UKDA 2023/24 Season – Match 1: Salopian vs Clwyd

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Salopian began life in the UKDA National League’s Division Two with an eye-catching 20–16 home victory over a strong Clwyd side. Fielding nine debutants overall the hosts fell behind 3-0 in the ladies ‘B’ game as Del Stapeley and Neeley Street in turn won 3-1 against Rachael Mooney and Danni Pritchard and Hayley Street won 3-2 against Molly Atter.

New ladies captain Sue Lane (15.99) secured Salopian’s first victory when she won 3-2 against Mary Williams but a 3-0 victory by Clwyd’s Izzy Thomas over Anna Peatroy secured the win for the visitors. The last game went to Salopian as Kate Titley beat Rachael Simpson 3-1 to earn her the team’s match award for her 16.13 average and take the final score to 4-2 in favour of the away side.

Men’s ‘B’ debutant Dean Rogers got the ball rolling when in the opening game he put his team 1-0 up with a 3-0 win over Jodie Challinor and although the lead was short lived as Nick Hailes won 3-2 against Jason Evans to square the game Salopian went ahead again in the third when John Roberts with his award winning average of 24.72 and 3-1 win over Chris Moore made it 2-1 to the home side. The lead was extended further when Jay Adams aided by a terrific 146 finish beat Jon Darlington 3-2 but by the midway point it was level-pegging as Noel Bagby beat Martin Riggs 3-0 and James Evans won 3-2 against Dave Boyle.

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The home team took the lead again as the second half got underway Ian Evans winning 3-1 against Derek Williams, only to see Clwyd draw level once again as Luke Smith beat James Mansell 3-0 and then for the first time in the game the home side fell behind as Ben Walley’s 3-1 win over Eddie Austin gave the visitors a slender 5-4 lead. In game number ten it was the turn of Salopian to cancel out their opponents lead as Jason Davies won 3-2 against Craig Billingsley, however a similar 3-2 win for Chris Dobbins over Rowan Price guaranteed Clwyd at least a share of the spoils, but a win for them was not to be as Salopian’s anchor-man Steven Ritchie won 3-1 against Paul Crimes to put the final score all-square at six each.      

Going into Sunday’s games Salopian trailed 10-8 The ladies ‘A’ opener Steph Clarke was in outstanding form registering a straight 3-0 win over Nia Price with a fantastic lady of the match average of 28.90 but it was Clwyd who forged ahead with wins from Leanne Topper and Bethan Jones who in turn won against Claire Boyle (3-0) and Evonne Taylor (3-2). Game number four produced Salopian’s only other winner as Sarah Roberts won 3-1 against Nat Davey, the last two games both going to Clwyd with Rachel Kingdon winning 3-0 against Julie Griffiths and Judith Williams beating Tracey Dean by the odd leg 3-2 to give the away team a 4-2 win.

With Clwyd now holding a 14-10 advantage something special was required from the men’s ‘A’ and something special is what they produced. They could not have wished for a more promising start as first on Mark Crutchley not only beat Adam Paxton 4-1 but recorded a tremendous man of the match award winning average of 30.23 on the process. As if encouraged by Mark’s performance the hosts then raced into a 5-0 lead with Jamie Kynaston winning 4-1 against Steve Probert, Eddie Price beating Shaun Thompson 4-3, Shaun Pryce having a 4-1 win against Steven Ellson and Gary Crowther adding his 4-2 success over Mark Leach to the tally. Clwyd pulled one back in the last game of the half when Dafydd Edwards won 4-0 against Kacey Jones.

As the second half began the overall score was level at fifteen each but it didn’t remain that way very long as the home side strung together another fabulous four straight wins provided by Ash Hilditch, Ben Morgan, Jon Mansell and Terry Nash who in turn accounted for Rob Lawrence (4-2), Ian Bride (4-0), Josh Robinson (4-2) and Cole Davey (4-0) to put Salopian into an unassailable 19-15 lead. In the penultimate encounter Clwyd’s Phil Hughes won 4-2 against Matt Elsey but a 4-3 win over Andy Alker by Paul Rowley took the men’s ‘A’ result to a fantastic 10-2 win for Salopian and a magnificent 20-16 victory overall in the first fixture of their promoted season.

The win puts Salopian third in the divisional table on 23 points just three behind leaders Surrey and only one short of second placed Worcestershire.

—–ENDS—–

Alan Towe writes with the support of Red Dragon Darts

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