After two consecutive seasons in the top flight of darts West Midlands reign has come to an end despite ending their campaign with a creditable 18-18 draw away to Glamorgan who finished fourth in the Premier Division of the BDO Inter County Championships.
The ladies ‘B’ only lost one of their opening seven fixtures recording three wins and two draws but the penultimate game of the season saw them go down 5-1 at home to Lancashire, a score that was repeated in the final fixture away to Glamorgan and yet first blood went to West Midlands as opener Shellbie Simmons beat Jan Robbins 3-2 after Robbins won the first and fourth legs. As Shellbie was the only winner the match award went to her for her 17.65 average.
Sophie Singh looked all set to double the West Midlands lead when she won the first two legs against Eve Watson but Watson in 19,20 and 21 darts won the following three legs for a 3-2 win.
Despite a 116 game shot in the third leg Kath Jenkins lost 3-1 to Donna Thomas and with a further 3-2 win from Joanne Pugh against Stella Sims a win for the West Midlands was beyond their reach.
The actual win came in the fifth for Glamorgan when Sandra Quinn won 3-1 against Heather Wright after Wright had won the first leg and with a similar 3-1 result Sam Bowen made it 5-1 to Glamorgan when she defeated Claire Hobbs.
Mick Baker gave West Midlands a winning start to the men’s ‘B’ game as he won in four straight legs against Ron Morgan but from one up they then trailed 2-1 as Dai Caller beat Scott Hall 4-1 and Sean Fisher won 4-0 against Alex Simmons.
Kevin Bambrick was the man to restore parity as he kicked off his game against Daniel Thomas with a 119 checkout in 18 darts and then went 2-0 up with a further 16 darts leg. Thomas won the third and Bambrick the fourth, the fifth went to Thomas but it was all over in the sixth when Bambrick checked out in 15 darts for a 4-2 victory.
Restoring the away teams lead was Shane Price, Price, like Bambrick began with a big outshot as he won the first leg on 108, he then lost the second leg to Ralph Barnett but won the following two and although his opponent levelled in the sixth Price won 4-3 with a double eight finish in the seventh.
By the break the score was 4-2 to West Midlands after Matthew Dicken added his 4-3 win over Tim Jones who had taken the lead three times.
Jonathan Platt (West Midlands) went ahead twice against Gareth Partridge but it was Partridge who got the eventual 4-3 result.
Neil Pointon was made to fight all the way for his 4-3 win against Hywell Manuel as Manuel with a 127 game shot won the first and levelled in the sixth with a tremendous 167 checkout, but it was Pointon who won the decider in 18 darts to put West Midlands 5-3 up.
Paul Wells had finishes of 116 and 100 against Dan Thompson but it was Thompson who got the 4-3 win to reduce the arrears to 5-4 and with a 4-2 success for Jeff Thomas against Mark Watkiss-Allen Glamorgan were back in the game on level terms at 5-5.
Although Gareth Johnston was pegged back to level terms three times by Dai Powell he went on to seal a 4-3 victory to keep hopes of a win alive for the away side, a win that was confirmed in style by anchor man Trevor Brennon who actually went 1-0 and 2-1 down to Wayne Davies but then won the fourth leg in 18 darts to level at two each then went ahead with a 130 outshot and rounded off a superb 4-2 win with a fantastic 151 game shot to give West Midlands men’s ‘B’ their third win of the campaign 7-5.
Without a win from their opening eight games the ladies ‘A’ team were hoping to end on a high and raising their hopes in the first game was Sarah Roberts. With four previous match awards under her belt Sarah chalked up a straight 3-0 win over Nicky Biddick in 21,18 and 20 darts to make it five match awards with a tremendous 25.47 average.
The West Midlands lead lasted for just one game as Glamorgan’s Chris Savvery beat Gemma Barrett 3-1 but only to see the visiting team take the lead again in the third when Lisa Badger won 3-0 against Claire Crocombe and with another 3-0 win from Kat McLean in the fourth over Michelle Jones the West Midlands were within a whisker of their first win of the campaign.
The fourth straight win of the match went to Glamorgan’s Rhian O’Sullivan when she beat Cheryl Alcock and in the final encounter despite Jacqueline Maiden winning the first leg against Alannah Waters-Evans it was the home player who got the 3-1 result to earn the hosts a share of the spoils.
