Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Shotley Club 4 – 6 Chelmsford

Pictured : Practice shot from Michael of Shotley Club

At last a win to report. Shotley were a little off colour tonight, and uncharacteristically missed a few of their doubles, but at least we kept ourselves in the games to take advantage.

We slipped to trailing 2-0, but six consecutive points from us secured the win. Peter and I won our Doubles game, followed by Willie and Roger winning theirs. Singles wins for Alan, Mark, myself, and Peter put us in the lead, but unfortunately Willie missed out before Roger lost the final game of the night to Michael to leave it 4-6 on the night.

Man Of the Match this week goes to Mark, who played well in all three of his games. This is the type of performance we really need in this team, and it's not just as simple as totting up who won the most matches.

A very good result for us then, and we'll be having a special Team Night next Tuesday when the League is resting over the Festives. I'll try to get some pictures of the stupid games we play to amuse ourselves during this “down time”. There'll be darts, doms, corks, and all sorts :o)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Chelmsford 4 – 6 Shotley Club

Pictured : Practice darts

This is becoming a common scoreline for us at the moment. We were well beaten in the opening 1001X Team Game and got nowhere near a finishing double. If memory serves we had 270 points left, and we were throwing with the darts (shooting first).
They took a 0-2 lead and were looking comfortable before Roger & Alan and then Peter & myself won our Doubles games to equalise at 2-2.

Sadly we only scored two more points, courtesy of Roger and Peter in their Singles games, making it yet another joint Man Of The Match award to them.

I had the chance to gain a 5-5 draw in the last Singles game of the evening, but I was beaten by their 16 year-old wonder kid Michael Taylor. I was against the darts and fell a little behind before pulling back into contention with a 125. We both had 20 left, and Michael finished first.

Michael has recently damaged his eye while pulling his darts from the board and was wearing an opaque protective shield over it. All the very best to him in his forthcoming operation to hopefully repair the damage.

We had a good evening with this team and are looking forward to the return leg next week when we make the very short 2-mile trip up the road.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Smelters 7 – 3 Chelmsford

Pictured : A view from The Lounge

Yet again, the score line doesn't look too good, but we had to really graft just to get 3 points from The Smelters tonight. None of us were trounced, but they just seemed to hit their finishes when it mattered.

By losing opening the Team game and the 3 Doubles games we found ourselves 4-0 down and looking at a whitewash. Thankfully, Willy, Roger and I won our Singles games to get 3 valuable points on a night where we were missing a few players (Peter, Mark, Jean) but we held together reasonably well. Joint Men Of The Match awards to us three then, and that is fitting with such a team effort.

Nerves a plenty for me yet again. I think it was seeing the League table earlier in the week that did it for me, because everything else was so relaxed and pleasurable. I try my hardest to just enjoy it, but I was desperate for the points tonight, and I'm disappointed we only got the three.

Monday, December 04, 2006

League Table, 14/11/2006

Pictured : Christmas darts config

It takes a long time for the league table to filter down to me for blogging, but here we finally have the first update of the season. It doesn't make great reading for The Chelmsford, and there is plenty of room for improvement :

1) Cricketers (88)
2) Delves Club (80)
3) Coach & Horses (72)
4) Chopwell Central (68)
5) Wheatsheaf (59)
6) Castleside Inn (56)
7) Leadgate Cricket Club (54)
8) Smelters (48)
8) Shotley Club (48)
10) Derwentside (47)
11) Commercial (43)
12) Chelmsford (39)
13) Black Diamond (34)
14) Jolly Drovers (34)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Cup Singles Night 2006

Pictured : Practice darts

I played at The Black Diamond tonight in the League Singles cup competition. Willie and Simon Dixon traveled down to support me.

Not a bad night for me, getting through to the second round with some nice finishing in a comparatively low scoring game to win 2-0. The others seemed to be finishing their 501 games in 7 or 8 throws, and the heat was on.

