West Midlands began life in the top flight of darts in the premier division of the BDO Inter County Championships last season with an 18-18 draw at Devon and although they lost the second fixture 19-17 to neighbouring Warwickshire then won the next two. Unfortunately after that it all went downhill as they lost all five of their remaining games. They opened up their new campaign with a home tie against newly promoted Northamptonshire and with home advantage plus their opponents coming up from a lower division a win was certainly expected by most.
The opening honours for the ladies ‘B’ game all went to Northamptonshire as opener Jacky White, despite being pegged back to level terms twice by Shellbie Simmons, went on to win 3-2 and then doubling the visitors lead was Heather Thompson who lost the first two legs to Elizabeth Arnold and won the next three for a second 3-2 win for the guests.
It took a lady of the match win from Shannon Hall to stop the away team’s charge, Shannon beating Sandra Simmons 3-1 and taking the award for her top average of 21.33.
On at number four and making her debut for the West Midlands after her spell with Shropshire was Kat McLean who opened her account with an encouraging straight 3-0 win over Faye Mason to level the score at 2-2, looks like quite an acquisition for the West Midlands.
Gail Fullthorpe (Northamptonshire) took the match to the sixth game to sort a result as she beat Jacqueline Maiden 3-0 in the fifth and on at number six for West Midlands was Heather Wright who earned her team mates a 3-3 draw when she beat Amy Chappell 3-1.
As with the ladies ‘B’ the men’s ‘B’ also lost the opening two games as Adam Bull and Mark Stanley in turn won 4-2 against Ash Khayatt and Paul Wells.
An impressive 4-0 win from Trevor Brennon stopped the visitor’s charge, Brennon beating Stuart Gilmore before Neil Pointon levelled the match at two each in the fourth when he added his 4-2 win over Paul Shepherd to the home team’s score. Then with a further 4-2 win from Matthew Dicken against Graham Roberts the hosts had turned a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead but only to see the score level once again at the break as David Pallet beat Shane Price 4-2.
The first four games of the second half all went in favour of the first throw advantage with Northamptonshire going ahead through Phil Coward’s 4-1 win over Martin Greenwood and the game levelled thanks to a 4-1 win from West Midlands Robert Smith against Colin Gray. Smith was in tremendous form going 3-0 up against Gray in 16, 14 and 15 darts and although Gray won the fourth in 18 Smith wrapped up his win in the fifth with another 15 darts leg to give him an award winning average of 32.09 the best BDO ‘B’ side average of the weekend.
For a third time the away team took the lead when in the ninth John Regan won 4-2 against Mark Rollinson giving them a narrow 5-4 advantage.
The last three players for the West Midlands all had 23 plus averages, Avtar Singh (23.23) winning 4-1 against Jason Lovell to level the game, Kevin Bambrick (23.91) beating Chuck Scott 4-2 to put West Midlands in front and anchor man Jonathan Platt (23.03) adding his straight 4-0 win over Shane Prowse to give the West Midlands ‘B’ team a 7-5 win.
The ladies ‘A’ team finished last season with six defeats, the last five of them being 5-1 and unfortunately that was the score in this season’s first curtain raiser.
Rebecca Barrow won the first game against Cheryl Alcock 3-0 and although Lisa Badger trailed 1-0 and then opened a 2-1 lead over Jo Johnson she went down 3-2. Gemma Barrett was another player to lose 3-0 as she played Shanon Tompkins and with a further 3-1 win from Angela Barrow over Kath Jenkins the game was won in the first four games by Northamptonshire.
Sarah Roberts, winner of many match awards for the West Midlands once again recorded an impressive 22.68 average but it was not enough to beat an in form Rebecca Rose who took the away team’s award with her 25.33 average.
The last game of the ladies ‘B’ went the full five legs distance with Debbie Loon (West Midlands) having her lead cancelled out twice by Sara Rose before sealing a 3-2 win to take the hosts match award with a 16.40 average and putting the final score at 5-1.
Another player to join West Midlands from Shropshire this season was Kevin Harris who opened the men’s ‘A’ match playing against Liam Fox whose magnificent 36.44 average saw him win 4-0 against Harris. The second game went the full distance West Midlands Glen McGrandle turning in a fine performance to win 4-3 against Chris Jones, both players averaging over 25.00.