The men’s ‘A’ team have not enjoyed the best of season’s with six defeats and only two wins from their first eight games but their final match began well for them as Gavin Baker after leading 1-0 against Richie Edwards then went 3-1 down fought back to win 4-3. Shaun Carroll made it 2-0 with his similar 4-3 win over Clive Langford and again he had to fight for his win as Langford had gone 1-0 and 3-2 up.
Nick Fullwell was in top form as he began his encounter against David Rogers with a 13 darts leg hitting 140,100,100,137 and checked out on double twelve. He then, with top scores of 100,140 and 140 won the second in 14 darts and made it 3-0 when he added another 13 darts leg hitting 140,45,180.96 and finished on double twenty. Rogers recorded his one and only win in the fifth an 18 darts leg before Fullwell wrapped up a superb 4-1 win in 20 darts with a fantastic man of the match average of 33.33.
Glen McGrandle was another player in fine form as he handed out a 4-1 defeat to Leighton Jones, McGrandle recording a 26.51 average to take the score to 4-0 in West Midlands favour.
Game number five saw the home team chalk up their first win when Cavan Phillips beat John Morris 4-2 but by the halfway mark the score was 5-1 to the away team as Scott Baker added a 4-3 win over Wayne Davies to their tally. Baker was taken to a decider after Davies had gone 1-0 and 3-1 up.
As the second half got underway Graham Brooks pulled one back for Glamorgan with a 4-3 win over Shane Price but with 4-2 wins from Matthew Coleman and Owen Maiden over respective opponents Lloyd Browning and Keirion Carter West Midlands, with a 7-2 lead were home and dry.
Jeff Bass (Glamorgan) took a 2-0 lead over Mark Craddock and although Craddock then reversed the lead going 3-2 up it was Bass who won the last two legs for a 4-3 victory.
In the penultimate tie James Richards had a 4-0 win against Matthew Dicken and with Dale Hughes winning 4-2 against Ian Jones in the final game of the weekend the result was a 7-5 win for West Midlands.
The 18-18 draw was not enough for West Midlands to survive in the Premier Division as their 139 points was ten short of the team just above them Northamptonshire and so together with Cheshire they will play next season in division one.
Full Results:Premier Division:Glamorgan v West Midlands (18-18):\Glamorgan names first):Men’s ‘A’:- Richie Edwards 3 Gavin Baker 4, Clive Langford 3 Shaun Carroll 4, David Rogers 1 Nick Fullwell 4, Leigton Jones 1 Glen McGrandle 4, Cavan Phillips 4 John Morris 2, Wayne Davies 3 Scott Baker 4, Graham Brooks 4 Shane Price 3, Lloyd Browning 2 Matthew Coleman 4, Keirion Carter 2 Owen Maiden 4, Jeff Bass 4 Mark Craddock 3, James Richards 4 Matthew Dicken 0, Dale Hughes 4 Ian Jones 2, Men’s ‘B’:- Ron Morgan 0 Mick Baker 4, Dai Caller 4 Scott Hall 1, Sean Fisher 4 Alex Simmons 0, Daniel Thomas 2 Kevin Bambrick 4, Ralph Barnett 3 Shane Price 4, Tim Jones 3 Matthew Dicken 4, Gareth Partridge 4 Jonathan Platt 3, Hywell Manuel 3 Neil Pointon 4, Dan Thompson 4 Paul Wells 3, Jeff Thomas 4 Mark Watkiss-Allen 2, Dai Powell 3 Gareth Johnston 4, Wayne Davies 2 Trevor Brennon 4, Women’s ‘A’:- Nicky Biddick 0 Sarah Roberts 3, Chris Savvery 3 Gemma Barrett 1, Claire Crocombe 0 Lisa Badger 3, Michelle Jones 0 Kat McLean 3, Rhian O’Sullivan 3 Cheryl Alcock 0, Alannah Waters-Evans 3 Jacqueline Maiden 1, Women’s ‘B’:- Jan Robbins 2 Shellbie Simmons 3, Eve Watson 3 Sophie Singh 2, Donna Thomas 3 Kath Jenkins 1, Joanne Pugh 3 Stella Sims 2, Sandra Quinn 3 Heather Wright 1, Sam Bowen 3 Claire Hobbs 1.
With the season ended and as a warm-up before the new thirteenth season gets underway the Shirley Legion Double Top League (formerly the Shirley Premier League) have been running a series of singles knockouts and in the third of these seventeen players turned out and in his first appearance in the knockouts Wayne Clarke made his way into the final after an impressive 3-0 win over Thomas Bent, a close 3-2 win against Steve Heeks and a 3-1 success in the semis over Mark Gwalchmai.
