Get in there Hampshire!!!! Not only have the mighty blues secured Premiership status, they have also picked up the Ladies A title after a superb result against Cheshire at the weekend.
With the general consensus outside the team seeming to be that Hampshire were going to get battered by Cheshire, and subsequently find themselves relegated to Division One, it was great to see the side dig in and produce a fantastic result. Credit has to go to the Ladies teams who walked away with 10 points from a possible 12, but there were also some great performances from the men.
Graham Hardy kicked off Saturdays B Team matches with a 3-0 win and 24.35 average. Troy Butler was then unfortunate to lose 3-2, but Steve Musson stepped up to win the next match 3-0 with a MOM 25.05. With Kev Murrell unable to follow suit, the score stood at 2-2 after the first four matches.
The Ladies then took to the stage with Tara Power (3-1 18.06) and Carole Shinar (3-1 15.76) both winning their games, before Charlotte Burgess produced a cracking Lady of the Match performance, winning 3-0 with an impressive 24.24 average.
With the score standing at 5-2 to Hampshire, the next four men took to the stage. Dave Bonnett, Paul Reidy and Sam Rooney were all unable to post a win, but Phil Harty kept their noses in front with a hard fought 3-2 win and 24.76 average. Up stepped the Ladies again to take two of the next three matches, courtesy of Jane Monaghan (3-0 18.56) and Pennie Lewis (3-0 20.04). Gemma Hayter was the unlucky loser. Only Tony Hutchinson managed a point from the final four Men’s matches, winning 3-1 with a 24.25 average, with Ricky Williams, Colin Philpott and Kev Ede all left disappointed. The final score at the halfway point stood at 9-9, leaving everything to play for on the Sunday.
The Men’s A knew they had a tough game on their hands against a team consisting of Gary Welding, Tony O’Shea, Daryll Fitton, Davy Richardson, Steve Coote and Stephen Bunting, but gave it their best shot. Roy Brown started the ball rolling with a 3-2 win and 28.24 average, but the next three players (Graham Huggett, Graham Hardy & Dennis Murrell) were unable to follow suit, and all lost out to their opponents.
The Ladies A knew exactly what they needed to do in order to clinch the Ladies A title, and didn’t disappoint. The first three games were all five leg nail biters, with Steffi Smee (3-2 20.83) and Wendy Reinstadler (3-2 22.39) both securing wins. Sue Smee was the unlucky loser after missing her double in the final leg.
With the score 13-12 to Cheshire, the next four men took to the stage. Mark Smith (3-1 22.96) and Danny Ballard (3-0 26.37) both won and Rick Lowther took the Man of the Match award with a 3-2 win and 28.55 average. Danny Smith played some great darts in his game against Darryl Fitton but lost out 3-1 with a 29.82.
Back came the final three Ladies, and there was no messing about with Sue Lowther (3-0 19.78), Elaine Harty (3-1 16.66) and Maria Aggozino (3-2 18.01) all winning their games, to leave the score at 18-14 to Hampshire.
With Hampshire only needing a point from the final four games to win the match, it was Nillson Pritchard (3-2 25.23) who stepped up to take the honour, after Mick Cookman and Andy Mitchell both failed to win their games. Mark Thorne played the last game of the season, but he too was unable to win.
Final score was 19-17 to Hampshire and Premiership status was secured by 12 points. A great result after a tough season. Congratulations to the Ladies A side on winning the title. It meant an awful lot to them, and nobody can say they didn’t deserve it. We are all proud of you girls!!
Anyway, roll on next season. UP THE HAMPSHIRE!