Mark Craddock went 1-0 and 3-2 up against Ben Goodger but it was Goodger who got the 4-3 result to put the visitor’s noses in front once again.
Nick Fullwell was West Midlands second winner when at number four he accounted for Luke Smith with a 4-2 result including three sixteen darts legs for Fullwell plus a 151 game shot to win the game.
By the midway point of the match Northamptonshire had opened up a 4-2 lead as Ricky Evans beat Adam Edgar 4-3 after Edgar had gone 2-0 up and Martin Biggs won 4-2 against Liam Kelly.
The second half began with a man of the match performance from West Midlands man Gavin Baker who amazingly went within one leg of defeat as he trailed 3-0 to Tony Littleton. Despite the huge deficit Baker clawed his way back to level terms with winning legs of 14, 15 and 17 darts and then rounded off a great win with another 15 darts leg to give him a superb 29.65 average.
The close 4-3 running total didn’t last long as Northamptonshire strung together four win’s in a row. Stephen Tompkins beat Ian Jones 4-1, Dave Walker won 4-0 against Alfie Jacques and chalking up the magical seventh win for the away team was Andy Tee who was taken to a seventh leg by Matthew Dicken before winning 4-3. The fourth winner and making 8-3 was Dan Wheatley with his 4-2 success against Scott Baker before Dan Nicholls made the final score a little more respectable for the hosts when he won 4-3 against Chris Shipley after he had trailed 3-1.
Knockout cups have been the order of the day for the South Birmingham Summer League the first of which was the Mixed Doubles which saw Sue Kingdon and Jake Webster beat Chris Meigh and Holly Brooks 2-0 in the final.
Webster made it a double win when he teamed up with Dave Clinton in the Captains and Secretaries Cup and went on to beat Paul Bryant and Gavin Jones 2-1 in the final.
The Captains Cup was won by Neil Parsonage who despite being taken to a deciding leg beat Paul Bryant in the final 2-1 to take the title.
The Secretaries Cup saw that man again Jake Webster making it a hat trick of wins when he won 2-1 in the final against Gavin Jones to make it three superb titles.
The doubles knockout saw Neil Parsonage add yet another title to his never ending list of wins as he and his partner Martin Heaven won the final 2-0 against Chris Cooke and Paul Bryant.
Both of the semi-finals finished with a 2-0 scoreline Parsonage and Heaven beating Mark Birch and Mo Anwar while Cooke and Bryant accounted for Jamie Carter and Wayne Cooper.
The ladies singles title went to Charlie Kingdon, a final 2-0 result over her mother Sue Kingdon. Once again the last four games were both won 2-0 with Sue beating Courtney Burns and Charlie winning against Melissa Beale.
The Forest of Arden Summer League have also been heavily involved in cup finals, their doubles knockout seeing Terry Constable and Sue Kingdon winning 2-0 against Kevin White and Kenny Brush in the semis before they went on to win the final by the same 2-0 margin against Jason Jennings and Darren Wilson.
Trevor Edwards (Treasurer) Terry Constable and Sue Kingdon Winners
Jennings and Wilson won the semi-final game against Simon Edwards and John Sidwell 2-1.
The team doubles knockout was made up of the two divisional champions Journeys End from group ‘A’ and Dunky’s Boys from group ‘B’.
The game was a high scoring affair with Journeys recording 28 tons or over to Dunky’s 24 which included maximums for Bob Nixon and Peter Yardley. The result was a very close 5-4 going in favour of Journeys End.
‘A’ champions Journeys End made it a fantastic double when they beat Highwood KB 8-1 to clinch the divisional cup title.
The group ‘B’ final, as in the group ‘A’ final went to the group champions as Dunky’s Boys handed out a 7-2 defeat to C’s Shamrocks.
The C’s Club Double Top League staged their double knockout and in the first of the semi-finals Dave Kingdon and Wayne Cooper lost out 3-1 to Neil Parsonage and Melissa Beale. The second semi was a 3-0 result going to Mitchell Mann and Jamie Carter as they accounted for Steve Whatmore and Charlie Kingdon.
