 1 Jim Beardmore 3, Graham Roberts 3 Robert Needham 1, Andy Tempest 3 Keith Cooper 0, Lee Rose 0 Paul Baker 3, Chuck Scott 3 Colin Rich 2, Eddy Smith 2 Stephen Pashley 3, Paul Shepherd 3 John Clifford 0, Ian Evans 0 David Allcock 3, Max Murray 1 Doug Walker 3, Tony Littleton 3 Ian Allcock 1, Ian Bisland 1 Tony Cresswell 3, Women’s ‘A’:- Angela Barrow 3 Lauren Jackson 1, Rebecca Barrow 2 Joanne Oldershaw 3, Gail Fullthorpe 1 Jane Densley 3, Karen Roberts 3 Jackie Sweet 1, Chrissie Moore 3 Rachel Bird 2, Kelly Walker 2 Sara-Jane Harrison 3, Women’s ‘B’:- Jacky White 2 Samantha Clarke 3, Sandra Simmonds 3 Dawn Buckley 1, Amy Chappell 3 Rachel Ayres 1, Faye Mason 3 Nicola Fletcher 1, Chloe Collins 0 Jennifer Whatmough 3, Mary Garling 3 Dee Fenn 1.