County Durham v West Midlands

West Midlands went into their penultimate fixture playing away against County Durham in division one of the BDO Inter County Championships second in the promotion table, just four points adrift of divisional leaders Hampshire and more importantly seven ahead of promotion rivals London who were third in the table.

Kim Fellows opened up for the ladies ‘B’ team and went one up against Karol Dagga and had it not been for elusive finishing doubles could Fellows have won the tie but as it was it was Dagga who put the home team one up with her 3-2 result.

Shellbie Simmons restored parity for the Midlands team when she beat Sandra Cairns 3-1 and with a straight 3-0 win for Heather Wright over Liz Tait West Midlands had turned the game around and were leading 2-1.

On at number four for the away side was Shannon Hall who with her 3-1 win over Tania Weldon not only assured her team of at the worst a draw but also earned herself her second consecutive match award for her 16.26 average.

The result was left hinging on the final game after Dawn Winn beat Elizabeth Arnold 3-0 in the fifth encounter and lining up for the West Midlands in the vital final game was Jacqueline Maiden who faced up to Sharon Storey. The first leg went to Storey but that was going to be the only leg she won as Maiden took the next three legs to secure a personal win of 3-1 and a team win 0f 4-2.

With four wins in their previous five games the men’s ‘B’ side were on a high but their game didn’t have the best of starts as David Price (County Durham) beat Mark Allen-Watkiss 3-0 and Lee Wright won 3-1 against Danny Coyle to put the hosts 20 up. Neil Pointon pulled one back in style for the West Midlands when he handed Paul Johnson a straight 3-0 defeat, Pointon averaging 27.83, but it was the home side that quickly restored their two games advantage when Robert Howe won 3-2 against Mark Rollinson.

Matthew Dicken (West Midlands) twice had his lead cancelled out by Martin Farmer before going on to clinch a 3-2 win in 17 darts and with a superb performance from Mark Craddock to win 3-0 against Gary Miller with a 27.83 average, the West Midlands were on level terms at 3-3.

Dean Mills took the first leg against Robert Douthwaite but it was the home team’s Douthwaite who got the 3-1 result to give County Durham the lead once more before their opponents recorded their best run of the match, three wins in a row all started by Daniel Nicholls when he won 3-1 against Stephen Annan after Annan had won the opening leg. Michael Baker gave West Midlands the lead for the first time in the game when he defeated Gerry Hall in straight legs and with a 3-2 win for Paul Price against Dean Scott, Price coming from 1-0 and 2-1 down, things were looking much better as a draw was now guaranteed.

The second last game saw Mark Hampton (West Midlands) twice go ahead against John Teal but the 3-2 scoreline finally went to Teal to leave the result hinging on the final game of the day.

Anchor man for the West Midlands was Paul Wells and for County Durham Darren Melderis, it was a clean sweep for Wells as he won 3-0 with his opponent unable to reach an outshot in any of the three legs. The win from Wells giving the West Midlands a hard fought but well deserved 7-5 victory

The West Midlands match award went to both Neil Pointon and Mark Craddock as both of them recorded identical 27.83 averages.

In the first of the ladies ‘A’ games Lisa Badger (West Midlands) was made to fight all the way by Linda Ithurralde for her 3-2 win as Ithurralde levelled in both the second and fourth legs. Angela McDonald wiped out Badger’s win when she beat Kath Jenkins 3-0 and although Sophie Singh came from 1-0 down to 2-1 up in her game against Jennifer Summerson, she eventually lost 3-2.

 And London Gemma Barret chalked up West Midlands second win cancelling out County Durham’s lead when she defeated Margaret Stewart 3-1.

A win for West Midlands in the penultimate game was never in doubt as it was in the safe hands of Sarah Roberts who raced to a 3-0 victory over Allison Wells with a terrific 23.48 average to seal her fourth lady of the match award for the season.

Debbie Loon levelled in the second leg against Clare Stewart but it was the home team’s Stewart who went on to win 3-1 and take the final score to three each.