In the 2nd round I was knocked out 2-1 by Andrew Colwell of The Derwentside in an evenly matched game, and I really enjoyed the night. I threw some good scores and played well above my usual level, scoring way more tons than I get on the practice board. I just had an awful string of 3 consecutive scores of less than 30 (close misses), but you simply cannot afford to do that at any level, let alone Cup Night with some of the League's best players in attendance.

A good night though, and all the best to Andrew in the next round. He's either in the last 16 or the last 32. I felt I competed well and was worth my place in the competition, which is an improvement on last year.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Date for next year's event

Rob has just e-mailed me to advise next year's event is on 25th October 2007 from Gatwick. There's also a Manchester option to fly out a few days before the Gatwick people.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Barbados Darts Festival 2006 – Thursday 2nd November

Picutred : Simon and Valentina

In a change to the itinerary this was another none darts day, and there were no complaints from anyone. Instead of another exhibition game against John and the Bajan stars we headed to the President's (of the Darts org, of course!) restaurant as his guests for the evening. I think the organisers were really pleased at the way things were going, and the excellent dynamics of the Touring Party, and they made this choice.

I'd met a lovely girl on the day, and I smuggled her onto the coach. Valentina, if you're reading this, you have my number but I don't have yours. The phone ain't ringing :o(

The food and drink was great, and we danced and had a great time. Probably my favourite night of the whole holiday, and not a single dart thrown. That's what the whole event was about though. I saw some great comment's on John Lowe's site regarding this (
www.john-lowe.net), which explains the event is all about having a good time, with the darts being simply a common interest.
Valentina couldn't get into the Ship Inn at the end of the night due to their dress code (she had no shoes!), so we waited for the crew to join us at bar next door for night caps, before we slipped off and gazed at the stars on the beach. Have I used the phrase “it doesn't get any better than this” on the blog yet? :o)

Barbados Darts Festival 2006 – Wednesday 1st November

Pictured : Janice with her “Limbo” prize

Monday was non-darting day and evening. Well, just an hour on the hotel's outdoor practice board anyway :o) Many of us were commenting on just how hard it was to play darts in Barbados ; you're chilled to the bone and can't get the right frame of mind, and the strong overhead fans in the Ship Inn were visibly interfering with the throw. Honest – mine were slanting in a very strange way! John Lowe mentioned that he stopped using his familiar Pear shaped flights following similar problems with the Air Con at some USA venues.

In the evening we attended the Bajan Roots & Rhythms evening. The show was spectacular, and very hi-tech. In accordance with their history the music was a journey through Africa, Egypt, Bridgetown shantys, and Reggae etc. Really good stuff, and I've been using their CD as darts practice music – a better accolade than it may sound.

Janice was game for everything throughout the holiday, and it was no surprise to see her on stage in the Limbo competition. She won, and very deservedly so. That's ex Tiller Girls for you I suppose - they never lose it!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Chelmsford 4 – 6 Smelters

Pictured : Practice darts

Not a bad result tonight against The Smelters. Timmy and Nancy are no longer with them, but The Smelters are still a good team who we really needed to compete against to get the 4 points.

In the 1001X Team game I scored 67 and 95, before narrowly missing a 65 finish. I then had to watch while they finished it a couple of throws later to make it 0-1. They went further into the lead when Jean and Mark lost their Doubles game, but Peter and Roger pulled one back with a great display. Next up, Alan and I did well in our Doubles game, with Man Of The Match Alan hitting a brilliant 180 and finishing the silly X9 I left him :o) Jean had logged my scores as 60, 85, 80, and 79, so I played my part in the win.

Our only other points came from Peter and Alan in their Singles games (Peter hit a great 100 finish), and I was really disappointed to lose the last match of the evening in my Singles game, despite a half decent performance.
The nerves are still there for me, but they are becoming a necessary part of my game – especially when I consider the total junk I hit on the practice board all week. You need the adrenaline in at least some degree I suppose.

