Summer darts league's big night

THE Summer Darts League finals and presentations took place at the Merlins Club last Friday when a packed audience were treated to some very good games that saw the juniors and the ladies play to a very high standard to affect the outcome of some matches.

THE Summer Darts League finals and presentations took place at the Merlins Club last Friday when a packed audience were treated to some very good games that saw the juniors and the ladies play to a very high standard to affect the outcome of some matches.

Kez Thompkins and Charlie Wilson were on fire in the men's pairs and left their opponents Jim Thompson and John Graver in their wake.

Jim was the luckless guy in this match. He started with 85, 100 but had 12 darts bounce out in the two legs that cost him dearly as Charlie hit 81,100, 60, 101 and was backed by a 180 from Kez. And when Charlie shot out on x13 Jim and John still needed 157.

The second leg was the same tale, Kez hit 100, 100, 55, 140 to destroy any hopes of a comeback, and needing 136 Charlie scored 80 to leave Kez to mop up with 16, x20 to win 2-0.

A storm broke out in the Graham Priestley mixed pairs as Chris Davy and Carole Jacobs went off at a gallop. Carole 100, 95, 140, and 100, from Chris opened up a massive gap that Bob and Sally Smith could not live with.

Carole scored 61 in her next shot to leave 97 and Chris needed only two darts to hit 19, x20 to take the first leg. Bob and Sally recovered in the second leg as 60, 83, 140, 60 from Bob and 70 68 from Sally gave them the edge but the old finish hoodoo struck.

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Chris hit 60, 85, 124 and 60, 55 from Carole closed the gap as Bob and Sally were so unlucky in their attempt to finish on four visits to the board, and Chris won the second leg with x4.

Gary Amey and Jackie Woodland played Kez Thompkins and Pat McKay in the drawn mixed pairs and it was the former pair that won a very close fought first leg that could have gone either way. But needing 16 to their opponents' 18, Gary stepped up to hit x8, x8 to win the leg. In the second leg Gary and Jackie fired on all cylinders to race to a big lead. Gary 100, 60, 60, 80, 58 and Jackie 85, 60, 132, set up x20 for Jackie. Kez fought back with 83, 95, 60, Pat hit 83 but as Jackie just missed her shot at double top, but up stepped partner Gary to clinch the title with x10 the next throw.

Claire Haney and Christina Walsh burst onto the scene in electric fashion as they showed their male counterparts they were not overawed by them.

Claire 60, 100, 60, 57, and Christina 144, 70, 100 left Pat McKay and Gill Atkinson reeling in the ladies' pairs and when Claire shot out with x16 at the first attempt their opponents still needed 335.

Pat and Gill fought back in the second leg and the girls matched each other dart for dart until Claire hit 85 and 121 and Christina 63 to leave them on 59. Gill roared back with 127 to leave Pat 121 and she scored 39. Christina hit 19 but missed double top. Up stepped Gill needing 82 was very unlucky, she hit 20, t18, and agonisingly clipped the inside of the x4 wire to leave eight. Claire kept her cool to hit 20, x10 to win the title.

The U18 singles match was contested by Jack Amey and Scott Bishop and these two boys served up a thriller that could and should have gone all the way.

Jack hit 120, 80, 85, and Scott replied with 100, 88, 55, Jack needed 64 after and almost finished the first leg in 24 darts, but scoring 16, 16, he clipped the wire on x16. Scott needed 116 and scored 66 to leave 50. Jack missed his chance to finish leaving x2, but there was no other chance as Scott took the first leg with 18, x16 out.

The second leg followed the same pattern but Scott had the first dart advantage and made it pay. A ton from each player 87 from Scott, 81 from Jack, they were both throwing great darts and after 21 darts Scott needed 35, Jack 120. Scott hit 19 but missed the shots at x16. Jack kept his nerve hit a 20, t20 and then a big gasp from the audience as he hit the wrong side of the wire and hit x5. Scott took his chance hitting x8 twice to win the league and the match.

The men's singles final was a classic game as Charlie Wilson played Nathan Derry for the top title.

Both men set off at a gallop, Charlie 81, 85, 85, 100, was matched by Nathan with 78, 95, 85, 97, 89, Charlie needing 40 had the first shot at a double but he narrowly missed x20 to leave x10. Nathan, needing 16, had no problem dispatching x8 with his second dart.

Charlie was to rue that miss as Nathan, throwing first went away with 83, 55, 100. Charlie came back with 62, 55, 87, but Nathan hit 87 to leave 90 and narrowly missing finishing the match with t18, but missed x18 and left18. Charlie hit 120 to leave 80 but didn't get a chance as Nathan finished with one darts at x9.

The ladies' singles was a dour struggle between Sally Smith and Janice Butters with both girls matching each other's scores.

Janice wanted 16; but Sally, needing 40, won the first leg with 20, x10. Janice raised her game and took control of the second leg with 60, 60, 80, 60, and 78. Sally replied with 81, 68, 61, but fell away and Janice needing 40 finished with 20 x10.

In the final leg Janice blazed away with 60, 180, 98, 99 and although Sally fought back with 80, 85 it was never enough and she still needed 149 when Janice shot out with 16, x8.

Playing alongside Bob Smith and Pat McKay young Ray Lillie shone in the mixed triples.

His two tons in the first leg helped his team keep in touch as Chris Davy slammed in two x 140 and Beth Harrisson 85, 60. The leg was evenly poised with Bob, Ray and Pat needing just 50, but Darren Gray 20 hit x10 to take the leg.

Beth, Chris, and Darren started the second leg and again they moved ahead but a 121 score from young Ray closed the gap. Both teams were on a finish when Bob came to the oche needing 64, he hit 16, 16, but crept the wrong side of the wire of x16 to hit x8 and leave 16. Chris needing 50 hit 10, and just missed x20, leaving 20.

Cue young Ray, he showed no nerves as he coolly put x8 away with one dart.

The third leg was a nail biter as Bob hit 81, 100, 81 but this was cancelled out by Darren with 100, 83, 67, and Beth with 67, 52. Then up stepped Ray with 85, Pat with 60 and the game was really on. Bob needed 52, scored a 20 but missed with two darts at x16. Darren needed 40 but missed, Ray missed a shot at x16 and left x8 but then it was all over as Darren shot out with x1.

Daniel Twitchett was awarded a special trophy to commemorate his 170 maximum game shot.

Thanks go to the Merlins bar staff for a wonderful evening, and to John Smith's for their sponsorship.