Hampshire v Warwickshire
Warwickshire were hoping in their penultimate fixture, and final away game in the Premier Division of the BDO Inter County Championships to, at the worst consolidate their fourth position in the table, and with their hosts two places below them and some 17 points fewer it looked as though they could well return from the south with a win.
The thought of a win was greatly reduced after Saturday’s games as the ladies ‘B’ suffered their biggest defeat of the campaign when they went down 6-0. Claire Cheney began the rout as she beat Marian Conway 3-1 and then there were wins for Dawn Simmonds, Kelly Palmer, Nikki Stevens, Joanne Senior and Pennie Lewis who in turn accounted for Helen Rigg (3-2), Kat Spanswick (3-0), Melanie Jones (3-1), Lucy Keyte (3-0) and Nina Bolt (3-1).
The men’s ‘B’ got off to a good start as Tom Martin won the opener against Andy Newcombe 4-2 after Newcombe had twice taken the lead. James Hykin doubled Warwickshire’s lead when he beat Charlie Jackson, again 4-2 and again after the home player had won the first leg.
Taking the score along to 3-0 was Gareth Braham, Braham handed out a straight 4-0 defeat to Mike Symes and for the second successive fixture took the match award with a 29.91 average. Braham won the first leg in just twelve darts with a 100 checkout after to scores of 180 and 100, he then completed his win in 17,20 and 18 darts.
With a lead of 3-0 the ladies 6-0 defeat was halfway to being wiped out but then the hosts strung together a couple of wins and everything changed. James Nicholson was Hampshire’s first winner when he won 4-3 against Adam Paxton after Paxton had come from one down to lead 3-1. Steve Musson reduced the arrears to 3-2 with a 4-0 win over Luke Kennedy but by the midway point it was the visitors who held a 4-2 lead after Robert Comben added his 4-1 result over David Coffin to their tally.
From 4-2 up things turned sour for Warwickshire as the home side strung together four consecutive wins as Graham Chalk began the winning quartet with his 4-3 win over Mark Carter after Carter had taken the lead no fewer than three times. Sam Head (Hampshire) had his lead cancelled out twice by Carl Green but went on to win 4-2 and giving the home team the lead for the first time in the games was Kev Woodward who in the ninth encounter saw his opponent Mark Strong open a 2-0 lead and then go 3-2 up before losing 4-3. A 4-0 win over Karl Reynolds by Steve Jannaway put Hampshire within an ace of victory and they looked all set to celebrate when Mick Street won the first two legs against David Hill, however Hill then won the following three legs and despite being taken to a decider by Street won the seventh leg in 17 darts to take the running score to 6-5 to the hosts with one to play.
Mark Thorne (Hampshire) won the opening two legs against Tom McGlone, McGlone won the third but wins in the next two legs gave Thorne the 4-2 result and his team a 7-5 victory.
The ladies ‘A’ like the ladies ‘B’ are without a win so far this season and the Hampshire game was to do nothing to alter that fact as the home team opened up a 3-0 lead. Jane Monaghan won 3-1 against Caroline Pike, Maria Agozzino beat Angela Jones 3-2 and Tracy North won 3-0 against Donna Pinch.
Sue Gulliver winner of four previous lady of the match awards, two of them coming in the last two fixtures, was again in top form making it five awards with her 3-0 win over Abi Jurd. Sue had winning legs of 22,22 and 21 darts to give her a super 23.12 average. Natalie Gilbert (Warwickshire) lost the first leg to Jo Rolls but was quick to respond and went on to win 3-1 and reduce the deficit to 3-2.
The final game saw the home player Sue Lowther record a 3-0 win over Wendt Adams to give a result of 4-2 to Hampshire.
The opening five games of the men’s ‘A’ match all went with the first throw advantage which saw Warwickshire take the lead three times. Two times award winner Ian McFarlane was first on and he won 4-1 against Troy Butler. Mike Gillet came from two down against Antony Allen to go on and win 4-2 to level the score but only to see Steve Giddings restore Warwickshire’s one game lead when he beat Linton Hickman 4-2, Linton having won the first and fifth legs.
Gary Stafford was Hampshire’s second winner, a 4-2 result over Tom Aldridge after Aldridge had levelled in the second and fourth legs.
In eighteen darts Darren Barnes won the first leg against Dean Stewart but that was to be his only win as Stewart ran out the 4-1 winner, it was then at this point that the sequence was broken. As the game went into the halfway mark Kevin Dowling won 4-2 against Bradley Kirk to give Warwickshire a 4-2 lead.
A 4-2 win over Paul Winter by Charlie Symons extended the away team’s lead to 5-2 which was taken to 6-2 when Warwickshire’s man of the match Steve Hine beat Andy Mitchell 4-1 in 18,15,19 and 17 darts for a 27.79 average.
The all-important seventh win was put up in the ninth when Jamie Atkins accounted for Chas Barstow with a 4-2 result and making it 8-2 was Nigel Heydon who after going down 3-0 to Stephen Phipps staged a momentous comeback to go on and win 4-3.
With the match already won by Warwickshire the last two games went in favour of Hampshire as Richard North won 4-1 against Ian Shaw after Shaw had gone 1-0 up and Luke Getty beat Noel Grant 4-3 in a game that saw Getty go 1-0 up, Grant level at 1-1, Getty go 2-1 up and Grant then take a 3-2 lead before Getty won the last two legs for a very close 4-3 win.
The final score 8-4 to Warwickshire men’s ‘A’ which gave an overall weekend’s result of 21-15 to Hampshire.
The defeat see’s Warwickshire drop one place to fifth in the table nine points behind fourth placed Glamorgan and eight ahead of Hampshire who move up to sixth.