Next Tuesday we all flit off to different venues in the Singles Cup Competition, with me playing at The Black Diamond. We'll all compare notes at The Chelmsford when we get back, and I'll post the results on here.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Pictures from the A&T Hide-A-Way & Bar

Barbados Darts Festival 2006 – Tuesday 31st October

Pictured : My Doubles partner, Ellouise

We had a power cut in the morning. This is very bad news in Barbados, as the Air Con and fans stop working. Some particularly dozy holiday makers were jamming up the cash machines by stuffing their cards in the lifeless ATMs.

John and I had a lads' day out in Bridgetown. He needed a watch repair, and I was desperately seeking Rizla cigarette papers. I couldn't find any anywhere, so I had to buy some “joint” papers from a Rasta shop, and from this point onwards my totally innocent tobacco roll-ups were getting some very strange looks from the locals.

We now move on to my favorite darting evening of the trip. The Touring Party played at the A&T Hide-A-Way & Bar with the Bajans in the Guinness Doubles tournament. We paid our BD$20 entry fees, and the doubles partners were drawn by Len from a hat. I was paired with the lovely Ellouise, and we had a howl. I was hitting 85's, 60's, tons, with only the odd bad shot. I also hit a lovely 98 finish (20, 54, 24) and we were both on fire. We beat Colin and his Bajan partner in the 1st Round, but sadly we were narrowly beaten 2-1 by Bajan Steven Skinner and his partner in the 2nd Round. Nonetheless, I have never enjoyed my darts so much, and this evening was all about the hospitality and friendship of playing the Bajans on their own patch in a non-touristy darts club.

I'd learnt my lesson from the previous night, and avoided food until the games were over. It worked a treat.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Jolly Drovers 6 – 4 Chelmsford

Pictured : Christmas lights up at the Drovers already!

In a brief break from my Barbados recollections on here I played a League game tonight and was more than pleased with my performance. I've definitely learned a lot more about competing since taking on the best of the Bajans and learning how to enjoy my darts again.

In the 1001x Team Game I scored an average of >75 per throw over my 4 throws (including two tons) and left a sensible finish for the players following me. I can ask no more than that of my game at the moment, and we won to take a 0-1 lead.

Next, myself and Mark won our Doubles game to make it 2-0, with me sinking the winning double (46 = 10, D1, D17 – hardly text book, I know!). I also won my Singles game to ensure I had a hand in 3 of the 4 points we won on the night, and make it a clean sweep from a personal point of view. Mark was the only other player to achieve this, but I sneak this week's Man Of The Match award by virtue of my good finishing and hitting more doubles than him. Hey, it's my blog afterall :o)

We missed Peter and Willie, and I suppose I'm a little disappointed not to at least get a draw against a team who were very well matched with us. The 6-4 and 4-6 results means it's “honours even” over the two legs though.

I still had a few nerves in my Singles game, but they actually seemed to help me, and I had won the right to miss a few darts at my X11 finish by virtue of the good scoring beforehand. I was right up against the X11 wire with a few darts before finally finishing it.

I wore my “runner up” Preconco T-Shirt from Barbados, and I hope this may now be lucky for me. It's better than all those other superstitions like wearing blue underpants etc, so I'm happy to go with it :o)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Some photos from Catamaran Day

Barbados Darts Festival 2006 – Monday 30th September

Pictured : Lenny quits smoking, the John Lowe way

Catamaran Day! This was a superb day trip sailing, snorkeling, and swimming to a beautiful beach. I did the first two snorkeling sections, but had taken on too much salt water to fancy the final swim to the deserted beach.

The trip cost just £40 (BD $150) for some spectacular sailing around the West of the island with all food and drink included in the price. While snorkeling I saw an un-puffed puffer fish, swam with the turtles, and snorkeled over a wreck. The guides were throwing bread buns at us in the water, and the fish swarmed around us. It was like being attacked by toothless piranha! I'll never forget this day.

In the evening John Lowe played another exhibition match in the Ship Inn. I was first up against him, and this time I was awful! I think my highest score was 45. The lesson to learn from this is never to eat a large meal 20 minutes before taking on a World Champion – you just feel sluggish and can't get going.

