Shropshire v Tyne and Wear

Shropshire began their new season in Division Four of the BDO Inter County Championships as they did last season with a fixture against Tyne and Wear and although they earned a very creditable draw away to Tyne and Wear last season this campaign they went one better and for the first time in my five years of writing their reports they began the season with a fantastic win.

Saturday’s ladies ‘B’ game didn’t get off to a very good start as the visitors opened up a 2-0 lead when Karen Murry beat Julie Pugh 3-0 in the opener and Marie Seago won 3-1 against Tammy Walmsley. Lady of the match Julie Griffiths stopped the Tyne and Wear charge when she won 3-1 against Wendy Huskisson. Julie went 2-0 up and although her opponent reduced the arrears in the third a 25 darts leg in the fourth gave her the win and the match award for her 15.25 average.

Game number four was another 3-1 result, the third in a row and again it went to the hosts as Sue Lane accounted for Flo Kippen to square the game at two each.

Tyne and Wear took the lead again in the penultimate game when Tracey Curry won 3-1 against Suzie Barnham but with the fifth consecutive 3-1 result going to Shropshire’s Rachael Mooney when she defeated Sheila Douglas the final score was a repeat of last season’s result 3-3.

Mark Bayliss got proceedings underway for the men’s ‘B’ and went 2-0 up in 17 and 15 darts with a 120 checkout in the second against Ian Thoms. However despite Bayliss being within an ace of victory Thoms turned the game around and with wins in the next three legs he took the 3-2 result after both players had numerous darts to win the final leg.

Chris Williams was in fine form as he handed his opponent Steve Dykes a 4-0 whitewash to level the game for the home side. The third game was nip and tuck as Philly Dunn (Tyne and Wear) won the first leg only to see Andy Vellender then go 2-1 up and although the Shropshire man had darts at finishing doubles in the last two legs it was Dunn who got the 3-2 verdict.

The away team went further ahead in the fourth when their Alan Jordan won 3-1 against Richard Bowen to open up a 3-1 lead but by the midway point of the game it was all square as Connor Jeffs beat Andrew Ambler 3-1 and Sam Aitkens won 3-0 against Norman Purvis.

Tyne and Wear began the second half as they did the first with a win as Pete Holden recorded a 3-0 win over Jamie Lewis, it then took a man of the match performance from Mike Hampson to level the score in the eighth. Hampson had a hard fought tussle with Tom Willoughby as he won the first and third and Willoughby the second and fourth to force a deciding leg. Tension got to both players as they struggled to find big scores but it was Hampson who was first to a double as he checked out on 80 in 21 darts with his opponent left nursing 50. Hampson’s 3-2 win gave him an award winning 23.22 average.

For the first time in the match Shropshire went ahead in the ninth when John Simms handed out a 3-0 defeat to Dan Mock but the lead didn’t last long as Peter Rutherford beat Connor Pickett 3-2 after Pickett had won the opening two legs.

With the score delicately poised at 5-5 Tony Welburn (Tyne and Wear) won the first leg against Martin Riggs and although Riggs reversed the lead when he won the second and third legs Welburn won the fourth to take the game to a fifth and deciding leg. As seen in previous games it was all down to finishing doubles and although the final double could have gone to either player it was Martin Riggs who got it and the 3-2 result to assure his side of at the worst a draw.

Robert Pierce (Shropshire) looked to be well on course to snatch the winner as he went 1-0 and 2-1 up against Tommy Nicholson but it was Nicholson in 22 and 19 darts that won the last two legs for a personal 3-2 win and at the same time earn a 6-6 draw for his team mates.

As in the ladies ‘B’ match the ladies ‘A’ also found themselves trailing 2-0 as Caz Dorothy won 3-1 against Marie Riggs after Marie had won the first leg and Natasha Kennedy beat Sophie Fawcett 3-2 after again after she had won the first leg and then the fourth.

It was Jenna Ball who momentarily put a halt to the Tyne and Wear run as she beat Maureen Purvis 3-1 only to see the visitors lead extended to 3-1 when Ann-Marie Urwin won 3-2 against Alison Gallagher, Gallagher like Riggs and Fawcett winning the first leg and again like Fawcett winning the fourth leg.

With the a win now out of the frame for Shropshire the best they could hope for was a draw and keeping their hopes alive was Stephanie Clarke who went 1-0 up against Michelle Iley and despite Iley levelling in the second Clarke won the third and fourth legs for a 3-1 victory which in the process earned her the match award for her average of 18.70.

The outcome of the game now hinged on the final tie between Michele Pritchard (Shropshire) and Debra Waugh, the result was never in doubt as Michele Pritchard won 3-0 with her opponent failing to reach a finishing double in any of the three legs, Michele’s win taking the final score to 3-3, once again like the ‘B’ side the same result as last season.

