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CLWYD V SHROPSHIRE 29TH-30TH OCTOBER
2nd Nov 2016
Following a somewhat disappointing visit to Wiltshire earlier in the month, Clwyd needed to regain confidence with at least a good home win at Penyffordd RBL, over visitors Shropshire.
It has to be said, and quite understandably, Shropshire had arrived in a subdued mood, following the untimely passing of their team mate and friend, Lynne Watton, only a matter of days before the match. Following an emotional tribute and a minute’s silence, the match commenced, but before I go any further, may I, on behalf of Clwyd, offer our sincere condolences to Lynne’s family, friends and team mates. RIP.
The Clwyd Ladies B started as they seemingly always do: first up, Clwyd Open champion Katie Woodcock won 3-2 (14.15 ave), followed by wins for Becky Jones (15.03), Del Stapley (17.28), and a match-award winning performance from an emotional but strong Julie Maddock (17.61), who herself had lost her dear father some days before, too. Shrops picked up the 5th set, but Clwyd’s Bethan Jones (13.42) wrapped up another fine 5-1 win.
In the Men’s B match, Andy Hopwood (21.34) opened up the scoring for Clwyd, and while Shrops took the next set, Clwyd ran away with the next 6, with wins for Paul Hughes (23.04), Andy Alker (22.85), Jason Wilcock (22.54), Bryan Moran (21.39, match award winner Paul Alley (26.33) and Pete Lewis (24.54). Steve Gierke (26.20) may have been a little unlucky to lose the next set to Shrops’ man-of-the-match Nathan Storar (24.11), and Shrops also picked up the next set, but wins for the returning Neil Mayers (25.47) and John Thomas (21.78) sealed a 9-3 win for the home team. Clwyd lead 14-4 going into day 2….
On Sunday, sadly, we received the news that the father of one of Clwyd’s players, Paul Gillam, had passed away. Another poignant moment when it becomes clear that the world of county darts is like a large family, and respect and condolence was given in abundance by both teams throughout the weekend. So after a few thoughtful words, the match recommenced.
An opening win for Clwyd’s Ladies A from Nat Davey (15.78) maintained a good lead, and although Shrops won the next 2 sets (including their match award winner Steph Clarke, 18.60 ave), Clwyd once again rallied and fired in the remaining 3 sets courtesy of Claire Maddock (15.95), who completed a mother/daughter double in picking up the match award, Paula Collins (15.62) and Jane Robson (15.75).
The Mens A encounter started very differently for Clwyd. Shrops took the opening set, before Glyn Carus (24.76) steadied the ship for Clwyd. But not for long, as Shrops took the next 2 sets, including their match award winner Danny James (25.05). Derek Williams (25.03) regained Clwyd’s composure, before Shrops once again hit back to take the next set. But that was it as far as the visitors were concerned! Clwyd then enjoyed a brilliant run-in to the finishing line with wins for Darren Hiles (25.36), Colin Snead (24.49), Dean Williams (22.76), Ricky Spender (24.19), Craig Spriggs (23.84), and Mr Abacus himself, Lester Thompson, who once again romped away with the match award with a 28.36 average.
The Mens A had won 8-4, completing an excellent 26-10 victory for Clwyd, which should put them in good stead, ready for the long journey to the Isle of Wight at the beginning of December.
This had been a weekend tinged with sadness, for sure, but played out in the true spirit of the game. Long may that continue.