In one of the picture above you can see Lenny having a cigarette “extinguished” by John Lowe. Len had jokingly stood directly facing John, before opting for the profile as being the safest way to do this trick!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Barbados Darts Festival 2006 – Sunday 29/10

Pictured : Collecting my Runners Up prize (L to R : Mark Cummings, John Lowe, Simon Thomas)

This is where I really hit my best performances. In the Preconco Mens Singles I reached the finals and was the Runner Up! Here is an extract from the Barbados Advocate newspaper :

What a difference a day makes! Only 24 hours earlier the visiting darts players from the UK and Canada were badly mauled by their Bajan opponents in the first round of competitions. On Sunday they had their own dart board installed in their hotel and put in some extra practice, and then pulled off some remarkable victories in the Preconco Mens Singles and Ladies Pairs.

First to feel the backlash was leading Bajan darts player Winston Cadogan, who was defeated 2-0 by a re-energised Rob Sime. Then Anthony Forde, winner of the Mens Doubles the previous evening with Winston Cadogan, found himself dumped out of the competition by Simon Thomas from Durham.

I rode my luck incredibly throughout the three games which took me to the Preconco final. Several times I was well behind in the legs and relying on my opponents to miss their doubles. My finishing was good though, including a 78 in 2 darts (54, 24), and I scraped through to the Final by beating the excellent Bajan Steven Skinner, with my heart pumping raw adrenaline through to my shaking throwing hand!

In the Final I got down to 56 in a single leg of 701, but there my luck finally ran out, and I was was beaten by Bajan Mark Cummings. I was disappointed to beaten in the biggest game of my life, but very proud of my performance. I won a Preconco t-shirt which I will treasure as my first ever trophy. Being photographed with John Lowe and Mark Cummings was also a real thrill, and softened the defeat somewhat.

Barbados Darts Festival 2006 – Saturday 28/10

Pictured : My Doubles partner, Richard

Ourselves in The Touring Party get a mention in the Barbados Advocate newspaper! It was strange seeing “Simon Thomas from Durham” getting a mention, but better was to follow, with Michael Heal sending in frequent reports to the paper.

I partnered Richard in the Mount Gay Rum Doubles in the Ship Inn. Like all of the Touring Party we were knocked out in the 1st round by the excellent Bajans, most of whom seemed to be what we would class as “County / Super League” standard. Especially Winston Cadogan, who was brilliant. Some of them have world rankings, and they have fast-tracked their way onto the world stage in a really short space of time.

Richard and I played reasonably well, and were looking at finishes when Andre and his partner sunk their two winning doubles to beat us 2-0. I hit a ton and several 60+ shots, so wasn't at all disappointed with my performance.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Photographs by Karen

Pictured : John and Karen Lowe

I’ve just received two CDs from John and Karen Lowe which are packed with 1,000 brilliant pictures from the trip!

Karen took the vast majority of them on her Sony Cybershot, and the quality is superb. From now on I’ll be using her pictures on here to record the rest of the trip, so if I forget to credit her on any of them you’ll know they’re by her and not my dull old ones!

There are some gems on the disks - this is going to be great.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Barbados Darts Festival 2006 – Friday 27/10

Pictured : John Lowe takes on all comers!
During the day I had a long swim in the bay. The sea was the temperature of warm tea, and really relaxing to swim in. I explored the west side of St Lawrence Gap on foot. On the evening the darts began, and we all converged on the Ship Inn.

John Lowe took on all comers, and I was really pleased with my performance against him. Of course he won, but I got right down to 73 after hitting a 140. Better was to come in my game against Richard (18 yrs old) – I hit a 180 and my next shot was a 120 finish. I couldn't quite keep this standard up though, and there are plenty of disasters to report in future days when the tournaments started.

I partnered Karen Lowe in a Doubles game. She's a really good player in her own right, and I was lucky to beat her in an earlier Singles game.

St Lawrence Gap

The Rostrevor Apartments Hotel

My room was one of the eight “Pool Deck” apartments, facing the sea and near to the pool.

