Suffolk 11-25 Northamptonshire (1st/2nd October 2016)
Suffolk darts team fell to heavy home defeat by Northamptonshire in the latest round of British Inter Counties Championship Division Two matches.
The visiting players were in inspired form on both days, with the 3-3 draw achieved by the Women’s B team the only glimmer of light for Suffolk in a weekend that saw comprehensive defeats for the other three teams and an overall 25-11 win for Northants.
But the cruel truth of darts is that there can be the slenderest of margins between defeat and victory – and this was never more epitomized than on this weekend, as on no fewer than eight occasions in the Men’s matches Suffolk players had darts at a double to win the match, before going on to lose in a deciding leg.
Bad luck maybe, but the Northamptonshire players clearly held their nerve far better in these pressure situations than the home side and were fully worthy of their overall win.
The weekend began with the Women’s B match, and a bad start for Suffolk with defeats for Jayne Webb (Lowestoft – 13.61 ave) and Sami Watson (Bury – 16.46 ave).
But, as in the previous fixture at Worcestershire, it was Mandy Reeves (Stowmarket – 17.91 ave) who got Suffolk on the board – taking the Lady of the Match award with her 3-2 win over Amy Chappell.
After Beckie Edmeades (Lowestoft – 13.75 ave) had lost 3-1, Suffolk Women’s B turned the match around to bag a very creditable 3-3 draw, with a 3-0 win for Leesa Woollard (Stowmarket – 16.16 ave) over Lisa Thompson and captain Chrissy Stubbings (Smock – 16.88 ave) winning 3-2 against Heather Thompson.
The tone for the remainder of the weekend was set in the enthralling opening game of the Men’s B match as Mark Walker (Smock – 25.41 ave) missed several chances from 2-0 up to complete a fine win but eventually lost 3-2 to Jason Lovell.
Defeat for Jamie Collins (Saxmundham – 19.44 ave), was followed by 3-2 defeats and missed opportunities for the Haverhill pair of Richard Watson (24.16 ave) and debutant Steve Hayward (22.87 ave & 180).
Suffolk finally got one on the board as John Attwater (Sudbury – 25.47 ave) gave an accomplished performance to win 3-0 – but Stuart Greenhalgh (Felixstowe – 23.30 ave & 180) became the latest to fall to the 3-2 curse and Kevin Harris (Clapgate Lane – 21.73 ave) lost 3-0 as the home side found themselves 6-1 down.
And when Andy Meikle (Leiston – 25.17 ave) gave his usual solid performance, but found an opponent in Ben Baldwin in inspired form and was beaten 3-1, Suffolk really knew the weekend wasn’t going to go to plan.
Some shoots of a Suffolk recovery began with a Man of the Match display and 3-0 win from Rob Warman (Saxmundham – 27.33 ave), before Jason Stalker (Sudbury – 21.78 ave) reduced the deficit further with a 3-0 win.
Kim Buckingham (Lake Lothing – 24.01 ave) continued to turn the tide and bring the score back to 7-4 as he came back from 2-0 down to win – but Northants completed an 8-4 Men’s B win as on his long awaited debut Gary Butcher (Haverhill – 24.34 ave & 180) didn’t take his opportunities in the deciding leg and went down 3-2.
So at the midway point Suffolk found themselves 11-7 down overall going into Sunday – not an insurmountable deficit, but plenty of work was needed to be done to get back in the match.
The day all started so well in the Women’s A match, as the ever improving Sarah Ceska (Smock – 18.39 ave & 180) earned another Lady of the Match award with a 3-1 win over Angela Barrow.
But the powerful Northants Women’s A team proved too strong for Suffolk over the rest of the match, as they ran out 5-1 winners despite very respectable performances from all the home players.
Jo Locke (Smock – 21.92 ave) won the opening leg of her game with Rebecca Rose with a 139 finish, but eventually succumbed 3-1 in a superb game – Jo, for the second successive match, having one of the best averages in the division but still unfortunately losing her game.
The remaining games all saw 3-1 defeats for the Suffolk players as the Northamptonshire constantly finished legs superbly – although Rossy Scriven (Smock – 16.34 ave) did have a nice 126 shot out.
The other defeated Suffolk Women’s A players were Barbara Chenery (Stowmarket – 17.58 ave), Nicky Doidge (Bury – 17.71 ave) and Jean Prewitt (Lowestoft – 15.92 ave).
With Northants now having a 16-8 lead, Suffolk Men’s A were faced with an impossible task to retrieve the situation against the strong visitors.
