Preview – Alan Towe’s ‘The Line’. West Midlands vs Cambridgeshire

Every month, in Darts World, Alan contributes an extensive round-up of West Midlands darts. County, Super League, Standard Leagues, Singles Leagues and much more.

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After suffering the disappointment of relegation from the Premier Division of the BDO Inter County Championships last season West Midlands had the joy of seeing their opening home win against Cambridgeshire take them to the top of the Division One promotion table.

Full summary in November’s Darts World.

Saturday’s ladies ‘B’ team gave the county a boost as they stormed into an unassailable position. Sophie Singh opened up with a 3-1 win over Lorraine Bullman after Bullman had won the first leg. Stella Sims was pegged back to level terms twice by Jess Cassidy and although the decider could have gone either way it was West Midlands Sims who got the 3-2 result.

The hosts lead was taken to 3-0 by the lady of the match Shellbie Simmons who after going 1-0 up saw her opponent Rebecca Brouse draw level in the second. Shellbie went ahead again in the third and rounded off her 3-1 win with an 18 darts leg giving her a superb 21.09 average.

Game number four saw Cambridgeshire chalk up their first winner when Carol Bareham beat Claire Hobbs 3-1 and although Hannah Rampley looked as though she was going to reduce the arrears even further in the fifth when she won the first leg against Heather Wright it was Wright who won the following three legs to give her teammates a winning 4-1 lead.

The ladies final game went the full five legs distance, Julie Aston (West Midlands) twice taking the lead against Laura Corrigan before winning the deciding leg for a 3-2 win and an overall 5-1 victory for the ladies ‘B’ which was a repeat of the result in the 2017-2018 season when the West Midlands played away to Cambridgeshire in the Premier Division.

Similar to the ladies ‘B’ the men’s ‘B’ also won the first three games as Matthew Coleman began the match with a 4-2 win over Simon Bewley and by the same margin, Adam Edgar defeated Connor Arberry. Stephen Jones made it 3-0 when he accounted for Iain Styles with a 4-1 result.

Matthew Moore (West Midlands) fought back from 1-0 and 3-1 down to Mark Lynn to twice level the game but it was Lynn who won the final leg after both players had thrown for a finishing double. The deficit was reduced to 3-2 in the fifth when Leigh Beeton won 4-2 against Mark Rollinson, however by the halfway stage the home side were 4-2 up as Alfie Jacques accounted for Barry-John Paget in four straight legs, Jacques winning in 22,21,18 and 16 darts to give him an award-winning average of 26.03.

The second half got underway with Eddie Martin keeping Cambridgeshire in the hunt with a 4-3 win over Neil Pointon, Pointon going 1-0 up then 2-1 down, drawing level in the fourth and then losing the fifth. The home player won the sixth leg after both players had struggled on double one but it was Martin who won the last leg again after both players had thrown for a winning double.

Trevor Brennon restored West Midlands two games buffer when he won 4-1 against Michael Bodle but then with a 4-3 win for Duggie McInerney over Scott Hall followed by a 4-2 success for Gary Robertson over Dave Redding the visitors were well and truly back in the game with the score at 5-5 and just two to play.

Stuart Ward (Cambridgeshire) went 1-0 and 2-1 up against Gareth Johnston and although Johnston levelled in the fourth and went 3-2 up in the fifth the game was squared once again as Ward won the sixth with a 106 checkout. The seventh leg saw Ward throw for a winning double and miss giving Johnston the one opportunity he required to throw for 82 which he dispatched with aplomb to keep his teams’ hopes of a win alive and at the same time kill off any chance of their opponents actually winning.

Shane Price held his nerve in the last game of the day against John Gowler as he swept aside his challenge with winning legs in 22,18,17 and 21 darts to win 4-0 and give the West Midlands men’s ‘B’ side a 7-5 victory.

Red Dragon darts supports Alan Towe’s The Line.

