County Lines: UKDA gain momentum

By Alan Towe 17/03/2021

THE UKDA Board of Directors are pleased to announce the structure for the inaugural season of play in the Darts Corner National League. UKDA CEO Colin Savage and the team wish to thank our headline sponsor Darts Corner, along with Elite Sports Management, AON Contracts and L-Style for their valued support in sponsoring the National League system and the Premier Division, Championship and League One within the setup. UKDA playing rules will be announced in due course.

The five National League divisions will be made up of the following teams:

Premier Division: Cheshire, Cornwall, Devon, Essex, Glamorgan, Hampshire, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, London, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Yorkshire. Championship: Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Dorset, Gwent, Hertfordshire, Humberside, Kent, Oxfordshire, Staffordshire, Sussex, and West Midlands.

Division One: Cleveland, Clwyd, Derbyshire, Gwynedd, Merseyside, Nottinghamshire, Somerset, Suffolk, Surrey, and Worcestershire.

Division Two: Bedfordshire, County Durham, Cumbria, Leicestershire, Middlesex, Montgomery and Radnor, Norfolk, Tyne and Wear, West of England and Wiltshire.

Division Three: Black Country, Breconshire, Gloucestershire, Isle of Wight, Northumberland, Pembrokeshire, Salopian, Shropshire and Wirral.

In addition to the management team printed in the previous edition of Darts World four more members have been added, they are Paul Marsh (National League Director), Richard Biggs (Regional Manager for the South East), Debbie Jones (Youth Co-ordinator) and Stephen Greenwood (Chief Disciplinary Officer and Regional Manager for Wales and East Central). Stephen Greenwood has given a brief account of his history and experience. He said:
“I have 31 years in public service over the last 25 served as a police officer in Dyfed Powys. “I am the brainchild /chairman behind the very successful Newtown Premier League which has developed many Welsh internationals in its 13 years of darting. “I am also the chairman of the newly-formed Newtown Darts Organisation formed in 2019. I have run many, many successful open competitions throughout Mid-Wales and Shropshire. “I have also orchestrated the Contest of Champions for the last 10 years, a competition involving the very best of players from their respective Premier Leagues. I aim to give the UKDA the full benefit of both my legal background advice and darting experience.” In addition to the Management Team a new Events Team has been formed and is comprised of Davie Hanson (Events Director), Paul Booth (Master of Ceremonies), Andrew Culling (Referee), Garin Roderick (Referee), Josh Clough (Referee), Simon Rimington (Referee), Matt Jones (Referee and Event Support), Karl Coleman (Event Support) and Elaine Kearns (Event Support).

UKDA Chairman Johnny Stefano explained: “It has been six months since the UKDA proposal to encourage County teams into the National League was released and we have been working tirelessly since that moment to find a title sponsor for the Association and we are delighted that this objective has now been achieved.

“The level of support, help and advice we received from the outset by Darts Corner, their CEO Wayne Taylor and his team has led us to this historical moment. “Considering those discussions started when we didn’t even have any teams signed up, all negotiations since have taken place during the toughest period imaginable, not just for grassroots dart players specifically but the country generally, which makes the agreement even more incredible.

“The UKDA now have the support we sought and when we all get back to playing again, hopefully in September as scheduled, the commitment Darts Corner has provided will ensure we can now provide an exciting future to all those players who have entrusted us with the task of moving the National and Super League systems forward. “Thankfully we have managed to acquire investment from numerous sources and in truth, sources that wouldn’t have previously been interested in doing so.

"Though work still goes on within the UKDA Management Team to ensure all commercial opportunities are pursued, the backing of Darts Corner, the endorsement of what we want to achieve, the benefits that our new sponsors will provide will filter back into the National and Super League areas of the grassroots game. “To all the players competing within them, we are both grateful and excited to see what together we will be able to achieve for the players in the next few years.”

-----ENDS------

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