Weekend of the 25th-26th of April saw Dorset making the long journey to Thornaby Sports and Leisure Club the home of Cleveland County Darts. The venue was ideal plenty of practice boards and a nice stage and viewing area one of the best Venues we have been to. Most of the Dorset team travelled up on the Friday some by plane from Southampton Airport the others driving the 300 plus miles, such is the commitment within the county of Dorset. We are only a small county but both the team and individuals have made significant achievements over the years. We have the England captain and World Champion Scott Mitchell in the team as well as youngster Daniel Perry playing for the England youth squad and ex England youth player (too old now) Thomas Chant. We should also mention both Sherborne and Bournemouth Ladies team who have won the Champions Cup. We should also mention the football club BOURNEMOUTH FC who for the first time in it's history have just earned promotion as Champions to the Premier league.
So how did we get on?
Our women's B team has seen a few changes this season and haven't as yet really shown the consistency we all know they are capable of. Cleveland's B ladies were bottom of the league so hopes were high. We lost the first two games both Wendy Lamb and Donna Mabbatt struggled to hit a double both losing 0-3 then Lin Bellingham got us our 1st win with a great 124 out shot. Lisa Prowse also struggled with her doubles losing 0-3. Wins for Claire Whatley our woman of the match (again) winning 3-1 with a 17.10 average always consistent a good steady player that won't be rushed and it works for her, and Sally Old whose own darts broke bought a new set of darts that very morning took them up on stage with her and won 3-0, now that's brave. So not the best of starts 3-3, it could have been so much better if not for the doubles!!!!
Bring on the men's B. On paper nothing really to separate the two teams so we knew it was going to be close. The men got us off to a great start with wins for Mark Grimes, Daniel Perry a young 13 year old up from our youth team who got his 1st County win for the Men's team and probably the loudest cheer of the day. He even had his mother in tears but took the win well what a find he will be in later games he held his nerve and hit that winning double. Lee Turle followed back to winning ways with a 3-0 win. There then followed losses for Alan Ayres, Terry Gowans and Matty Yarrow who had his chances but missed doubles leaving the match all square again at 3-3. A win from Lee Edwardson put us back in front, John Clark lost 1-3 then wins from captain Mark Porter playing like we know he can and Matty Woodhouse put us two games ahead. Steve O'Marah despite hitting a 24.45 average lost but we saved the best game till last, Robby Morris winning 3-1 hitting a 27.21 average and was our man of the match. The men's B just edging it 7-5.
A two game lead going into Sunday would that be enough?
Day 2. Now Cleveland's A ladies were bottom of the table so hopes were high. A great start from our ladies wins for Sarah Chick, Julie Frampton and Cath Campbell our women of the match winning 3-1 with a 19.80 average. Julie Boggust and Suzy Trickett both lost but a win for Trina Perry (Daniel's mother) gave us a 4-2 win.
Now a 4 game lead going into the men's A sounds a lot but Cleveland have their own superstars with the likes of Glen Durrant (no 1 in running county averages) Richard Corner, Allan Edwards and Peter Frewer playing for them no wonder they are top of the Men's A table.
Up 1st Ryan Gowans who played well match going to a deciding leg but Allan Edwards was just too good hitting a 27.84 average, then Richard Corner (Cleveland) poked a winning 27.45 average against Robbie Martin. Up next Scotty Dog Mitchell who played Scott Chatterton what a game that was Scotty dog missing darts at a double to win 4-2 game going to a last leg shoot out which Scott Chatterton won so we found ourselves 0-3 down. Did our heads go down? NO it's a team game and every player who puts his toe to that oche tries his best to win. Next Matt Read (who along with Sarah Chick his partner, began their journey early Saturday morning, broke down on the motorway got towed home, got a hire car and started again arriving at the hotel at 7pm now that's commitment) took the match to a deciding 7th leg which he won.
John Bothamley up next who had said he wouldn't mind playing Glen Durrant (be careful what you wish for) well he got his wish. Glen hit the highest average of the weekend 28.69 and beat John 4-1. Next Steve Penney who won 4-2 followed by Nigel Lamb who won 4-0 with a 27.83 and was our man of the match. This gave us hope, trailing 3-4, Tim Clothier up next and took it to a deciding 7th leg a little unlucky having just one dart at tops to win so close. Then followed losses for Sean McMurray, Steve Earley. Kevin Smith who had won his last 4 games, took it to a deciding leg but Michael Evans (Cleveland) poked the winning double and for the 1st time Cleveland were in front 18-17 with just Thomas Chant left to play. Thomas (The Robot) Chant had just returned from the German Open where he reached the last 32 beating The Count Ted Hankey on his route. Thomas yet another player who has emerged through the youth system. A key game Thomas never looked like losing winning 4-2 to get us the draw. Made the long trip home more bareable.
Some say I'm mad driving all that way "JUST FOR A GAME OF DARTS" but I don't think so such is my love of the game and my County.
Highlights of the weekend for me seeing the two youth players Thomas Chant and Daniel Perry both doing the business. Dorset showing what a friendly side we really are with both the team manager, John Clark and Men's Captain Mark Porter helping Cleveland out by doing some MC work for them.
One match left to play and that's at home to Oxfordshire weekend 30th - 31st May. We play out of the Conservative Club (monkey house) in upper Parkstone, come and see what I get so excited about its just like watching darts on the T.V. but with atmosphere. Come and see our England captain and world champion Scott Mitchell, and of course OUR GREAT DORSET COUNTY SQUAD.
Cleveland 18 - 18 Dorset
Women's B Drew 3-3 // Mens B Won 7-5
Women's A Won 4-2 // Mens A Lost 4-8