Ian Randles (Sudbury – 21.98 & 180) went down 4-2 in the opening game, but David Ballard-Flatt (Leiston – 26.05 ave & 180) came back from 3-1 down to win for Suffolk.
Symptomatic of the weekend, Jason Elvin (Walsham – 24.94 ave & 180), Andy Noy (Leiston – 26.05 ave & 180) and Phil Reeve (Smock – 21.96 ave) all lost in last leg deciders as the visitors moved 4-1 ahead and clinched the overall match.
There followed 4-1 defeats for Tony Lincoln (Lake Lothing – 23.01 ave) and Liam Last (Leiston – 25.26 ave & 180), before Suffolk stemmed the flow with a 4-1 win by Stephen Burton (Clapgate Lane – 27.57 ave) who took the Man of the Match award in the process.
Rob Morling (Clapgate Lane – 24.58 ave) lost 4-1 as Northants got to the seven points they needed to win the Men’s A match, but Nick Bloom (Walsham – 26.96 ave) won 4-1 to put a smile on Suffolk faces.
Daren Wood (Smock – 22.11 ave) lost 4-0, before the last game of the match saw the best game of the weekend as Wayne Hammond (Smock – 28.75 ave) went toe-to-toe with former top PDC professional Kevin McDine but narrowly lost out by (you’ve guessed it) 4 legs to 3
Suffolk are next in action on the weekend of 29th/30th October when they face the long trip to Northumberland.
Suffolk Mens A 3-9 Northamptonshire Mens A
Ian Randles (21.98) 2-4 (21.57) Luke Smith
David Ballard-Flatt (26.05) 4-3 (25.83) Christian Shipley
Jason Elvin (24.94) 3-4 (24.02) Dave Walker
Andrew Noy (26.05) 3-4 (24.28) Ben Goodger
Phil Reeve (21.96) 3-4 (22.45) Stuart Gilmour
Tony Lincoln (23.01) 1-4 (28.65) James Thompson
Liam Last (25.26) 1-4 (26.21) Paul Shepherd
Stephen Burton (27.57) 4-1 (26.37) Anthony Littleton
Robert Morling (24.58) 1-4 (29.00) Simon Almey
Nick Bloom (26.96) 4-1 (27.12) Martin Biggs
Daren Wood (22.21) 0-4 (29.47) Chris Jones
Wayne Hammond (28.75) 3-4 (28.43) Kevin McDine
Suffolk Womens A 1-5 Northamptonshire Womens A
Sarah Ceska (18.39) 3-1 (17.50) Angela Barrow
Jo Locke (21.92) 1-3 (22.27) Rebecca Rose
Barbara Chenery (17.58) 1-3 (18.20) Gail Fullthorpe
Nicky Doidge (17.71) 1-3 (19.84) Sharon Tompkins
Rossy Scriven (16.34) 1-3 (16.88) Sara Rose
Jean Prewitt (15.92) 1-3 (17.40) Karen Sheridan
Suffolk Mens B 4-8 Northamptonshire Mens B
Mark Walker (25.41) 2-3 (25.55) Jason Lovell
Jamie Collins (19.44) 0-3 (22.43) Stephen Tompkins
Richard Watson (24.17) 2-3 (23.77) Nigel Crane
Stephen Hayward (22.87) 2-3 (23.48) Ian Evans
Jonathon Attwater (25.47) 3-0 (19.63) Phil Coward
Stuart Greenhalgh (23.30) 2-3 (23.05) Chuck Scott
Kevin Harris (21.73) 0-3 (22.77) Andy Tee
Andrew Meikle (25.17) 1-3 (27.58) Benjain Baldwin
Rob Warman (27.33) 3-0 (24.46) Chris Kuhlman
Jason Stalker (21.78) 3-0 (21.15) Coby Jones-Swanson
Kim Buckingham (24.01) 3-2 (20.97) Curly Connelly
Gary Butcher (24.34) 2-3 (24.91) Shane Prowse
Suffolk Womens B 3-3 Northamptonshire Womens B
Jayne Webb (13.61) 0-3 (21.78) Rebecca Barrow
Sami Watson (16.46) 1-3 (18.02) Faye Mason
Mandy Reeves (17.91) 3-2 (16.44) Amy Chappell
Rebecca Edmeades (13.75) 1-3 (13.45) Elisha Evans
Leesa Woollard (16.16) 3-0 (15.70) Lisa Thompson
Chrissy Stubbings (16.88) 3-2 (15.05) Heather Thompson