After the early rounds the final was extended to the best of seven legs and with a straight 4-0 win Neil Parsonage and Melissa Beale defeated Mitchell Mann and Jamie Carter to take the title.
Winners Neil Parsonage and Melisa Beale with Organiser Sue Kingdon (Centre)
-Runners Up Mitchell Mann and Jamie Carter with Organiser Sue Kingdon (Centre)
At the time of going to print the Shirley Premier League has just a handful of outstanding games remaining but the main issues have all been sorted as Steve Sidwell ended his campaign with 4-0 wins over Neil Comerford and Trevor Carter to give him the title and take his points tally to 105 from 32 games, an advantage of ten points over league runner up Phil Thomas who in turn was five points to the good on third placed Mark Henderson.
The first of the semi-finals for the Netherton Thursdauy Night League’s 3 A-Side knockout saw K.Wright, S.Priest and J.Gennard (Bulls Head) win 2-0 against C.Hickman, A.Tonks and R.Taylor (Dudley Ex Serviceman’s Club). In the second semi Fairfield were only able to field two players and despite a spirited performance from S.Turley and D.Shilvock they lost 2-0 to K.Barnfield, B.Neale and J.Sharratt (Riddins Tavern).
The final saw the advantage sway one way then the other as the Riddins trio went 1-0 up and then trailed 2-1. The game went to 2-2 before Bulls Head’s threesome of Wright, Priest and Gennard won the decider for a very close 3-2 verdict over Barnfield, Neale and Sharratt.
The Cradley Tuesday Night League played off their shadow league cup final and taking the honours with a 5-4 result over Gate Hangs Well was Netherton Cricket Club ‘A’.
The Sutton and District Summer League played off their 5 A-Side knockout and with a straight 3-0 scoreline in the final Golden Hind beat The Fox to clinch the title. Golden Hind won their last four game against Drakes Drum 5-0 while Fox had a much closer 3-2 success against Erdington Arrows.
A very encouraging 33 teams entered the doubles knockout and taking the title with a very close 3-2 win in the final against A.Kimberley and B.Linnecor were M.Archer and W.Mynard.
In the last four games Archer and Mynard beat T.O’Kereke and D.Vickers 2-0 and with the same result Kimberley and Linnecor defeated M.Wild and N.Smallwood.
The league wound down their season with the finals of their Prestridge Shield and Roy Bird Trophy. The Prestridge Shield saw Golden Hind, who finished the season third in division one lose 6-3 to sixth placed Bishop Vesey, Hind never recovering after going 5-0 down.
The Roy Bird final went to the wire with Old Oscott Arrows winning the encounter in the very last leg of the last game for an extremely close 5-4 victory.
The Ripley Elite Darts Singles League have completed yet another fantastic season in what was their most competitive so far and saw them pay out a massive total in excess of £7,100 over the two divisions.
The premier division title went to the wire, the very last game of the last week deciding the divisional winner. In that game Dale Gadsby beat Jamie Caven to take the title in a very tense game, the win taking Gadsby’s total points for the season to 146 just three more than runner up Caven, Gadsby collecting the top prize of £500 as the premier division champion.
Premier Division Champion Dale Gadsby
The individual prizes were dominated by PDC professional Jamie Caven who in his first season in the league hit the most maximums (33), had the highest finish (170), the highest average (34.95) and shared the least darts of eleven with Paul Baker, Pete Burgoyne, Dale Gadsby and Ian Richardson.
After a couple of years lay off Wayne Pepper returned to Ripley Elite Darts Singles League scene and toasted his comeback by winning the division one title. He had a season long battle with Steve Paling for the title suffering just one defeat in his 23 games and that was to Paling. The end of season saw Pepper finish with a total of 121 points and Paling as runner up had 113.
Division One Champion Wayne Pepper
Together with Pepper and Paling, Andy Baker Alan Clegg and Wayne Howe all won promotion to the premier division next season.
On the individual scene Paling also won the most 180’s (15), the least darts (12) and highest average (29.23) while the highest finish went to Ty Ward (158).