Basic but comfortable, with a TV piping English Premiership football games through whenever the sun got too much for me! My room had a fridge and cooker. No complaints at all, and I recommend this hotel.

Meet The Touring Party

Viewing from left to right we have :

John and Joy Pratt, Colin, Trish Sime, Trevor, Myself, Karen Lowe, Rob Sime (obscured, but I have a good pic of him throwing darts for later), John Lowe, Debbie, Richard, Steph (seated), Sharyn (pink top), Janice, Peter, Melanie, and John.

The Ship Inn

Pictured : The Ship Inn
There were no darts being played on our first night, as the Ship Inn was preparing for live music. We socialised in the bar, and had a meal in the restaurant area.

What a thrill it was for me to sit next to John Lowe and chat on with him. He knows more about where I live than I do! His wife Karen is also great company and a very attractive lady.

Barbados Darts Festival 2006 – Thursday 26/10

I made the short bus trip to Gatwick airport and arrived at 07:15. The flight was 10:00, but the airport was extremely busy, and I was rushing all the way to board in time. On the plane I was seated next to Janice and John who were also attending the event, and we chatted away for much of the 8 hour flight.

On arrival the organiser Michael Heal got us on the bus to the hotel, joined for the journey by Rob and Trisha who had arrived on another flight.

When we arrived at the hotel (Rostrevor Apartments, St Lawrence Gap) we had plenty of time to settle in and meet the rest of the party.

Barbados Darts Festival 2006

On Wednesday 25th October I set off from Newcastle Airport to take part in The Digicel Barbados Darts Festival (Presented by Brydens) 2006. I slept in the Gatwick Central Premier Lodge, ready for my early start the following morning.

Please join me on this blog over the next few days, as I recount the eleven days in detail. It has been the trip of a lifetime for me, with some incredible highs. I am definitely attending this event next year, and I've started the financial planning already!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Nearly Ready!

Only a few more days to go before I post my account of the 2006 Brydens Darts Festival in beautiful Barbados! it's incredible out here, and I can't wait to post the pics. I've had my name in the local papers three times already and have dumped a world ranked player out of a competition. It really doesn't get any better than this. See you soon.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Two Weeks

This blog now rests for two weeks. When it restarts I hope to have a great darting story to blog on here, so be sure to drop by after Tuesday 7th November.

Castleside 6 – 4 Chelmsford

I didn’t get dropped this week, but that is surely only because we were so short of available players on the night!

Despite the narrow defeat we had a great night. All of us did well, and nobody got hammered in their games.

We lost the opening team game, but Roger and I equalised in our Doubles game, with me sinking the D1. Roger and I also won our Singles games, and our only other point came from Man Of The Match Peter, who finished his Singles game against their strongest player in just 20 darts, averaging 75 per throw including the finish. A special mention also goes to Roger’s 71 finish in his Singles game.

The trailing leg problem is virtually gone for me now, and I’m starting to reap the benefits. This was the first competitive match I’ve played with the new stance, and despite the odd wayward shot this is definitely the way to go for me. The crate on my practice oche has done the job, and I’ll leave it there to stop me getting into bad habits.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Chelmsford 1 – 9 Castleside

Pictured : Something I couldn't do last night!
What a total disaster for the team last night – me in particular! This was my worst performance in memory, averaging a pathetic 30 points per throw in the Team Game, and things didn't get much better for me in the Doubles and Singles games.

My bad habit of raising my trailing leg when throwing was at it's worst – more of that later.

The task of picking Man Of The Match is an absolute no brainer this week, and it goes to Peter for scoring our only point in his Singles game. Roger had another good game and was unlucky not to win a match. Alan too deserved something.

Anyway, I'm dropped from the return leg next week, and rightly so. I now have two weeks to sort out this trailing leg problem. I'm going to put a portable TV just behind the oche's throwing line on my practice board. Hopefully this will stop my trailing leg from going too far back, and this in turn will prevent the unwanted lift just as I release the dart. For any of you who know the throw we have in The Chelmsford I'm told that last night my trailing leg was on the carpeted section at some points in the games! I have to break this habit, as it has seen my form plummet, and I'm now a worse player than I was before I started the practice and blogging over a year ago.