In their game last season the men’s ‘A’ team finished on the wrong side of an 8-4 result and were hoping this term to do a little better. Dave Stokell was pushed all the way by Rob Henderson in the opener but it was Tyne and Wears Stokell who got the close 4-3 verdict. Derek Coulson, after going 3-0 up had his lead reduced to 3-2 by John Rutter but it was Coulson who won 4-2 to level the game for the home team.

Game number three saw Shropshire take the lead for the first time thanks to a fierce fight back by Pete Eley as he trailed 2-0 to John Kippen jnr, clawed his way back to two each then fell behind 3-2 but in 15 and 20 darts won the game 4-3.

A 4-0 win for Tyne and Wear’s man of the match Andy Chalmers over Jamie Barrowman squared the game for the away team only to see them trailing 4-2 by the break as Andy Jervis won 4-2 against Billy Robson, Jervis winning the game with a 113 game shot and then Dan Astbury rounded off the half with a man of the match performance against Ray Marshall. Astbury won the opening leg in 17 darts, Marshall with a 110 finish levelled in 18 before Astbury forged ahead in 16 and increased his lead to 3-1 with a 20 darts leg. With scores of 100,140,100,65 and a 96 checkout Astbury neatly wrapped up his 4-1 win and took the match award with an average of 29.10.

Dave Maitland began the second half for the visitors and although he won the first leg against Nik Bloor he ended up the loser as Bloor romped to a 4-1 win recording a 112 finish in the third leg. Eddie Austin had to fight for his 4-3 win over Jason Urwin as after he went 1-0 up he was pegged back to level terms, went 2-1 up and then trailed 3-2 before winning the last two legs to take Shropshire’s lead to 6-2 to guarantee them of at least a draw and requiring just one more winner for an overall win for the weekend.

That winner came in the very next game as Martin Price in a tough encounter with Dave White won 4-3. White actually went 2-0 up in 20 and 16 darts with two 20 outshots. In 18 and 23 darts Price squared the game only to see White go 3-2 up in the fifth. It was all square again in the sixth when Price checked out in 18 with a 114 finish to force a decider. White was first to a double and first to throw for his finishing double but his failure proved to be Price’s joy as he clinched his win in 20 darts with an 80 game shot and at the same time he chalked up the magical seventh winning game for Shropshire.

Jack Male pulled one back for Tyne and Wear in the tenth with a 4-2 win over Paul Bromley but with Richard Parker coming from 2-0 and 3-2 down to win 4-3 against Geoff Murray, Shropshire were 8-3 up with one to play.

The final game of the weekend was another seven legs tussle which saw Shropshire’s John Speed go 1-0 up and then Tyne and Wear’s Chris Vaughan lead 2-1. Speed then with two more winning legs reversed the lead to go 3-2 up but was unable to seal a win as Vaughan won the next two legs for a 4-3 victory and take the final score to 8-4 to Shropshire, a complete reverse of last season’s men’s ‘A’ result.

The overall score for the weekend was a terrific 20-16 win for Shropshire to put them third in the divisional table on 23 points just six short of leaders Northumberland.

Full Results:Division Four:Shropshire v Tyne and Wear (20-16):Shropshire names first):Men’s ‘A’:- Rob Henderson 3 Dave Stokell 4, Derek Coulson 4 John Rutter 2, Pete Eley 4 John Kippen jnr 3, Jamie Barrowman 0 Andy Chalmers 4, Andy Jervis 4 Billy Robson 2, Dan Astbury 4 Ray Marshall 1, Nik Bloor 4 Dave Maitland 1, Eddie Austin 4 Jason Urwin 3, Martin Price 4 Dave White 3, Paul Bromley 2 Jack Male 4, Richard Parker 4 Geoff Murray 3, John Speed 3 Tony Welburn 4, Men’s ‘B’:- Mark Bayliss 2 Ian Thoms 3, Chris Williams 3 Steve Dykes 0, Andy Vellender 2 Philly Dunn 3, Richard Bowen 1 Alan Jordan 3, Connor Jeffs 3 Andrew Ambler 1, Sam Aitkens 3 Norman Purvis 0, Jamie Lewis 0 Pete Holden 3, Mike Hampson 3 Tom Willoughby 2, John Simms 3 Dan Mock 0, Connor Pickett 2 Peter Rutheroford 3, Martin Riggs 3 Tony Welburn 2, Robert Pierce 2 Tommy Nicholson 3, Women’s ‘A’:- Marie Riggs 1 Caz Dorothy 3, Sophie Fawcett 2 Natasha Kennedy 3, Jenna Ball 3 Maureen Purvis 1, Allison Gallagher 2 Anne-Marie Urwin 3, Stephanie Clarke 3 Michelle Iley 1, Michele Pritchard 3 Debra Waugh 0, Women’s ‘B’:- Julie Pugh 0 Karen Murry 3, Tammy Walmsley 1 Marie Seago 3, Julie Griffiths 3 Wendy Huskisson 1, Sue Lane 3 Flo Kippen 1, Suzie Barnham 1 Tracey Curry 3, Rachael Mooney 3 Sheila Douglas 1.