Warwickshire’s final game of the season in the premier division of the BDO Inter County Championships was a home tie at the Bishopsgate Club, Coventry against bottom of the table Kent. With four wins and four defeats in the games already played the home side were looking to end the campaign with another victory to guarantee them a top half finish.
Kerry Bambridge gave the ladies ‘B’ the ideal start when she opened up with a 3-2 win over Steff Duchesne after the Kent player had come from 1-0 down to lead 2-1. Kerry’s win and her superb 23.68 average earned her her first lady of the match award of the season.
The next four games followed a similar pattern the winner being the player with the darts advantage, so game two saw Suzanne Campfield level for Kent when she beat Lucy Keyte 3-0, then Lisa Whitmore’s 3-1 win over Roz Sayer gave Warwickshire the lead again before it was cancelled out by Melissa Stacey’s 3-0 success against Nina Bolt.
For a third time the home team went ahead this time thanks to a 3-0 win by Kirsty Haw in her game with Lauren Stacey and then in the final game the pattern changed Kat Spanswick winning the sixth encounter 3-1 against Lisa Behan to give the ladies ‘B’ a 4-2 win their third victory of the season.
The men’s ‘B’ like the ladies ‘B’ had also only won two of their eight games and were hoping to finish on a high. First on was Antony Allen who had a very tidy 4-2 win over Nigel Payne with a 29.13 average, following Antony was Tom McGlone who on the day saw his doubles elude him and his opponent Samuel Fuller go on to win 4-1.
Kent then for the first time took the lead when Craig Watkins beat Michael Spencer 4-3, Watkins levelling the game on three occasions before going down in the last leg. The away team then went further in front witha 4-2 win by Ken McCarthy over Simon Power and extending their lead to 4-1 was David Botterill who after going 2-1 down to Ted Evetts went on to win 4-3.
The half was completed with a second win for the home side, Carl Green reducing the arrears to 4-2 with his 4-1 win over Martin Goodin.
The second half of the match saw Kent’s lead reduced again when Prakash Jiwa beat Mark Pattison 4-1 but their two games buffer was put back in place again with a 4-1 win by Carl Wilson over Paul Deslandes.
It was with four to play and trailing 5-3 that Warwickshire’s fortunes changed for the better, Stephen Ward was made to fight for his 4-3 win over Marc Lee as Lee had had leads of 2-0 and 3-2. Dave Harris also won 4-3 against Owen Olsinia, Olsinia at one stage leading 3-2 but Harris kept going, his win levelling the match at 5-5.
For the first time since the opening game Warwickshire took the lead again in the penultimate game, Matthew Edgar was in top form beating Paul wratten in four straight legs to clinch his second consecutive man of the match award and his fourth of the season with a winning average of 29.91.
It was now all down to the final game between Jimmy Hill (Warwickshire) and Dave Salter as to whether the home side would get their third win of the campaign or have to share the points. Hill won the first then lost the next, he then opened up a 3-1 lead only to see Salter win the next two and draw level at 3-3. The deciding leg saw Hill kick off with 100 and 140 while his counterpart struggled to get going. After Salter had notched a maximum it was all down to the finishing double and it was the home player who found double twenty with his nineteenth dart for a 4-3 win and a 7-5 match win for his team.
The ladies ‘A’ have struggled this season with just one win, four draws and three defeats it has not been one of their better campaigns and although Denise Keyte began the proceedings with a 3-1 win over Jackie Holman they soon found themselves on the wrong side of a 3-1 scoreline as Emma Little beat Trina Gulliver 3-2, Stacey Dawkins won 3-1 against Melanie Hill and Sally Rose had a similar 3-1 win against Angela Jones.
Wendy Adams stopped the rot when she beat Sue Bird 3-1 after Bird had won the opening leg and it was lady of the match Sue Gulliver who salvaged a share of the spoils when in the final game she beat Lauren Bloomfield in three straight legs with a tremendous 28.90 average.
The men’s ‘A’ team had a little bit of an uncomforatble start as Tom Aldridge, after leading 1-0 and 2-1 lost 4-3 to Tyler Reynolds and although Mark Strong cancelled out Kent’s lead when he beat Jordan Dadd 4-3 the visitors took the lead again in the third when Peter Allen won 4-2 against Jamie Atkins.
A man of the match performance from Bob Nixon levelled the match in the fourth, Bob beating Clive Barden 4-3 with a 27.03 average but he was made to fight to the bitter end as Barden drew level three times. Rob Hawker put Warwickshire noses in front for the first time in the fifth game, a 4-2 win against Steve Sidders and with a further 4-3 win from Richard Foster, who had gone 3-0 down against Kevin Smith the home side were 4-2 up at the break.
Pip Blackwell pulled one back for the away team when he won 4-1 against Dean Stewart despite Stewart having the best average of the weekend 30.82. A 4-1 win over Steve Stacey by Mark Westgarth restored Warwickshire’s two games lead but once again Kent came back this time with a 4-0 win from Paul Dawkins over William Naylor taking the score along to 5-4 but still in Warwickshire’s favour.
A draw was guaranteed by Warwickshire’s Noel Grant in the tenth game when he defeated Nigel Fisher 4-0 but the pressure was put on the last two players when Robert Cross (Kent) beat Mark Archer 4-2 after being 2-0 down.
The home side could not have wished for a better man at number twelve than in form Jamie Hughes and he quickly made short work of his opponent Vince Walsh with a straight 4-0 win to give his team a 7-5 victory and an overall win of 21-15.
The win saw Warwickshire finish the season in fifth place with a total of 176 points just seven short of last seasons total of 183.
Premier Division:Warwickshire v Kent (21-15):(Warwickshire names first):Men’s ‘A’:- Tom Aldridge 3 Tyler Reynolds 4, Mark Strong 4 Jordan Dadd 3, Jamie Atkins 2 Peter Allen 4, Bob Nixon 4 Clive Barden 3, Rob Hawker 4 Steve Sidders 2, Richard Foster 4 Kevin Smith 3, Dean Stewart 1 Pip Blakwell 4, Mark Westgarth 4 Steve Stacey 1, Wiliam Naylor 0 Paul Dawkins 4, Noel Grant 4 Nigel Fisher 0, Mark Archer 2 Robert Cross 4, Jamie Hughes 4 Vonce Walsh 0, Men’s ‘B’:- Antony Allen 4 Nigel Payne 2, Tom McGlone 1 Samuel Fuller 4, Michael Spencer 3 Craig Watkins 4, Simon Power 2 Ken McCarthy 4, Ted Evetts 3 David Botterill 4, Carl Green 4 Martin Goodin 1, Prakash Jiwa 4 Mark Pattison 1, Paul Deslandes 1 Carl Wilson 4, Stephen Ward 4 Marc Lee 3, Dave Harris 4 Owen Olsinia 3, Matthew Edgar 4 Paul Wratten 0, Jimmy Hill 4 Dave Salter 3, \women’s ‘A’:- Denise Keyte 3 Jackie Holman 1, Trina Gulliver 2 Emma Little 3, Melanie Hill 1 Stacey Dawkins 3, Angela Jones 1 Sally Rose 3, Wendy Adams 3 Sue Bird 1, Sue Gulliver 3 Lauren Bloomfield 0, Women’s ‘B’:- Kerry Bambridge 3 Steff Duchesne 2, Lucy Keyte 0 Suzanne Campfield 3, Lisa Whitmore 3 Roz Sayer 1, Nina Bolt 0 Melissa Stacey 3, Kirsty Haw 3 Lauren Stacey 0, Kat Spanswick 3 Lisa Behan 1.