Big night of Yarmouth darts
The summer darts league finals took place last Friday and a large crowd were treated to an exciting evening of play.
Gerald Norman is no stranger to the finals stage but for young Ben Bilyard it was his first final, and most people were expecting a mismatch game. But it turned out to be a cracker that could have gone either way.
Gerald set off at a fast pace, shooting two scores of 140 in his first three visits to the board but Ben came back with 85, 96, 100, 80 and after just 18 darts both players were on a double finish.
Needing 40 and having the advantage of first darts Gerald lined up to hit 20 X10 to leave Ben needing X16.
The second leg was even better as Ben set off with 83, 60, 140, 58, 100, 44 to leave himself on X8.
Gerald hit back with 93, 60, 60, 60, 100, 92 to leave 36 but there was to be no fairy tale ending as Ben shot two darts close to the wire of x8 before hitting the wire and bouncing out, leaving Gerald a chance at x18. He was thankful to see his final dart hit the target to record a 2-0 win. But players beware young Ben is bound to be back.
Liz Nichols is another seasoned campaigner returning after a three year “rest” and she was the most unlucky player on the night not to have won the ladies’ singles title.
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Playing against the much-fancied county player Karen Page, Liz showed her real grit and determination in matching Karen dart for dart as both players hit scores in the 60s, and 80, and a ton each to leave Karen on 26 and Liz on 16.
Having the first dart advantage Liz stepped up to hit X8 with her second dart and took a 1-0 lead.
The second leg started slowly and it wasn’t till Karen hit 85, 83, 70 that a big gap opened up and Liz woke up to hit 85, 140, to leave 98. But it was too late as Karen levelled the match with her third dart hitting x2.
The final was a reversal of the second leg as Liz hit 100, 120, 95 to open up a gap on Karen but the old finish hoodoo struck Liz as she had 12 darts at the double before Karen caught her up hitting 123, 83. But she missed a shot at double before stepping up at the second.
Fred Morris was the star of the mixed triples finals as he hit a string of scores over 60, three tons, 125, in a 2-1 win
He was partnered by Bob and Sally Smith who combined to supply a 180, two tons from Bob and the second leg finishing double from Sally.
Paul Stafford put in a sterling performance to register three scores of 140 and a ton in the three legs, but after hitting the winning double to take a 1-0 lead Paul, John Graver and Pat Twitchett couldn’t match their opponents and it was left to Fred Morris to hit the winning double two leaving John, Paul and Pat still needing 119.
Gary Amey and Pete Burnett produced a fine performance in the male pairs against Frank Burden and John Jacobs.
Gary registered six tons in a three-leg match, Peter hit one ton in each leg, Frank Burden hit three tons and John Jacobs a 125, 100. But consistency in the supporting scores between the tons saw Gary and Pete win the first leg comfortably. They lost the second leg on the double and then took the third leg without their opponents having a shot at the double.
Beth Harrison and Sally Smith were the underdogs in the ladies’ pairs as they squared up to Elaine Davy and June Shillings, but the form book was turned inside out.
The first leg was very close as just one ton from Sally and one from Elaine which saw the girls see-sawing to the final double. And with Beth and Sally on 12 and Elaine and June needing 28 the nerves were jangling. Sally kept her cool to hit 6, X3 to take a 1-0 lead.
Sally and Beth flexed their muscles in the second leg and each player had three scores over 80 to open up a massive gap in the scores, and after just 30 darts in a 701 leg they needed only 40.
Elaine and June hung on gamely as Elaine hit 132 and June 65 but it was all too late as they still needed 189 when Sally shot out with one dart at X20 to win 2-0.
The Graham Priestly memorial mixed pairs saw Gary Amey in sparkling form. Again he hit three tons, 125, and both the doubles out in a 2-0 win.
Chris Davy struck a 180 in the first leg as he and Carole Jacobs fought bravely to defend their title but the two clinical first time finishes from Gary gave them no chance.
In the drawn mixed pairs Gerald Norman and June Shillings went off like a train to leave Charlie Wilson and Janet Bell in their wake as they took the first leg in just 32 darts.
In the second leg it could have been all wrapped up as both team reached the double, but Gerald missed and up stepped Charlie to hit 25, X20 to finish on 65 and level the match.
That was to be a costly miss as Charlie and Janet found their top form to crack ahead with only two scores below 80 between them. And such was the gulf in the scores that Gerald and June needed 191 when Janet shot out with X10
Thank you to John Smith’s brewery for their support and to Paul Nash and his staff at the Merlins club for a very good finals night.