The men’s ‘A’ team have enjoyed a great season so far with five wins in seven games and in this latest fixture the game followed the same pattern throughout whereby the hosts would win one game and West Midlands would follow up by winning two. So it was Leo Middleton who gave the home team first blood with his 4-2 win against Gavin Baker, then man of the match Scott Baker with his 4-2 win over Keith Gowland levelled the game at 1-1, he chalked up wining legs of 14,15,18 and 18 darts in which he checked out on 101 in the second and sealed his win in the sixth with a superb 155 finish giving him a 28.15 average and the match award. Adding to Baker’s win was Glen McGrandle who beat Paddy Lenagh 4-0.

Craig Anderson provided the hosts second win in game four when he got the better of Sam Guest with a 4-2 result. It was then time for another couple of wins for the visitors and they were provided by Ian Jones and Ashe Khayat who in turn won 4-2 against Paul Clark and Davy Gill

Reducing the arrears for County Durham and recording their third win was Raymond Foreman who won his game with Jonathan Platt 4-0.

Another two in a row and another two 4-2 wins were supplied for West Midlands by Gareth Watts and Daniel Nicholls who beat respective opponents Kevin Naunton and Ian Adamson to open up a 6-3 lead.

In an attempt to keep the home team in the hunt for a draw John Dalton got the better of John Morris with a 4-2 scoreline only to see Shaun Carroll confirm a West Midlands win when he won 4-1 against Carl Hamilton before Nick Fullwell took the final score to 8-4 in West Midlands favour when he beat Steve Hayers 4-2.

The overall score for the weekend was a 22-14 win for West Midlands while their promotion rivals, leaders Hampshire won their home tie with Gwent 27-9 and London, who also played at home, beat Cornwall 23-13 to leave Hampshire top of the table on 197 points, West Midlands second with 179 and London third just one point behind West Midlands with 178.

By the time this article goes to print West Midlands will have hosted London in the final game of the season, a game which will now decide who will join Hampshire in the premier division next season.

Full Results:Division One:County Durham v West Midlands (14-22)🙁County Durham names first):Men’s ‘A’:- Leo Middleton 4 Gavin Baker 2, Keith Gowland 2 Scott Baker 4, Paddy Lenagh 0 Glen McGrandle 4, Craig Anderson 4 Sam Guest 2, Paul Clark 2 Ian Jones 4, Davy Gill 2 Ashe Khayat 4, Raymond Foreman 4 Jonathan Platt 0, Kevin Naunton 2 Gareth Watts 4, Ian Adamson 2 Daniel Nicholls 4, John Dalton 4 John Morris 2, Carl Hamilton 1 Shaun Carroll 4, Steve Hayers 2 Nick Fullwell 4, Men’s ‘B’:- David Price 3 Marl Allen-Watkiss 0, Lee Wright 3 Danny Coyle 1, Paul Johnson 0 Neil Pointon 3, Robert Howe 3 Mark Rollinson 2, Martin Farmer 2 Matthew Dicken 3, Gary Miller 0 Mark Craddock 3, Robert Douthwaite 3 Dean Mills 1, Stephen Annan 1 Daniel Nicholls 3, Gerry Hall 0 Michael Baker 3, Dean Scott 2 Paul Price 3, John Teal 3 Mark Hampton 2, Darren Melderis 0 Paul Wells 3, Women’s ‘A’:- Linda Ithurralde 2 Lisa Badger 3, Angela McDonald 3 Kath Jenkins 0, Jennifer Summerson 3 Sophie Singh 2, Margaret Stewart 1 Gemma Barrett 3, Allison Wells 0 Sarah Roberts 3, Clare Stewart 3 Debbie Loon 1, Women’s ‘B’:- Karrol Dagga 3 Kim Fellows 2, Sandra Cairns 1 Shellbie Simmons 3, Liz Tait 0 Heather Wright 3, Tania Weldon 1 Shannon Hall 3, Dawn Winn 3 Elizabeth Arnold 0, Sharon Storey 1 Jacqueline Maiden 3.