Bears Come Up Short After Unsettled Season

Red Dragon Darts

After finishing last season as runners-up in the Cosmo Darts Premier Division of the UKDA National League, by their own standards Warwickshire County Darts Organisation have not enjoyed the best of campaigns in this latest campaign as they finished sixth with 223 points some forty-six short of champions Lancashire and forty fewer than Yorkshire who were this year’s runners-up.

Last season Warwickshire’s final game was a home tie against Lincolnshire which they lost 24-12, once again Lincolnshire were Warwickshire final opponents but this time playing on Lincolnshire’s home board.

Saturday got underway and saw the hosts ladies ‘B’ storm into a 3-0 lead with wins from Bridie Smith, Julie Lambie and Laura Tye who in turn accounted for Hannah Meek (3-0), Chloe McKivett (3-0) and Nina Bolt (3-1) but then the tide changed and Warwickshire matched their opponents opening three results with two 3-0 and one 3-1 win. Lady of the match for Warwickshire was Marian Conway who began the trio of wins when she beat Michelle Creasey and averaged 20.04.

Following Marian was Melanie Jones who like Marian Conway won 3-0 in her game against Lee Bingham to take the game to the final encounter between Dawn Armstrong (Lincolnshire) and Angela Jones to reach a result. That result was 3-3 as Angela Jones won 3-1.

The first three games of the men’s ‘B’ match all went against the first throw advantage as the home side went one up when Michael Machin beat Will Naylor 4-0 then Karl Reynolds levelled for Warwickshire when he also handed out a straight 4-0 defeat to his opponent Neil Ward. Kev Clark put the home side ahead again in the third when he came from 2-0 down against Mark Strong to go on and win 4-2. The sequence was broken in the fourth when Lincolnshire’s lead was extended to 3-1 with a 4-1 win by Leighton Bennett over Martin Tonks. Dave Hill (Warwickshire) had his lead cancelled out three times by Chris Fidler but went on to win the decider and the game 4-3, his 25.21 average earning him the team’s match award. By the midway point it was level pegging as Sam Price won 4-2 against Jon Bywater to make it 3-3.

The second half went mainly to the home team, Richard Selby opening the half with a 4-1 win over Pete Hughes and then Lester Wilkinson came from 2-0 and 3-1 down against Jenson Walker to go on and win 4-3. Steve Giddings trailed three times to Mark Carter but he also went on to win 4-3 and with a 4-0 win from Michael Taylor against Adam Hancock the home team’s men’s ‘B’ were home and dry with a 7-3 unassailable lead. Chris Haynes took that score along to 8-3 when he beat Scott Hope 4-0 but the final score was 8-4 when Warwickshire’s Mark Martin won the final game of the day against Scott Boryszczuk 4-2.

As the ladies ‘A’ got underway Wendy Adams lost the first leg to Mandy Smith but the Warwickshire player fought back to go on and win 3-1. Tammy Montgomery made it 2-0 to when she won in straight legs against former Warwickshire ‘Golden Girl’ Trina Gulliver before the hosts came fighting back to level terms with a 3-1 win for Paula Jacklin over Caroline Pike and a 3-2 success for Heather Draper who beat Donna Pinch. Warwickshire’s in form ‘A’ player Hannah Meek put the visitors ahead once again in the fifth, her 3-2 win over Shelley Bontoft-Gash earning her the team’s match award for her 22.01 average and with a final 3-1 win for Courtney Hine over Hayley Reeson the 4-2 result went in favour of Warwickshire.

The men’s ‘A’ didn’t have the best of starts as Callum Goffin and Nick Fullwell in turn won 4-0 and 4-1 against Karl Reynolds and Tom Martin. Steve Hine pulled one back for the away team when he won 4-1 against Lloyd Pennell and with a similar 4-1 win for Noel Grant over Callum Wilson the score was level at 2-2. A 4-0 win for Thomas Loveley over Carl Green restored the hosts lead but once again it was level by the halfway stage as Jack Wareing came from 1-0 and 2-1 down to Michael Machin and go on to win 4-2. 

Matty Washbrooke took the lead three times against Kev Leadenham as the second half got underway but it was Lincolnshire’s Leadenham who got the 4-3 result and then taking the hosts lead to 5-3 was Eddie Lovely who won 4-1 against Kevin Dowling. Game number nine saw Wayne Mynard go one up against another former Warwickshire player Antony Allen, Allen then forging a 2-1 lead before Mynard levelled in the fourth. Allen went ahead again in the fifth but with winning legs of 15 and 22 darts it was Wayne Mynard who won the tie 4-3. The game was all-square again in the tenth, a man of the match performance from Jamie Atkins keeping Warwickshire in the game and his winning legs of 14,15,20 and 15 darts giving him a superb 30.35 average.

Nigel Heydon came from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 against Gary Blades and although he had his chances to seal a win it was Blades who got the 4-3 result. A win was now required from Gareth Braham to earn Warwickshire men’s ‘A’ a draw and a win is what he got despite going 1-0 down and being pegged back to level terms in the penultimate leg by Adam Beck as Braham produced a fourteen darts final leg to win 4-3 with his opponent way back on 156. The final score 6-6.

The overall result for the weekend was a close 19-17 to Lincolnshire who with 232 points finished nine ahead of Warwickshire and fifth in the table.


Words: Alan Towe (with the support of Red Dragon Darts)

Images: AIM180 Ltd.

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