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Devon v Cornwall - 8/9th February
Darts is probably the most unpredictable sport I know, even more so when you take part in a match against your closest rivals. This was the case last weekend when Devon played hosts to Cornwall in the Premier Division of the BDO BICC Inter-Counties Championships at the home of our sponsors Heavitree Sports & Social Club in Exeter. No one was going to predict a winner at the start of the weekend however, one thing is for sure no quarter was given in a very highly charged and competitive atmosphere.

Smarting from an uncharacteristic 5-1 reverse in their last match at Hampshire the weekend began on Saturday with our women’s B team who had a point to prove. Something they did by turning that result completely on its head. It all began in game 1 with Anna Johnson who ran in a comfortable 3-1 winner with a very credible 20.96 average. In game 2 County Secretary Hayley Brant (18.33) soon made it 2-0 with a 3-0 whitewash of her opponent. The usually dependable Tracy Ware (15.59) slipped to a 1 - 3 reverse before the 2 point advantage was restored by Sarah (Blingy) Brown (16.41) who won 3-1 on 4th. In game 5 the vastly experienced Michelle Andrews (15.99) capped a fine 125th appearance for her County with a 3-0 success which made it 4-1. Although it was a nervous affair Cat Callard (13.49) came through 3-2 for a very important point to give Devon a healthy 5-1 lead going into the Men's B match.

Coming off the back of two wins on the trot and sitting third in their section the unpredictably element of darts kicked in as, to coin a phrase from Captain Mike Pearce, the first 5 players on looked like rabbits in headlights, as they could only muster 3 winning legs between them all. Paul Palmer (18.32) 1-4, Martin Bevan (23.15) 0-4, the usually dependable Dave Matthews (21.29) 0-4, Fred Goldsmith (22.23) 1-4 and Phil Ward (22.55) 1-4 meant that our 4 point lead given to us by our women had gone and some. Although this happened it did not stop the 5 losers all going back to shout their team mates on in a brilliant atmosphere. Danny Bull stepped up to the mark on 6th and halted the slide with a confident 4-1 win and 25.27 average. In game 7 John (Taffy) Burton (26.54) who hit a 180 and 177 restored Devon's lead with another 4-1 success. Game 8 was one of those that got away as Ant Moss (23.36) spurned his opportunities and allowed his opponent in without winning a leg. In game 9 young Kieran Burns (26.34) continued his run of good form with a 4-1 win. This was followed by another Dave Lake special, this time on his home debut. Despite the disappointment of missing opportunities and going 2-3 down Dave fought back and won the last 2 to claim a very crucial point with a 4-3 win that meant Devon could not be behind going into Sundays matches. Despite confident starts both Adrian Watts (21.48) and Danny Belsten (23.08) 11th & 12th respectively both fell away to 4-1 reverses which put the score standing 9 - 9 at the halfway stage. Devon 4 Cornwall 8.

I know i keep mentioning the atmosphere however, this was truly special as the club which was packed to the rafters on Sunday waited in anticipation of a great contest between the 4 A teams. Devon women opened their account when Lisa Hughes (20.79) played a confident game and won her 4th on the trot with a 3-1 win. Ladies Captain Maria O'Brien put Devon 2 up with a 3-0 win and 25.05 average. Despite best efforts Jodie Hawton (19.34) who after nicking the first leg could not contain a rampant Sue Shepherd (24.39) and went down 1-3. Right out of the blue Kelly Gabriel (17.36) could not find her range on the 20 bed and switched to the 19's hitting a 171 but this could not stop her eventually going down 2-3. In game 5 Karen Matthews (17.27) won 3-2 to put Devon's Nose in front again. Playing last Chrissie Kinnaird (19.09) sealed the deal coming back from 0-2 down to win 3-2 and with it gave Devon a 13 point to 11 lead going into the men’s A match. Devon 4 Cornwall 2.

In game 1 of the men’s A match Thomo Humphries (22.72) went down 4-2 despite hitting a 180. In Game 2 Lee Hellings (23.14) was on the end of a tanking after trailing 2-0 however aided a maximum he fought back and won by the odd leg in 7 with some spirited finishing. Lewis Dare (27.03) put in a great shift hitting a 177 but slipped to a 2-4 defeat. Everything was tied up at 14 - 14 after 28 no nonsense high spirted games of darts when Glyn Wells (25.37) also went down 2-4. Game 5 was a cracker from Mark Shears who won 4-2 with a 28.55 average. This was swiftly followed by Paul (Milly) Milford (27.97) who restored Devon's 2 game lead with a 4-1 win. Squeezed between Ben Chamberlain (27.90) and Mark Turner (22.15) who both lost 1-4 Chalkie White (23.36) won by the same margin to keep Devon's slender 1 point lead at 17 - 16. Cometh the hour cometh the man in the shape of Captain Mike Pearce (25.06) who freely admits by his own high standards had not been playing too good at all this season. As on many previous occasions Mike raised his game hit a maximum and won 4-2 to at least ensure the draw for Devon at 18 -16. Game 11 saw John Mann (27.40) secure the 3 bonus points for Devon when he won a hard fought game 4-2. Mark Vellacott (25.28) lost the last match 1-4 to put the final score 6-6 in the men’s A match but much more crucially 19 - 17 in Devon's favour overall.

Lady of the B match was Anna Johnson (20.96)
Man of the B match was John Burton (27.54)
Lady of the A match was Maria O'Brien (25.05).
Man of the A Match was Mark Shears (28.55).
Lady of the weekend was Chrissie Kinnaird.
Man of the weekend was Mike Pearce.

This was a great county weekend played in the best of spirits which could quite easily have gone either way. The team spirit and support shown by both sides is only something that you can get from a clash between local rivals. I think in all honesty we had some of the luck which we probably deserved in our previous defeat to Hampshire. In that light I hope Cornwall stay up. Well done to our girls for a brilliant response from the Hampshire game. Congratulation's go to Maria O'Brien, Paul Milford who have been selected to play for England in the home Internationals plus John Mann who will be making his debut. Yes folks I am so proud that 3 of our squad have all been picked to play for England.

Our next match is away to Yorkshire at the end of February.

U.T.D. ( Up the Devon for Lee Hellings benefit !! )
last modified: February 10, 1:52 pm

Devon County Darts Fixtures 2019/2020
Here are the Devon County Darts fixtures for season 2019-2020:

14/15 Sep - Lancashire v Devon
12/13 Oct - Devon v Glamorgan
2/3 Nov - Warwickshire v Devon
30 Nov/1 Dec - Devon v Northamptonshire
18/19 Jan - Hampshire v Devon
8/9 Feb - Devon v Cornwall
29 Feb/1 Mar - Yorkshire v Devon
28/29 Mar - Lincolnshire v Devon
25/26 Apr - Devon v Essex
last modified: June 10, 6:11 am

AGM & Competition Dates - 2019/2020
15th Dec 2019 - Superleague Individuals
14th March 2020 - Mens KO Cup Regional Qualifiers
17th May 2020 - Gold Cup Qualifiers
31st May 2020 - Winmau & World Pro Qualifiers followed by Mens KO Cup Finals
7nd June 2020 - Ladies KO Cup
21st June 2020 - AGM
last modified: September 17, 6:57 am