My practice for the next two weeks (both pub games and home practice) is totally geared towards getting rid of the trailing leg problem. I need to be able to keep it in check even when there is no portable TV behind me to stop it. It could raise eyebrows if I used it in League games, but strangely I don't think there'd be anything in the rules to stop me ;o)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Chelmsford 3 – 7 Delves Club

There are 2 match reports in 1 this week. Last week's game was so disappointing I could hardly bear to blog it!

Anyway, last week's Away leg at Delves Club was a major disappointment for us. We were beaten 8-2, and we played really badly against a team who were having an off day but still managed to cruise to an easy victory. Despite most of them being league champions from last season at the Steel Club (now paying for a different venue) we were weren't happy with our play

We won the opening Team game, but after that only Roger and Alan were able to score a point in their Doubles game, and this was a real low point for me. Why bother practicing, when you go out and hit a load of "less than 40" junk shots?
Tonight's Home game was far different though. I was really happy with my play, and far more importantly I was really enjoying the game for once. My disasters were a few 45's etc, but the good shots were 80+.

No wins for me personally, but Delves Club really hit a comfortable level of form, and showed us why three of them are Super League players. Our statistician (Roger) noted that they won three of their points in 19, 20, and 21 darts. Not bad going or what!

Man of the Match for both legs was Roger, who has come back from sickness to notch some really important points ; He's had a hand in 4 of the 5 points we've won over these two legs.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Chelmsford 6 – 4 Black Diamond

Pictured : A practice shot
As expected, tonight's game was a really close affair between to very evenly matched teams. I though Black Diamond played to a better standard than last week, but thankfully we were just that little bit more effective on the finishing doubles. This means both teams have earned 10 valuable points over the two legs.

We lost the opening Team game, with virtually all 12 players having a shot at a finishing double. I'd hit some good scores, but I'm really annoyed I couldn't hit the D5 I was left. I hit S5, D1, S1 to leave the Mad House (Double 1) for the next player up.

I've never seen so many bounce outs in on night, and our opponents seemed to suffer from this bad luck more than we did. We're getting a new dart board soon, but this will be no comfort to those of us who saw important shots bouncing out of the board – not me for once.

I'd been 250 miles away in Birmingham earlier in the day, and I really had to rush to be there in time tonight. The lack of preparation bothered me, but in the event I was able to sink winning shots in my Doubles game with Jean and also in my Singles game, so it didn't really cause a problem for me on the night. In fact, it was a fairly good night for me, with some nice high scores and just the odd poor shot.

Peter is Man Of The Match, scoring a 180 and winning both his Doubles and Singles games. A great performance from him, and he played a big part in forcing the win.

To round the night off nicely I won £5 as both teams played a game of Burma Road at the end of the night. It's the first time opposing players have stayed behind to have a game with us, and I think I deserved to win the kitty by hitting the required bulls eye with my very last dart of the night :o)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Black Diamond 6 – 4 Chelmsford

Pictured : Roger from our team
Both teams were very closely matched in last night's game, which makes it all the more disappointing that we couldn't win the last Singles game of the night to at least grab a draw.

We lost the opening team game, but Alan and Peter immediately equalised in their Doubles game. There was agony for Willie and myself in our Doubles game, as we each failed several times to hit the Single 1 when finishing from 9. Unbelievable, and this has never been a problem for me in the past. Maybe I've been practising on doubles and trebles too much, and have neglected the singles!

Thankfully Jean and Roger again equalised in their Doubles game to make it 2-2. Alan was narrowly beaten in his Singles game, but again Peter equalised to make it 3-3.