Whereas the West Midlands ladies ‘B’ won 5-1 against their Cambridgeshire counterparts in the 2017-2018 season and again in this their latest fixture against the same opponents, the ladies ‘A’ lost 4-2 in the 2017-

2018 season and once again history repeated itself as they lost by the same margin once again to Cambridgeshire.

As the game got underway the away side began with a 3-0 win for Karen Stanhope against Kat McLean, however by the same straight 3-0 margin Jacqueline Maiden beat Liz Humphries to level the game. Kath Jenkins (West Midlands) went one up against Casey Hill only to see Hill take the next three legs for a 3-1 win to put the visitor’s noses in front once again.

West Midlands Cheryl Alcock began strongly against Carol Bareham as she won the first leg with a 102 finish. Alcock then took the second leg in 21 darts and rounded off a straight 3-0 victory giving her a 21.47 average to clinch the lady of the match award.

Gemma Barrett found herself trailing 2-0 against Amy Grant and despite pulling back to 2-2 missed her doubles in the fifth and went down 3-2.

With the result now dependant on the final game, the home team could not have wished for a more consistent player to represent them than Sarah Roberts, winner of numerous match awards. Sarah won the first leg then after losing the second to Nadine Bentley went ahead again in the third in 22 darts. Unusually Sarah missed her finishing doubles in the fourth and Nadine levelled the game once again to leave the outcome resting on the final leg. It was a nervy fifth leg with both players throwing for a double but it was finally Nadine Bentley who found the elusive double to win 3-2 and give Cambridgeshire a 4-2 victory.

Both of the first two games in the men’s ‘A’ fixture had a 4-2 result with both of them going to Cambridgeshire as Martin Adams and Ian Withers in turn accounted for Gavin Baker and Alfie Jacques.

Getting West Midlands first stripe on the board was man of the match Dan Nicholls who after going 2-0 up against Jason Marriott in 22 and 16 darts rounded off a superb straight 4-0 win with two fifteen darts legs giving him a terrific 29.47 average.

At number four was Mick Baker who in 21 darts went one up against Chris Fidler only to see Fidler win the next three legs in 18,19 and 17 darts. The following three legs were very close and could have gone either way but it was Mick Baker who claimed them all to win 4-3 and level the game at two each.

Game five was another close seven legs affair with Paul Wells (West Midlands) taking the lead three times against Simon Hill only to see Hill cancel it out on each occasion. However against the first throw advantage in the seventh leg, it was Wells who won it for another tight 4-3 victory.

With John Morris adding his 4-1 win over Carl Dockerill in the last game of the first half the home side were well in control as they held a lead of 4-2.

Scott Baker added to that lead as the second half got underway, his 4-2 win over Matthew Wing after Wing had won the first and fourth took the score nicely along to 5-2 and with a similar 4-2 win for Owen Maiden against Scott Williams West Midlands couldn’t lose the game as they were now leading 6-2. The possible draw was quickly turned into a win as Shaun Carroll with a straight 4-0 win over Ashley Coleman made it 7-2.

Cambridgeshire won their third game in the tenth when John Imrie beat Glen McGrandle 4-3. Imrie won the first leg in 17 darts only to see McGrandle level in the second and although the away player won the third McGrandle levelled again in the fourth with a 17 darts leg and then for the first time went ahead with a super 14 darts leg. Unfortunately, it was those elusive doubles that counted once again in the last two legs, both players being guilty of missing them but it was Imrie who came out of it the better as he went on to win 4-3.

Dennis Harbour gave the visitors their best run since the opening two games when at number eleven he made it two in a row as he won 4-2 against Mark Craddock, however with a 4-1 win for the evergreen Ian Jones over Martyn Moore in the final game of the day the score was taken to 8-4 to West Midlands giving them a table-topping 22-14 overall win for the weekend…………..

Written by Alan Towe.

Supported by Red Dragon darts.

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