Devon vs Cornwall – Two Sides of the Story!

A superb reader submission detailing the local rivals clash from the perspective of both teams. Our thanks to Steve Chapman for the lengths he has gone to here:

DEVON returned to winning ways at the expense of their cross-Tamar rivals Cornwall in the premier division of the British Inter County Championships, a result which keeps them in fifth place, just two points behind fourth-placed Glamorgan.

The ladies’ B side laid the foundations with a 5-1 success, inspired by a 3-1 victory from lady-of-the-match Anna Johnson (20.96) in the opening set.

Sarah Brown (16.41) and Cat Callard (13.49) both won 3-1 while Hayley Brant (18.33) and Michelle Andrews (15.99) came through without dropping a leg.

But that advantage was soon wiped out when the Men’s B side had a meltdown and lost the opening five sets of their fixture.

Danny Bull (25.27) halted the slide with a confident victory followed by John Burton (26.54) who also won 4-1, with his best legs being won in 13 and 15 to edge Devon in front at 7-6.

Only Kevin Burns (26.34) and Dave Lake (23.81) were successful from the last five sets but despite, an 8-4 win for Cornwall, the teams were all square at 9-9 overnight.

Lisa Hughes (20.79) put the first point on the board for Devon at the start of the Ladies’ A fixture on the Sunday and Maria O’Brien (25.05) followed with a lady-of-the-match performance when winning 3-0 in 21, 18 and 21.

Cornwall took the next two, only for Karen Matthews (17.27) and Chrissie Kinnaird (19.09) to both win 3-2, Kinnaird coming back from a 2-0 deficit. That 4-2 success put Devon 13-11 up and it was a race now to the match-winning mark of 19.

The Men’s A side did not have the best of starts and only Lee Hellings (23.14) was a home winner after the first four matches were played. Mark Shears (28.55) (pictured) began the revival with a man-of-the-match performance which brought a 4-2 victory in 16, 17, 21 and 16 followed by an equally good performance from Paul Milford (27.97) who emerged a 4-1 winner in 17, 21, 17 and 16.

Those two points put Devon back in the driving seat at 16-14 but the scoreline became 17-17 when Cornwall won two of the next three with only Neil White (23.36) delivering for the hosts. It was getting close to crunch time now but Devon made sure of at least a draw when Mike Pearce (25.06) steadied the ship to win 4-2 before newly selected England international John Mann (27.40) got the all-important 19th point when winning 4-2 in 18, 13, 20 and 19.

Cornwall had the last shout, but Devon had come through a very close encounter to win 19-17 and consolidate their mid-table position. Devon have arguably their hardest fixture of the campaign next when they travel to Yorkshire over the weekend of February 21/March 1.

From the other side of the fence!

CORNWALL remain in a relegation fight after they went down by the narrowest of margins against rivals Devon in the premier division of the British Inter County Championship.

They did not have the best of starts when Joe-Anne Symons (15.93) proved to be their only winner in the ladies’ B encounter but the Men’s B side responded admirably.

David Mills (22.29), aided by a leg in 14, won 4-1 followed by a 4-0 success for George Jones (26.03) who hit two maximums in a 15-darter.

Steve (Tex) Thomas (23.86) maintained Cornwall’s impetus when winning 4-0, aided by a 15-dart leg which he finished with a kill of 110 before Martin Smith (23.39) and Mike Beard (22.25) both won 4-1 with Beard hitting a checkout of 107.

Cornwall now led for the first time, but Devon began their revival by winning four of the next five with only Danny Robinson (24.44) showing any resistance, emerging a 4-0 winner which began with an 18-darter which he finished with an outshot of 156.

But the visitors rallied again through Chris Eustice (23.14) and Josh Symons (22.74) to pull off a well deserved 8-4 success which brought the two sides level overnight at 9-9.

The Ladies A side went down 4-2 but they were unlucky not to get anything from the last two sets which both went the full distance.

Sue Shepherd (24.39) won 3-1 in 16, 16 and 20 while Sarah Gill (16.58) won 3-2.

Neil Dudbridge (22.78) claimed the first point of the Men’s A fixture with a 4-2 success and although the second set went to Devon, Cornwall responded by taking the next two in style.

Kevin Bray (28.99) won 4-2 in 18, 15, 18 and 16, aided by a checkout of 122 and was just pipped to the man-of-the-match award by Neil Meneer (29.32) who won 4-2 in 16, 15, 16 and 18.

Devon responded by taking three of the next four with only Gareth Griffiths (27.09) adding to Cornwall’s tally when winning 4-1 with his best leg coming in 14.

Cornwall now trailed 15-16 with five to play and were desperate to get at least a draw from the fixture but sadly they fell short.

Dennis Bryant (28.10) hit a 14-darter in a 4-1 victory but the match was already lost before Simon Knowles (25.12) won 4-1 with his best game coming in 15 which he finished with a checkout of 120.

A 19-17 defeat was hard to take, and the loss has plunged Cornwall into the bottom two, eight points clear of safety. But the team immediately above them is Lincolnshire and Cornwall have every advantage to turn the tables on them when they host Lincolnshire over the weekend of February 29 / March 1.

submitted for Darts World Magazine March 2020

Text: Steve Chapman