In my Singles game I didn't hit big scores but there were several steady 60's and the bad shots weren't disasters. I finished reasonably well to win my first point of the season to my huge relief. There were no further wins, but we all seemed to be of similar ability and we can hope to make amends in the return leg next week. Peter was Man Of The Match.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Chopwell Central 7 – 3 Chelmsford

Pictured : Chopwell Central

As with last week, this looks like an awful result, but in fact we are satisfied with these 5 points (2+3) which we have gained in a tough start to the season.

In my three throws in the Team game I averaged 72 per throw. This was way above my practice dart stats, but not quite enough against this team as we went down 1-0. Willie and Mark equalised in their Doubles game to make it 1-1, but Jean and I lost our doubles game (she carried me, with my highest score of 60 – sorry!), as well as Lena and Alan in their Doubles game, to make it 3-1 down.

Willie then won his Singles game to pull it back to 3-2 and grab this week's Man Of The Match award, but we didn't win another game until Alan made it 7-3 with the last throw of the night in his Singles game.

In my Singles game I threw some good darts and was looking at two finishes of 40 and 10, but narrowly missed them to be left disappointed but happy with the overall way I played. As a slight point of interest I was questioned for attempting 54 with T14 instead of the supposedly better way of S18. I reject this wholeheartedly – I'd already seen another player bust his finish by hitting an unwanted treble, and was in no mood to follow suit. S14 D20 or T14 D12 is surely the only way to go if you consider the unwanted trebles you may hit IMHO.

Pictured : Practice shots

Chopwell were very sporting and supported our play, and I've enjoyed these last two matches against them. Good luck to them for the rest of the season, and it's an Away game at Black Diamond for us next week. Also, I believe we have yet another new Cup competition on Thursday night, so it's back to the practice board for me.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Chelmsford 2 – 8 Chopwell Central

Not a great start to the season for us, but we normally get brushed by this team, so the two points were almost celebrated.

We were all struggling to get going tonight, and I think my average shot was roughly 50, with a couple of tons and an 81 rescuing the really bad shots.

We went 0-7 down and were dreading yet another brush when Alan stopped the rot with a good point in his Singles game. Better was to follow though, and Peter M takes this week's Man Of The Match award with a superb point, finishing his 501 in approximately 22 darts (nearly 70 points per throw). He rose to their level, and we need to do the same for next week's return leg.

The season is now underway, and we have a large enough squad to rotate the team according to individual performance. On this performance only Alan and Peter have written their names on next week's team sheet in my opinion.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Regional Finals – result

I'm afraid we're now out of the Draught Bass / Holsten Darts Classic, but I am very proud of our display today. We beat Victoria E (Edinburgh) 5-1, and lost to the excellent West Port (Arbroath) 5-1, which meant that the third “group” game was not played, as it was inconsequential because we couldn't overhaul West Port to top the group and head for Derbyshire in the finals.

The venue was the Duke of Wellington, Kenton Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne. Of the 16 teams competing there were many from Scotland, as well as Hartlepool, Berwick, Newcastle, and Staindrop amongst others.

This was a superb occasion for me, being the biggest event I have played in. Lots of nerves were on display from most of us, but we came through it to give a very good account of ourselves, and we were full value for our place in the Regional Finals.

My lowlights were a few scores of 31, but my highlights were a nice 140 and some great finishing, and I managed to sink three winning doubles at the first time of asking to bag 3 of the 6 points we won on the day. This is really important to me, as I can forgive a few stray darts as long as I hit the finishes.

The format was 4 groups of 4 teams, each playing three games of three Doubles games (701), plus six Singles games (501), with the first team to score 5 points winning the match. The four group winners will now go to the Finals in Derbyshire.

In my first Doubles game paired with Peter I finished the 32 with a miss, then D8, D8. In my first Singles game I finished 57 in two darts (S17, D20), and in my second Doubles game with Peter I finished 40 with the first dart. This is far more precise finishing than I manage on the practice board, so to do it under the pressure of these games is really pleasing. Also, being paired with a senior player adds extra pressure in needing not to let him down, and by hitting the winning doubles in three of the four games I was involved in I feel I did well overall.

