Following their memorable 20-16 away win over the mighty Yorkshire, Warwickshire continued their fine start to the new UKDA Elite Premier Division season with another superb performance in their first home game against Essex.
Getting the weekend off to a fantastic start was the ladies ‘B’ who were in top form and setting the standard in the very first game was the lady of the match Chloe McKivett. Playing against Leanne Peetoom Chloe was made to fight all the way as she trailed 1-0 and 2-1 but with two 24 darts legs in the fourth and fifth she wrapped up her 3-2 victory with a 20.61 average. Marian Conway and Denise Keyte had respective 3-1 wins against Kerry Rudd and Tracey Newman to guarantee at the worst a share of the spoils. However, sharing the points was never on the agenda as Melanie Jones assured her teammates of a win when she beat Sharon Wakeling 3-2 in a game similar to Chloe McKivetts whereby Melanie trailed 1-0 and 2-1 and went on to clinch a 3-2 win.
Caroline Pike took the score along to 5-0 when she accounted for Ann Farmer with her 3-1 result and a whitewash was achieved in the final game when Wendy Adams beat namesake Wendy Collins. Warwickshire’s Wendy kicked off with a superb 117 game shot in the opening leg and although her counterpart cancelled out her lead on two occasions she went on to seal a 3-2 win and take the final score to 6-0 which together with their 5-1 success at Yorkshire is not a bad start to the new campaign.
Like their ladies team the men’s ‘B’ also added a second win in as many games as they began with three wins in the first three games. Matty Washbrooke got the proceedings underway going on to win 4-2 against Matt Garrett after Garrett had won the first leg. Doubling the home team’s advantage was Steve Giddings with another 4-2 win as once again he had to come from 1-0 down as his opponent Simon Monk won the opener. Taking the score along to 3-0 was Martin Tonks, and for a third successive game the home player trailed 1-0 but went on to win 4-2 as Tonks defeated Michael Pinnington.
Essex player Danny McIntyre was the man to stop the rot for the visitors as in the fourth game he chalked up their first stripe on the board when he won 4-3 against Wayne Mynard but he most certainly didn’t have it all is own way as Mynard, after being pegged back to 1-1 after winning the first leg then went 3-1 up but with winning legs of 21, 18 and 15 darts it was McIntyre who got the close 4-3 verdict.
By the halfway point Warwickshire had opened up a 5-1 lead as Dave Honey and Darren Swords in turn added their 4-3 wins over Adam Howard and John Costello. Strangely as in the home teams other winners Honey and Swords also had to come back from 1-0 down.
As the second half got underway the visitors added a second win to their tally as Darren Richardson beat Mark Carter 4-3. Jack Wareing guaranteed a draw in style as he handed out a straight 4-0 defeat to Wayne Gleed and with a further 4-1 win from Carl Green against Lennie Holmes the win was secured as the hosts were now 7-2 up.
Moving the score along nicely to 8-2 was Dave Hill, a 4-1 success against Tony Osborne before Essex gained a third winner in the shape of Bryan Margerison who despite leading 2-0 then fell behind 3-2 to Gareth Braham. Nevertheless Margerison fought back to win the last two legs and get the 4-3 result.
The very last game of the day produced Warwickshire’s man of the match in the form of Jamie Hughes. After going one up in 21 darts against Scott Lawrie Hughes added a 16 and then a 19 darts leg to his account and although he lost the fourth in 18 darts he wrapped up a 4-1 win in 17 to give him a 27.09 average.
Not a bad start to the weekend as after completing the ‘B’ games Warwickshire had a somewhat comfortable 15-3 lead.
The ladies ‘A’ team could not have wished for a better start as they romped to a 3-0 lead without conceding a single leg. Sue Gulliver with an average of 22.10 was first on beating Lynn Kelly in straight legs before Tammy Montgomery added her lady of the match win to the score. Tammy, playing against Stacey Ellis got better as the game went on as she followed up her opening 27 darts leg with a 22 darts leg and rounded off her win and her terrific 22.43 average with an 18 darts leg. Completing the hat trick of straight wins was Natalie Gilbert, once again a very creditable average of 20.31 in her win against Pauline Donat.
Victory was assured as early as the fourth game as Donna Pinch took the score along to 4-0 with her 3-1 success over Dawn Kennedy.
The final two games both finished with 3-0 scorelines and both going to Essex as their Donna Gleed and Karen Breen in turn won against Nina Bolt and Angela Jones.
So a 4-2 win for the ladies ‘A’, much needed relief after going down 5-1 at Yorkshire and hopefully the start of a winning run for them.
The men’s ‘A’ finished all square at six each in the Yorkshire fixture and once again that was going to be the result against Essex.
Tom Martin was involved in a nip and tuck game with Joe Russell as he went one up in 14 darts only to lose the second leg in 21 darts. He then opened up a 3-1 lead with further winning legs of 15 and 19 darts only to see Russell fight back again to level the score in 23 and 17 darts. The deciding leg could easily have gone either way but it was Tom Martin who won it in 19 darts and the game 4-3.
Phil Halls was the man that cancelled out Martin’s win as he won 4-2 against Ian Shaw and with a 4-3 win for Darren Peetoom against Kevin Dowling the away team had reversed the advantage and opened a 2-1 lead. Richie Howson increased that lead to 3-1 when he beat Ian McFarlane 4-2 after McFarlane had come from one down to lead 2-1.
Trailing 3-1 it was now down to the next two players, two Jamie’s, Jamie Atkins and Jamie Hughes to restore parity by the break. Atkins lost the first leg to Michael Hancocks but then went on to win 4-1 while Jamie Hughes was another 4-1 winner as he stormed to a 3-0 lead over Steve Haggerty in 11, 18 and 20 darts. Haggerty won the fourth in 17 only to see Hughes clinch his win in 14 darts to earn, for the second consecutive day the man of the match award, on this occasion for his superb 31.86 average.
Essex took the early lead as the second half got underway, Andrew Kateley winning 4-0 against Mark Strong.
Game number eight was a fiercely contested one as Brad Halls (Essex) with a 100 game shot went 1-0 up against Noel Grant and could have made it 2-0 but for finishing doubles but it was Grant who capitalised on this and levelled the game in 18 darts. Grant then went ahead in 17 with Halls levelling in the fourth in 21. For a second time Noel Grant took the lead, this time in 21 darts and for a second time Halls cancelled out his lead with a 13 darts leg to force a decider. With Halls requiring 118 Grant produced a tremendous 125 outshot to win the game 4-3 and level the game at four each.
Alan Collins took the first leg off Prakash Jiwa in 19 darts but Jiwa’s reply was four game winning legs in 24,17,19 and 16 to seal his 4-1 victory and give Warwickshire a 5-4 lead.
Essex then went within an ace of victory when Jamie Peetoom beat Steve Giddings 4-2 and in the penultimate encounter Paul March, with a similar 4-2 result accounted for Nigel Heydon. However the win for the away side was not to be as in a ding dong encounter between Steve Hine (Warwickshire) and Bryan Margerison it was Hine who got the 4-3 verdict, but it was not an easy win as Margerison levelled the score no fewer than three times before Steve Hine won the decider to give a 6-6 result.
A second fixture, a second win, on this occasion an overall 25-11 victory to see Warwickshire move up four places in the divisional table to second, just two points behind leaders Lancashire, a very promising start to the new campaign for the Bears.
Words: Alan Towe
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