From the other side of the draw Mark Henderson with a 3-2 wins over Mick Bown, Craig Clarke and John Smyth reached the final where once again he had a familiar 3-2 win over Wayne Clarke.
In the next of the knockouts Mark Henderson for the second consecutive week reached the final where he made it two successive wins. In the opening two rounds he won 3-0 against Dave Heighway and Mick Bown. He then progressed to the semis with a 3-1 success over Craig Clarke and booked his final place with a close 3-2 win over Chris Thomas.
Jordan Ottley made the final for the first time with a bye in round one, a 3-2 win over Jack Barrows followed by a 3-1 victory against Steve Harper and then in a close 3-2 semi-final beat Sam Hicks. The final saw Ottley lose 3-1 to mark Henderson.
The last of the warm-up knockouts saw Gary Cleverley begin his quest for the title with a maximum and 3-1 win over Steve Harper. He then had a straight 3-0 success against Thomas Bent and booked his place in the final with a close 3-2 verdict over the winner for the past two weeks Mark Henderson.
Ken Hopton, a man who is steadily recapturing his top form moved into the quarter finals with a 3-0 win over Sean Talbot and following a much closer 3-2 success over Dave Heighway then made the final with a similar 3-2 win against Colin Geens.
The final result was 4-1 going to Ken Hopton with Gary Cleverley runner-up.
The Small Heath League have been busy playing off four of their competitions, first the Jim Haveron 3 A-Side knockout which saw Heartlands Club provide two of the four teams but with mixed results. The ‘B’ team lost 6-3 to East Birmingham Allotment Holders Association ‘B’ while the ‘C’ side progressed to the final with a 7-2 win over Sheldon Marlborough Arrows.
The final result was a close 5-4 going in favour of East Birmingham Allotment Holders Association ‘B’ with Heartlands Club ‘B’ runners-up.
Both of the last four games in the Captains Cup finished 2-0 with wins for Colin Wyatt (East Birmingham Allotment Holders Association) and Alan Cheshire (Wagon and Horses) who in turn defeated C.Austin and S.McCarthy. The final went to the wire with Colin Wyatt just getting the 2-1 edge on Cheshire.
The third of the league’s finals was the Secretaries Knockout which saw Mick O’Sullivan (Sheldon Marlborough Arrows) win 2-1 against Alex Downes (Heartlands Club). In the semis O’Sullivan and Downes won 2-0 in turn against R.Pikey and P.Webster.
The last of the four competitions was the Ladies Knockout in which Launa Wyatt (East Birmingham Allotment Holders Association) beat Ann O’Sullivan (Sheldon Marlborough Arrows) 2-0 to take the title.
The Henley and District Winter League has completed all of its domestic fixtures, it’s been a very successful season with Studley Cricket Club winning all of their fourteen games. The Cricket Club finished six points ahead of runners-up Studley Conservative Club who for most of the campaign were hot on the heels of the champions but then faltered in the final run-in.
On the individual scene Kevin James (Studley Cricket Club) was the Players League Champion, while his team mates Dale Evans and Roger Allbut in turn won the most 180’s and highest break. The highest finish went to Alan Marsh (Wootton Bears) and the most tons was recorded by Dean Harris (Studley Conservative Club).
The Royal, Albrighton staged the latest of their knockouts the Royal Easter Knockout which saw Connor Jeffs (Selsey) collect the winners £100. Jeffs won the final against Sam Guest (Wednesfield) 6-2 with Guest receiving £50.
In the last four games Jeffs beat Steve Richie (Shifnal) 5-3 and Guest won 5-4 against Mark Lloyd (Wednesfield), both losing semi-finalists picked up £15.
Congratulations go to the Allen’s Sports Bar ‘A’ side of Iain Mathers, Scott Baker, Dan Nicholls, Nick Fullwell, Adam Edgar, Alfie Jacques, Mat Tedstone, Matt Dicken, Ash Hykin, James Hykin and Lewis Law who with three more games to go won the West Midlands Men’s Super League title.
As the season drew to an end the final table saw Allen’s Sports Bar ‘A’ finish with 33 wins from 34 games and amass a total of 209 points thirty more than runners-up Yeltz Bar who finished just two points to the good on their nearest rivals third placed Woodside Inn.