Derbyshire, as a follow-up to their 20-16 home win against neighbouring Nottinghamshire in their opening fixture in division one of the UKDA National League were hoping to add to that victory in their away game against Cleveland who had kicked off their season with a 24-12 win away to Merseyside.
It looked as though it would be a good start for the ladies ‘B’ as Katrina McAleney opened up a 2-0 lead over Sam Dixon but with wins in the next three legs, it was Dixon who got the 3-2 result to put the host’s one up. Doubling Cleveland’s lead was Alison Wells when she beat Carol Western 3-1 and with the same scoreline, Amy Thomas defeated Nicola Fletcher to put the home team within an ace of victory.
Ginny Whittaker (Cleveland) went one up against Sara-Jane Harrison only to see the Derbyshire player storm back and go on to win 3-1. Jenny McCormick was also a 3-1 winner for Derbyshire when she won against Melanie Holland to leave the onus on the last two players to decide if there would be a draw or win for Cleveland.
A 3-3 draw was how it turned out as Derbyshire produced their lady of the match in the final game in the shape of Sammie Marshall. Sammie went 1-0 up against Frances Elwick in 22 darts and with wins in the following two legs recorded a straight 3-0 win and took the match award for her 19.52 average.
The men’s ‘B’ began brightly as Mark Thompson, after trailing 2-0 to Peter Frewer roared to a 3-2 victory in 20,22 and 19 darts giving him at the end of the day an award winning average of 22.47.
From there on in it was one-way traffic, all in favour of Cleveland as Mick Evans, Rob Grundy and Collin Foxton in turn all won 3-1 against Mick Smith, Owen Thomas and Chris Grogan.
Allen Hurt (Derbyshire) looked as though he would put a halt to the home team’s charge as he opened up leads of 1-0 and 2-1 against John Watson. Alas it was not to be as Watson took the last two legs to seal a 3-2 win and put his team 4-1 up. Going into the halfway point Jordan Matthews added a 3-0 win over Alan Clegg to Cleveland’s tally to see them lead 5-1.
As the second session got underway it was the hosts who went further ahead as Tony Liddel beat Rob Stansbury 3-1, then making it a winning 7-1 lead was Ray Hutchinson who came from 2-0 down to Dan Ford to win 3-2.
Before Derbyshire were able to add their second winner Chris Bradley won 3-1 against Pete Hadfield to open up an 8-1 lead, game number ten seeing Ben Holmes win for the visitors when he accounted for Carl Small in three straight legs. However, this was to be the away team’s only other winner as David Hunter won 3-2 against Will North and completing a 10-2 victory for Cleveland was Gary Hayes with his 3-1 success over Jay Witham to take the overall score for the day to 13-5 in Cleveland’s favour.
Sunday’s ladies’ game began with a straight 3-0 win for the home team as Zoe Holland defeated Rose Mort. Claire Stamper looked all set to double that advantage when she opened a 2-0 lead over Rachel Bird but it was Rachel Bird who got the final 3-2 result to level the game at one each.
Derbyshire went ahead in the third thanks to Rebecca Hoyland who won 3-1 against Mandy Stephens. However parity was restored for a second time in the fourth when Tonilee Bowstead beat Emily Jones 3-0 and then, again for a second time, the home team took the lead with a 3-1 win from Carla Boyes who had to come from one down against Rachel Ayres, to leave the result hinging on the final game.
Ann Marie Potts (Cleveland) won the opening leg of the last game but in 21, 25 and 21 darts it was Derbyshire’s Jackie Sweet who got the 3-1 verdict to not only give her team a share of the points but on a personal note the lady of the match award for her 21.11 average.
Derbyshire got the better start for the men’s ‘A’ game as Nigel Stanley opened up with a 4-1 win over Jonny Gardner, Ian Allcock making it 2-0 when he beat Craig Anderson 4-3 in a thrilling seven legs affair.
Gary Stephens got Cleveland’s first stripe on the board when in the third game he won 4-2 against Michael Ryall only to see the visitors restored their two games lead when their man of the match Lee Stanley defeated Sean Jowers. Stanley began with an 18 darts leg including a 119 game shot. He then made it 2-0 in 19 darts and with a 123 finish went three up. With scores of 140,140,100 and 98 he wrapped up his straight 4-0 win with a 23 outshot in what was his fastest leg of the tie, a 15 darts winner.
By the midway point Derbyshire had opened up a 4-2 lead, despite Kevin Naunton winning 4-1 against Paul Williams in the fifth Gary Fenn replied in the sixth with a straight 4-0 win over Cleveland’s Brian Henderson.
A win in the first leg and a leveller in the fourth by James Parkin was not enough to avoid a 4-2 loss at the hands of the home team’s Adam Atkinson as the second half got underway. Extending Derbyshire’s lead to 5-3 in the eighth was Matt Faulkner who despite losing the first, fourth and sixth legs to Paul Allen won 4-3.
Mark Busuttil pulled one back for the home side in the ninth when he won 4-1 against Sean Lambert after he had gone 1-0 down and with a similar 4-1 win for Barry Davies over Andy Houghton, for the first time since the game began the overall score was level.
Cameron Anderson (Cleveland) took the first leg off Henry Coates, however, the young Derbyshire man hung on in there and went on to seal a 4-1 win with winning legs of 15,16,21 and 25 darts to guarantee the visitors a share of the spoils.
The final game of the weekend saw Cleveland take a 1-0 lead when Karl Coleman won the opening leg against Paul Redfern, then Redfern went 2-1 up in 20 and 14 darts. The game swung back in favour of the home team’s man of the match as he rounded off his 4-2 victory in 18,17 and 18 darts with a 26.99 average.
The final score for the men’s ‘A’ game 6-6, the overall result for the weekend 22-14 to Cleveland.
The win took Cleveland to the top of the division one promotion table with 52 points, Derbyshire residing in a fifth position with 37 points, 16 adrift of the victors but only six short of second in the table Suffolk.
After a very disappointing 27-9 away defeat against Gwent in the AON Championship division opener, West Midlands recorded their first win of the campaign when in game number two they won their home tie with Humberside 21-15.
Three of the four teams chalked up wins with the ladies ‘A’ finishing all square at three each. The result sees the Midlanders move up two places from the foot of the table with a total of 33 points, 19 more than next to bottom Oxfordshire and 21 to the good on bottom placed Cambridgeshire.
With both of the men’s teams winning 7-5 the match awards went to, for the ‘A’ team Michael Baker (28.80) and for the ‘B’ Luke Griffiths (27.16). Jacqueline Maiden was the ladies ‘A’ top player with her 16.85 average while for the ‘B’ team it was Kelly Doleman (17.17) as they won 4-2.
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