UKDA Season 2023/24 – Match 1: Black Country vs Gwent

Red Dragon Darts

Following their promotion from division two Black Country opened their campaign with a home tie against Gwent and must have wondered how they would cope with life in the higher division after the first day’s games as both teams lost.

With 3-1 wins for Jackie Norman and Hannah Williams in turn over Maxine Prosser and Sarah-Jane Parker Gwent opened up a 2-0 lead in the ladies ‘B’ game and it took a lady of the match performance from Doreen Hunt to stop the visitors charge. Doreen, playing against Jess Bonner had a 3-2 win with a 15.12 average. Alas that was to be the home team’s one and only winner as Gwent romped to a 5-1 win with further victories from Hayley Mathews, Abbie Brewster and Melissa Williams who won their respective games against Abbey Hunt (3-0), Stella Sims (3-0) and Angie Carroll (3-1).

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The first four games of the men’s ‘B’ match were shared with Gwent twice taking the lead, first through the 3-1 win by Dewi Beynon over Mark Jones and then through Gethyn Bennett who also won 3-2 against Sam Bissell. Replying for the Black Country were, at number two man of the match Dan  Nicholls who won 3-0 against Marcus Jones with a 28.90 average and then at number four Jamie Barrowman who won 3-2 against Scott Ridler. However, by the midway point the away team had opened up a 4-2 lead with further wins from Nick Kenny and Paul Cosslett who defeated Liam Kelly (3-2) and James Hykin (3-1).

As the second half got underway Gwent went further ahead when Bryan Cook beat Carl Sparrow 3-1 before Gavin Smith and Ben Hollowood replied for the hosts with their respective 3-0 and 3-1 wins over David Skinner and Harry Williams to reduce the deficit to 5-4. The next two games both went the full five legs distance with Gwent’s Geraint Harbon and Vince Short beating Wayne Hobday and Cayden Smith to put their team in an unassailable 7-4 lead. The final game of the day went to Black Country when John Green won 3-2 against Angelo Lao to take the final score to 7-5 to Gwent.

The ladies ‘A’ lost the opener when Jade Hickey beat Grace Angell in straight legs but from one down they then turned the game around and went into a match winning 4-1 lead with Amy-Leigh Tolley winning 3-2 against Amanda Cosslett, Heather Wright winning 3-0 against Shannon Chappell, Chez Allcock beating Natalie Pyatt 3-2 and lady of the match Tammy Chance putting up the match wining stripe with her 3-0 success over Ceri Stephens, Tammy in fine form wining her game with a 22.77 average. The final game went to the visitors with Tracey Hickey beating Lacey Hughes 3-2 to put the final score at 4-2 to Black Country. 


Tom Bissell’s 4-3 win over Mike Fleet gave Black Country the early lead in the men’s ‘A’ game and although Conner Hopkins levelled in the second when he won 4-3 against Steve Jones the home team stormed into a 5-1 lead by the halfway mark. Paul Wells restored the host’s advantage with his straight 4-0 win over Stephen Cake before Martin Price with his man of the match performance against Sam Cankett won 4-2 with a superb 30.19 average. A 4-1 win for Reece Colley over Mark Blandford plus a 4-2 success for Dan Homer in his game with Ieuan Halsall made it 5-1 at the break   

As the second session got underway Gwent pulled one back when Peter Johns beat Trev Brennan 4-3 but that was to be their final success as Shane Price beat Matthew Kay 4-2, George Willetts won 4-3 against Ray Hardwick, Jamie Rollinson beat Nico Ruiz-Roynon 4-2, Rob Smith had a 4-3 win over Paul Higgins and Rich Bowen made it a 10-2 win for the Black Country when he won the final game of the weekend against Alex Small 4-1. 

After trailing 12-6 in Saturday’s ‘B’ games it was a remarkable turn-around by the Black Country to come fighting back and seal a 20-16 victory thanks to both of their ‘A’ sides.  


Alan Towe writes with the support of Red Dragon Darts

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