Special thanks to Lyndon and his staff for opening up early this morning to feed us and pass free drinks to the team before our trip – very much appreciated.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The New Season 2006/7

We kick off on Tuesday 5th September. We are not allowed early sight of the fixtures, but for the sake of planning (travel arrangements, bar food etc) we do know it's a Home game.

It'll be interesting to see who the new teams are and which teams have left the League. The game is supposedly in decline, so I'm hoping for a good strong League of 12 plus teams. Also, I'll be keen to see how strong we'll be this year, as there may be changes to the people who are signed on to play for us. There are some changes to the format of the games too.

The only target I'm setting myself is to win more matches than I lose, and this time I'll try to enjoy it all a bit more, rather than getting too uptight. Easier said than done though :o)

Getting Going

We had a team practice night tonight, ahead of our game in the Regional Finals on Saturday. It's amazing how long it takes me to get going and play some decent darts. For the first hour I was really uncomfortable and throwing some very average darts, but by the end I was hitting most of my targets and was only a wire away from a 160 finish.

I just need to ensure I get to the Finals in the right frame of mind, as I'm determined to put up a good performance. I think I'll skip practice on Wednesday and Thursday, and just have a session the night before. We depart from The Chelmsford at 10:30hrs on Saturday 2nd September and I'll do a full write-up on Sunday.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Regional Finalists!

That's right – The Chelmsford are now regional finalists in that cup competition I've been tracking on here. Our scheduled opponents from Jarrow sadly had to withdraw and grant us a “by” into the regional finals on Kenton Road (Newcastle Upon Tyne) on Saturday 2nd September.

I'm genuinely disappointed to get to the biggest match in my two years with the team by virtue of a “by”, but we must now take the opportunity with both hands and play out of our skins in Newcastle.

I gather the venue is large, and there'll be a gallery of floor standing dart boards with several matches being played concurrently. We are not allowed to wear any clothing which shows a commercial logo of any kind other than the sponsors' logos. I don't think I have many totally plain T shirts, but I'll have to dig one out as this is a very strict rule.

This is the biggest event I've ever been involved in. I'll be practicing like mad, and I'll take my camera and do a full spread on this blog when I get back!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Double Ones

Pictured : The Mad House
It continues to be quiet on the darting front, and my practice is suffering. I’ve got some awful DartPro stats for the last two months, and I’m struggling to even get an average of 50 in the games of 501 including the finish. The trend is upwards though, and I hope to be back in the mid 50’s when the season starts (date not yet confirmed – it was September 6th last season).

At least the practice shot (pictured) was an unusual moment of perfection. My least favourite double on the board totally nailed! Let this give me some hope that I can find accuracy – at times.

Needless to say, I'd never dream of using these pink flights in public. Well, not after the stick I got last time, anyway :o)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Cup Game : Chelmsford 12 – 6 Punch Bowl

On a hot and muggy evening up here in deepest NE England we slogged out two cup games in just one night to overcome another “all ladies” team from Craghead's “Punch Bowl”. Summer commitments meant it suited both teams to play both legs at The Chelmsford on the same night.

Lena opted to play different teams in the two legs, with only one or two of us (not me) appearing in both games. Strength in depth, eh! I played in the first leg, winning my Doubles game paired with Brian, and also my Singles game. No losses from me, which I'm relieved about considering my real difficulties in focusing hard on the games given the heat. I'm really glad we get a break from the League over these hottest months, as it's almost impossible to get the adrenaline going. Given my abject warm up darts I suppose I raised my game in comparison, and at least hit my double (X9) at the first time of asking.

Overall, we lost the first match, but stormed back to win the first leg 8-1. You'd think there would not be much to do in the second leg, but we made extremely hard work of it, and only sewed the match up late in the evening after an incredible fight back from Punch Bowl. Thanks to Lyndon for keeping the bar open and keeping us all watered.

So, we're almost into the last 32 of the Draught Bass / Holsten Darts Classic draw. There are odd numbers, and by our reckoning there are 37 teams left, so we need to see how they'll handle the next round. Reaching the last 32 means £100 per team, so there's money on it :o)