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Devon v Northamptonshire - 30 Nov/1 December
After 3 matches of the 2019 - 2020 BDO Inter-Counties Premier Division season Devon County were placed in the relegation zone ahead of a must win home match versus Northamptonshire at the weekend. There is not a single person who could have predicted what happened however, it can be safely said that the whole squad came to the party and served up an absolute treat in one of the best all round squad performances ever.

The women's B match began with the dependable Tracy Ware (18.93) making her personal record of 4 out of 4 for the season with a 3-1 win that set the ball rolling. Game two saw Sarah (Blingy) Brown (15.74) get back to winning ways also with a 3-1 success to make the score 2-0. Cat Callard (14.05) won 3-0 and made the score 3-0 before Michelle Andrews (14.36) slipped to a 0-3 defeat to give Northants their first point. Playing 5th county secretary Hayley Brant (19.38) followed up her match award at Warwickshire with a hard fought 3-2 win, with it bagging another match award to boot whilst making it 4-1. Anna Johnson (17.89) then won 3-0 on last to give Devon a near perfect start to the weekend at an excellent 5-1.

The men's B match turned out to be a cracker for Devon although it did not begin that way as Scott Hutchinson (23.03) who hit a 100 finish just missed out by 2 legs to 4 in the opener. Buoyed by some excellent support Devon then went on an amazing run of 9 consecutive wins starting with Mr. 7 legs himself Anthony Moss ((26.50) who despite rushing into a 3-0 lead was pegged back to amazingly play a 9th successive last leg decider before running out the winner in a super contest. Game 3 saw Martyn Bevan (25.16) who was being cheered on by his young family emerge a comfortable 4-1 winner. Next up Danny Bull (24.93) made the score 3-1 with a 42 success, making his home debut Steve Colbourne (22.77) won 4-0 on 5th. Another home debut maker Adrian Watts (26.68) hit a 180 and won by the odd leg in 7 to make the score 5-1 at the halfway stage. More of the same in game 7 as Kieran Burns (19.27) won 4-0. In game 8 county selector Danny Belsten (24.69) looked out of sorts at 0-2 down, he then showed some real quality hitting a maximum and peppering the 60 taking 4 on the spin to turn the game on its head. Freddie Goldsmith (23.93) who hit a 180, took a 2-0 lead then had to survive match darts at 3-2 down before coming through with a confident 100 shot out in the deciding leg. Everyone from Devon was in dreamland as Ben Chamberlain (28.63) served up a man of the match performance winning 4-0 to make it 9-1 in Devon's favour. Game 11 went the way of Northants when Phill Ward (27.04) went down 1-4. Last on Dave Mathews (27.08) hit a maximum won 4-0 and put the Mens score into double figures with a 10-2 success. Been a long time since any Devon Mens team has chalked up double figures although they nearly did it in the 9-3 B team win at home to Glamorgan in October.

With the overnight score being a massive 15 - 3 in Devon's favour the management warned the A team players on Sunday against complacency and not to let the good work done on Saturday go to waste. Consolidation was the key.

Our very own England International Maria O'Brien (24.64) led from the front, as she did in the last match, putting the women's A team in the lead on first with a 4-0 success. On a personal note this gave OB the lady of the match award and keeps her on top after 4 games in the BDO Premier Division Women's A team individual Rankings list. Now Inspired, the rest of the A team women went about their business starting with Karen Matthews (19.03) who celebrated her wedding anniversary to Husband Allen in style with a 3-0 first A team win on second. Next up Jodie Hawton (19.50) hit a magical T20 - T14 - D16 134 shot out on her way to a 3-1 win putting the women 3-0 up. Kelly Marie Gabriel (21.46) played a blinder on 4th hitting a maximum and peppering the 60 with other ton plus scores on her way to a 3-1 win. Kelly who was deservedly chosen women's player of the weekend for her efforts will become a mum in the next couple of weeks, so we would like to wish her and the family all the very best of luck with the new arrival. In game 5 Devon went nap hand when the experienced Chrissie Kinnaird (19.27) who was making her 97th appearance showed still she has what it takes with some excellent finishing in a 3-0 win. With some more first class finishing Lisa Hughes (19.41) won 3-1 on last making it a 6-0 clean sweep for our women's A team. Unless someone can prove differently I would suggest with all six players averaging over 19 per dart and a team average of 20.55 our girls put together the best ever Women’s A team performance. Couple this with the 5 from Saturday almost certainly the best ever women's squad performance too.

This put the pressure on our men's A team to perform and keep the ball rolling. Recalled to the A team Chalkie White (25.01) repaid the selectors faith with a typically rock solid 4-1 success on first which included two very smart 94 finishes. In game 2 Lee Hellings (25.76) put in a great shift but went down 2-4 against Northants man of the match (27.94). Third on the very popular Mark Vellacott (23.33) kept our nerves jangling a bit before completing a deserved 4-2 win to put Devon 2-1 up. Mr. Nice guy Mark Shears (26.94) went the full distance before being done by his opponent who took out a 110 finish in the decider. John Burton (23.15) missed out by a 1-4 margin on fifth. In game 6 the Pilgrim John Mann 27.24 hit a maximum and put together a neatly constructed 4-1 win to make the score 3-3 at the midway point in the match. Game 7 saw out of sorts Glyn Wells (20.70) slip to a 1-4 defeat then came of the stage feeling rather unwell on his trip to the loo. Team manager Mark Turner (25.26) went down 2-4 in game 8 which put Northants 5-3 up. Up stepped captain Mike Pearce (22.95) on 9th who put in a typical nail biting 4-3 performance to keep the men's A match alive. Game ten saw Thommo Humphrey (28.88) was making his 75th appearance and what a game he served up winning 4-2 in a cracking match to square it up at 5-5. Thom's exploits earned him the man of the weekend accolade. Taking nothing for granted our England international Paul Milford took to the oche and put on a great exhibition, recording his 7th 180 in 3 matches, winning 4-0, man of the match and the highest average of the weekend with 30.83. Now with the score standing at 6-5 to Devon last on Lewis Dare (23.72) was staring defeat right in the face trailing 0-2 and his oppenent missing at least 6 darts to go 3-0 up. Well Lewis snatched it and never looked back, confidently to taking the next 3 to win 4-2 which capped off a truly magical weekend. This made the Men's A match score 7-5, gave them their first win of the season and put with the rest of the weekend gave a Devon a fantastic 28 - 8 (31) win.

The sense of togetherness and support for each other was first class, which was reflected in the score line. I said at the beginning of this report that Devon were in the relegation zone at the start of the weekend, well going into our next match away to Hampshire on the 18th and 19th of January we are now in a much healthier mid table position. Caution must be urged because there are still 5 very tough matches ahead of us.

I would like to dedicate this win to the memory of former player Roger Wright who sadly passed away the week before last.

Lady of the Match B – Hayley Brant 19.38
Man of the Match B – Ben Chamberlain 28.63
Lady of the Match A – Maria O’Brien 24.64
Man of the Match A – Paul Milford 30.83
Lady of the Weekend – Kelly-Marie Gabriel 21.46
Man of the Weekend – Thom Humphrey 28.88

Next match: AWAY to Hampshire 18/19th January

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year one and all.
last modified: December 2, 1:15 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