AN historic weekend of darts saw Salopian emerge victorious over Shropshire 19-17 in League Three of the UKDA’s National League, Salopian’s never-to-be-forgotten first-ever county darts match.
Bagley Club, Shrewsbury provided a superb atmospheric venue with Shrewsbury mayor Julian Dean opening proceedings prior to the draw. It wasn’t long before Salopian celebrated their first win of the weekend when Cheryl Owen (12.97) won the first Ladies ‘B’ match 3-0. That would be as good as it got for Salopian Ladies ‘B’ as Shropshire hit back in style winning the remaining five games with wins from Becky Harris, Michele Pritchard, Kelly Haverson and Jayne Downey before their lady of the match Sophie Fawcett (17.71) took the final score to 5-1.
It was essential that Salopian made a strong start to the Men’s ‘B’ match, James Mansell (19.84) beating Robert Pierce 3-1 and Glyn Thomas (23.62) winning 3-2 against Rob Thompson. Shropshire countered with back-to-back wins from Dave Bayton (22.77, 3-1 against Tony Middleton) and Andy Vellender (25.57) who beat Dave Phillips (23.18) in a five legs cracker that saw Dave hit eleven tons or over to Andy’s nine.
Mark Jones (24.65) replied for Salopian, coming from one down to Nathan Storar, and then with a 3-2 win from Ben Morgan who had trailed 2-1 to John Speed Salopian were 4-2 up at the midway stage.
Jason Evans twice took the lead against John Simms before going down 3-2 but with Paul Ashworth beating Martin Riggs 3-2 and Paul Evans winning 3-1 against Phil Clarke Salopian were in an unbeatable 6-3 position.
Ben Johnson (23.86) kept Shropshire in the hunt with his straight 3-0 win over Satcha Rothwell but a 3-1 win for James Carter in the penultimate game against Mark Bayliss put the result beyond the away team’s reach.
The final game of the day saw Dave Robbins (Shropshire) come from one down against Tim Eley to win 3-2 to take the final score to 7-5 to Salopian with a running total for the day of 10-8 in Shropshire’s favour.
A five star salvo by Salopian ladies ‘A’ changed the whole dynamics of the match to give Salopian the overall lead that they ultimately wouldn’t relinquish. Alison Gallagher (14.59) started the winning sequence with her 3-0 success against Kirsty Jenks, Sue Lane (14.55) made it 2-0 when she beat Clare Butler 3-1. All before Evonne Taylor took centre stage defeating Becky Harris (19.33) 3-1, Becky checking out on 126 in the second leg, Evonne taking the match award for her 23.34 average.
Steph Clarke (22.63) trailed 2-0 to Marie Riggs before she won the third and then in the fourth fired in a sixteen darts leg which included a maximum. She then, in 21 darts wrapped up her 3-2 win.
Sarah Roberts (19.78) was another Salopian lady to find the three treble twenties as she added a straight 3-0 win over Lynsie Evans to the home teams tally.
The final ladies match went the way of Shropshire, Jenna Ball (17.69) winning 3-1 against Julie Griffiths to give a final score of 5-1 to Salopian.
Once again, the home side made a strong start, the men’s ‘A’ taking the first three matches. Dan Dean (26.27) opened for Salopian beating Brian Hickman 3-1. Then doubling the advantage was Jon Mansell (21.35) with his 3-2 success over Chris Williams and taking the score to 3-0 was Daniel Astbury who accounted for Paul Bromley with a 4-1 result. Astbury actually lost the first leg to Williams but then romped to his win in 16, 12, 18 and 19 darts to earn him the match award for his 29.31 average.
Paul Rowley (26.98) looked as though he would make it 4-0 to the home team when he raced into a 3-0 lead over Chris Fox (26.25), but Fox produced a magnificent comeback taking the remaining four legs in 22,17,18 and 18 darts for a close but 4-3 victory
By the halfway point Salopian had opened up a 5-1 lead Scott Dockerty with a tremendous 148 checkout in the fifth leg beating Justin Evans 4-1 and Ash Hilditch winning 4-2 against Martin East.
The second half began more favourably for Shropshire with a trio of wins supplied by Connor Pickett (4-0) against Steve O’Callaghan, Reece Cook-Lucas winning 4-1 against Dan James and Sam Aitkens closing the gap to 5-4 with his 4-3 win over Eddie Price.
Robert Paine put Salopian within an ace of victory when he won 4-2 against Andi Chatter but they were still left waiting for that elusive final win when in the penultimate encounter Shropshire’s Andy Jervis beat Ben Bevan 4-2 to leave the result hinging on the final game of the day.
The final game produced Shropshire’s man of the match in the form of Richard Parker. Parker lost the first leg to Kacey Jones who won it in 14 darts. Parker levelled in 22 darts only to go 2-1 down as Jones won the third in 19. For the first time in the game, Parker went ahead when he won the following two legs in 16 and 17 darts. Still fighting for his team’s win Jones squared the game in the sixth with a 15 darts leg. However, 17 darts were enough for Parker to win the seventh leg, the game 4-3 and take the match award for his 28.26 average.
The final score, all square at six each but the overall score was a 19-17 victory for Salopian.
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