UKDA 2023/24 – Match 1: Warwickshire vs Cornwall

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Although Warwickshire had the better start to their away game against Cornwall, in the Cosmo Darts Premier Division, when the ladies ‘B’ lady of the match Kirsty Hinchcliffe gave them a 1-0 lead with her 3-1 win and award winning average of 17.94 over Laura Shepherd and Caroline Pike made it 2-0 when she beat Debbie Crocker 3-0, it was the home side that finished on the right side of the 4-2 result.

Emma Dow and Claire Irons in turn won 3-1 against Nina Bolt and Denise Keyte. Jacqui Champion then won 3-0 against Chloe McKivett-Saunders and Pauline Mead completed the 4-2 win for the hosts with her 3-0 success over Kris Meek.

Like the ladies ‘B’ the men’s ‘B’ also won the opening game as Sam Whittaker beat Aaron Rowe 4-1 but it was not until the final game of the first half that Warwickshire got their second winner as Neil Dudbridge won 4-3 against Adam Hancock, Carl Jeffery beat Mark Strong 4-0, Scott Wapshott won 4-2 against Dave Redding and Andrew Cook accounted or Lee Miller with a 4-3 result. Will Naylor reduced the arrears in the sixth to 4-2 when he won 4-1 against Tex Thomas.

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The second half began as did the first with the away team first off the mark as Samuel Price won 4-0 against Jamie Kay to keep the away team in the hunt at 4-3. Mark Martin came from 3-0 down against Josh Symons to level at three each before losing the decider and going down 4-3. Scott Hope then trailed 3-0 to Fred Goldsmith but fought back magnificently to go on and win 4-3 to take the running score to 5-4 to Cornwall. A 4-1 win for Lee Agar against Peter Hughes followed by a 4-0 win for Mike Pascoe against Martin Tonks put Cornwall in a match winning position with Warwickshire’s Karl Reynolds making the final score a little more respectable at 7-5 with his 4-2 win over Lee Hellings.

Once again it was Warwickshire who went ahead in the first game of the ladies ‘A’ match, Donna Pinch winning 3-1 against Tyrian Jesse and although the home team levelled in the second when Nikki Furse won 3-1 against Courtney Hine a 3-0 success for Wendy Adams over Sarah Brown restored the visitors lead, Wendy taking the Warwickshire match award for her 17.28 average. Unfortunately for Warwickshire that was to be their last winner as Teresa Brookshaw and Maria O’Brien in turn accounted for Natalie Gilbert and Marian Conway with 3-1 scorelines and with a 3-0 win for Tracey Hancock over Hannah Meek in the final encounter the result was another 4-2 win for Cornwall’s ladies.

With only the men’s ‘A’ result to be added Cornwall were leading 15-9 and although Michael Jones took that score to 16-9 when he won 4-1 against Carl Green it did begin to look as though Warwickshire were still in the game as they rattled off six straight wins to reduce the arrears dramatically to 16-15.

Steve Hine began the run of six wins when he beat Robert Ruberry 4-3 and was followed with 4-2 wins by Jamie Atkins and Matty Washbrooke at the expense of Neil Meneer and Simon Knowles. Wayne Mynard and Gareth Braham added their 4-3 wins over Matt Knowles and Gareth Griffiths to give Warwickshire a 5- 1 lead at the hallway stage and still in with a chance of a draw or even a win.

Nigel Heydon was taken the full seven legs distance in the second half opener by Greg Hambly but won the decider to take the score to 6-1 and despite Scott Cook beating Mark Carter to make it 6-2 Warwickshire’s five games buffer was restored by Mark McGeeney who was making his comeback for Warwickshire after an eleven years absence. McGeeney won 4-1 against Jez Campe and in the process earned himself the team’s match award for his 29.18 average with winning legs of 18,20,17 and 18 darts and a 100 outshot in the final leg. Unfortunately, after such a tremendous fight back McGeeny’s win was to be Warwickshire’s last as John Mann, Simon Rees and Kevin Dunstan in turn won against Kevin Dowling (4-2), Noel Grant (4-3) and Dave Hill (4-0), Noel Grant losing after going 3-1 up.

With Cornwall’s men’s ‘A’ winning 7-5 the overall score for the weekend was a 20-16 win for the home team to put them second in the division five points behind leaders and reigning champions Lancashire.


Image: WDF/Chris Sargeant

Alan Towe writes with the support of Red Dragon Darts

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