Dorset’s first match of the new season was a close, tense tussle with the South Wales players of Gwent. The match swung to-and-from all weekend, with neither team able to take a grip on the match.
Last season the corresponding fixture was played in Wales with Gwent edging the match overall 19-17. After wins for the Dorset Mens and Womans B on Saturday, things were looking good for the weekend. Unfortunately the Ladies A side lost convincingly 1-5 before the men also went down by the same score that the Mens B had achieved the day before, 3-9. Matthew Read, Kevin Smith and Scott Mitchell were the only Mens A winners in what was a disastrous Sunday for the Green Army.
When the teams last played, Peter Johns (Gwent A) had the highest average, 29.91 for the men and Chris Savvery (Gwent A) for the ladies with 21.26.
Words of Encouragement
“It’s gonna be a close game and I’m sure my fellow teammates from Dorset will want to reverse last years result and not let a lead slip away. Still, great weekend with great friends from Gwent – it’s gonna be messy!”
John Bothamley, with a scarily accurate prediction of the result!
“Best wishes to all the Dorset squad for the coming season. Gwent has always had very strong players – my days of playing County were very enjoyable against Gwent, with the likes of Tony Ridler, Antony Ridler, Richie Herbert – the list goes on. Happy days. Good luck to both squads for the weekend.”
Terry Murphy, Former Dorset County Player (1991-96)
Gwent finished third with 195 points in Division One last season, just twelve points off division winners Hampshire.Their Mens A team finished the season second in that table, having lost just one of the nine matches played.
In case you’re wondering, this is where Gwent is…
Day One – Ladies B
The day opened with Katie Mitchell (making a name for herself) putting Dorset 1-0 up, despite her average being less than that of her opponent. Then it was Gwent’s turn to win a game as Sally Old went down 2-3 with an almost identical three-dart-average to her opponent, Susan Bailey.
Perri-May Yarrow restored Dorset’s lead as she saw off Hannah Meek who won’t have been happy with her 12.29 average. Gwent then turned the screw when they won the next two matches to take a 3-2 lead. In those two matches, Linda Bellingham lost 3-1 despite a superior average and Donna Mabbatt will be particularly disappointed to throw away a two leg lead that would have given Dorset the lead again.
Up last for the Ladies B was Cathryn Campbell who won 3-1 to restore parity at three-a-piece after the Ladies B contest.
Day One – Mens B
After lunch it was the turn of the Mens B teams. John Bothamley lost narrowly (2-3) as Gwent took the lead once again, 4-3. Following the ding-dong nature of the match, Dorset once again drew level as John Clark saw off his opponent 3-0.
Gwent then seriously turned the screw as they won three-in-a-row. Richard Ayres and John Gomm both went down 3-0 before Bryan Pearson took a leg but ultimately lost 3-1 with an impressive 25+ average. So 7-4 to Gwent and Dorset needed to dig deep.
The digging started immediately as they in turn won three games in a row to level the match once again at 7-7. Mark Porter was particularly impressive winning his game 3-0 with a 26.84 average, before Matt Woodhouse (3-1) and Robby Morris (3-2) won their ties.
At this point Dorset hadn’t been ahead since the third ladies game on Saturday morning. Terry Gowans will consider himself to have unlucky to lose with a 26.57 average, but lose he did, 3-2, so Gwent were one ahead again. Dale Masterman stepped up to the oche and saw off his opponent 3-1 to level the match once again!
Dan Perry was also unfortunate to go down by the odd leg two days before his fourteenth birthday – (I remember those days… just!) which left last man on, Matt Yarrow, to save the draw on day one… and save it he did, with a 3-2 win. Of course, the game went right to the wire, as this ding- dong County match ended all square at 9-9 on day one.
Keep an eye out for our Dan Perry interview coming soon.
Day Two – Ladies A
Claire Rogers was first on for the Ladies on Day Two, but not for long as she went down 0-3 before Suzanne Trickett won her game game 3-1 with a near 21 average. Gwent then landed a double blow as they won two-in-a-row with Julie Boggust and Sarah Chick both going down 3-2 in close affairs.
Sarah lost out to Chris Savvery who hit a 24.58 average and was the lady with the highest average of the match – a feat she also managed in this fixture last season. Gwent now had the upper hand 12-10.
As had happened on Day One, Dorset immediately hit back through Julie Frampton (3-1) and Trina Perry (3-0, 18.11) to level the match once again at 12-12 with the break due.
Day Two – Mens A
Nigel Lamb opened proceedings for the men, squeezing out a 4-3 win to put Dorset ahead for the first time in the weekend since leading 2-1 way back at Saturday lunchtime. Ryan Gowans was unlucky to lose out 3-4 (with the same average as Nigel, 26.20) and we were all square again at 13-13.
Next it was Dorset’s turn to steal a march as they won the next two games – both 4-1, for Robbie Martin and Lee Turle, to take a two game lead at 15-13. Dorset had won five out of the last six games and were in control when Scott Mitchell took to the stage.
Scott though, was taken out 3-4 by Peter Johns and Gwent were within one point again. The Matt Read v Viv Smith clash saw the fourth seven leg thriller out of six games, as Matt triumphed to restore Dorset’s two point lead, 16-14.
Stephen Penney struggled to find some consistent form and lost 1-4 – so Gwent were back in the match again with 5 games left – 16-15. The next two games were shared as Sean McMurray won 4-2 (24.38) and Lee Edwardson lost 1-4.
In the 34th game and with Dorset just one ahead (at 17-16), Mark Grimes won a crucial encounter with a belting 30 average to defeat Nick Kenny (29.51) 4-2 and leave Dorset two ahead, with two to go – a draw from this point (having not been behind at any time in the Mens A match) would have seemed like a defeat.
Despite having a marginally superior average to his opponent, Thomas Chant was beaten 2-4 and it was left up to Kevin Smith in the last game of a titanic match to secure a win, and secure it he did, 4-0 against Andrew Hulbert.
This was an extremely close match in which both teams could rightly feel they deserved the win, but it was Dorset who avenged last seasons 17-19 reversal in the same fixture and start the season in winning ways.
“Well done to all the Dorset County team today, superb effort over the weekend and a good start to BICC season beating Gwent 19-17. I wasn’t at the races today for us, I’ll try put that right, it’s the team winning that’s most important.”
Scotty Dog Mitchell, on Facebook after the match
Next up for Dorset it’s an away trip to County Durham who drew 18-18 with Oxfordshire at the weekend and for Gwent it’s a home match against Nottinghamshire who beat Cleveland 20-16 in their first match of the season.
Going up to County Durham? Perhaps you should take a few moments checking out some accommodation deals? Maybe Hotels Combined can help you find just the right place.
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