Improvement for Shropshire As They Head Into Final Fixture

Red Dragon Darts

SHROPSHIRE ended their last campaign in division three of the UKDA National League in sixth position and in the current season they are presently placed fourth on 145 points which is five more than fifth-placed Wirral who they entertain in their final game of the season.

In their penultimate fixture Shropshire, despite having home advantage had a tough task taking on divisional leaders Northumberland but at the end of the weekend, although beaten it was a very creditable and close 19-17 scoreline which highlights how much Shropshire have improved from last season.   

Saturday’s games saw both the ladies and the men finish with a draw. The ladies ‘B’ could not have had a better start as their lady of the match Joanne Meachin beat Dawn Longstaff 3-2 with a 16.69 average. Although the lead didn’t last long as Sara Jones went down 3-0 to Lisa Barnes but it was restored in the third when Michele Pritchard beat Kayla Herdman 3-0 and with a further 3-1 win from Jayne Downey over Debbie Waugh Shropshire were guaranteed at least a draw.

With the final two games going to Northumberland as Sarah Higgins beat Dianne Newton 3-0 and Lyla Leightley won 3-1 against Ann Cooper, a draw is how it turned out, finishing all-square at 3-3.

Like the ladies ‘B’ the men’s ‘B’ also won their opening game as Steve Lynch accounted for Jamie Martin with a 3-2 result. However the men then found themselves trailing 2-1 after Danny Oman beat Lee Shaw 3-2 and Paul Sinclair won 3-0 against Martin Price. A 25.47 average and a straight 3-0 win over Richard Gerry earned Chris Evans the man of the match award and at the same time he restored parity at 2-2.

By the midway point it was all level at 3-3 after Scott Brown (Northumberland) had won 3-2 against Phil Mayo and Rushpal Bhogal (Shropshire) beat Tony Taylor by the same 3-2 margin.

It was not a good start to the second half as Northumberland opened up a 5-3 lead when Dean Stackhouse won 3-2 against John Simms and Russ Wood beat Stuart Kendrick 3-1. Although Dan Downey was able to reduce the arrears to 5-4 when he beat Ian Burt 3-2, Nick Stephenson restored the visitor’s two games buffer when he won 3-0 against Luke Wildman.

At 6-4 down and only two to play Shropshire had their backs to the wall but it all worked out well as Jon Blakemore won 3-1 against Gary Reed and anchor-man Chris Hill beat Craig Jones 3-2 to earn a share of the 6-6 draw.

Jenna Ball got the ball rolling for the ladies ‘A’ with her straight 3-0 win over Angela Best and although a close 3-2 win for Northumberland’s Casey Stephenson against Annmarie Williams levelled the score a similar 3-2 win for Shropshire’s Kelly Haverson over Ang Turnbull saw the hosts get their nose in front once again. In game four Marie Riggs was in fine form for the home team taking their lead to 3-1 with her award winning 19.03 average and straight 3-0 win against Sara Gowens. Then with a 3-2 success for Sophie Ward in her game with Mary Pattison Shropshire ladies ‘A’ were winners having a 4-1 lead. The final score was 4-2 as Tip Whillis won the last encounter against Deana Sheldon 3-0.  

With a 13-11 lead even a 7-5 defeat for the men’s ‘A’ would earn a share of the points, but alas it was not to be. Paul Harrison put the hosts one up with his 4-3 win over Chris Harvey but it took a 4-1 win from Richard Parker on at number four against Micky Ord to level the game at 2-2 after the away side had chalked up a 4-0 win from Mark Stephenson over Simon Pritchard and a 4-3 win by Lee Shanks against Chris Fox.

Although level after the opening four games by the sixth Northumberland were leading 4-2 as Andy Parks and Doug Thoburn added their respective 4-1 and 4-2 wins over Reece Cook-Lucas and Dave Bayton.       

It got worse as the second half got underway, Lee Harrison beating Jamie Webb 4-2 and Dan Stephenson winning 4-0 against Kevin Harris to open up an unassailable 6-2 lead. A 4-3 result and a 26.18 average earned Andy Jervis the man of the match in his game against Dale Graham and with a 4-1 win from Chris Williams over Dan Hallowell Shropshire were still in with a chance of a draw.

Billy Leonard put paid to any chance of that happening when he won 4-1 against Josh Pickett and with a further 4-0 win for Ryan Branley against Phil Clarke Northumberland men’s ‘A’ had won 8-4 giving their teammates an overall 19-17 victory for the weekend.


Alan Towe writes with the support of Red Dragon Darts


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