DARTS: Exciting night at the oche in new-format competition

EMBLETON AND DISTRICT PAIRS KNOCKOUT 2014

Twenty-nine pairs from the 10 teams in the Embleton and District Darts League gathered at Shilbottle Sports and Social Club on Friday, February 28, for the new knockout pairs format.

The venue was superb with eight boards side-by-side in one room meaning everyone could see everything that was going on, creating a superb atmosphere. In the first round, pre-tournament favourites G Shell and D Ayre eased through to the second round.

Among the stand-out ties in the second round were the Burnside derby clash between D Bell and R Stephenson against S Rowntree and M Shepherd. The Wright brothers Davey and Billy, representing the Horseshoes A, had a tough draw against the youngsters A Brannigan and R Scott of the Black Swan B.

The derby went to the Burnside A’s pairing of Rowntree and Shepherd and the Wright brothers progressed to the quarter-finals, joining G Shell and D Ayre, Burnside A’s old and young pairing of J Simms and S Dolton, SWMC’s A Ainslie and E Maddison, the Horseshoes A’s P Thompson and I Donkin and the league chairman P Gray and his partner R Collins.

The final pair through to the last eight was the Horseshoes B’s M Gray and S Ginger.

The quality of the darts at this stage of the night far exceeded that normally seen on a Friday night in the league and making it through to the last four were Horseshoes A’s Wright brothers, who were to battle it out in a derby against the Horsehoes B pairing of M Gray and S Ginger.

The second semi pitted arguably the two strongest pairings, G Shell and D Ayre of the Burnside B against their rivals from the Horseshoes A, P Gray and R Collins.

After two terrific semi-finals and a great advert for the standard of darts in the league, the victors meant we were to have a family affair and a derby in the final with P Gray and R Collins playing M Gray and S Ginger.

The final came and Paul and Matty Gray stepped up to bull up and after five bulls on the bounce, father defeated son for the right to throw first.

That wasn’t to be the only victory for Paul, as he and Rory went on to claim a well-deserved win in a hard-fought affair. There were three 180s hit – P Gray and D Wright of the Horseshoes A and R Walker of the Cottage – in a massively successful event, which organisers hope is here to stay.

A league spokesman said: “I would like to thank the following people for their help not only on the night but also in the build-up because, without it, staging the event would have been near if not actually impossible. Craig Thompson for performing all the draws on the night. The sponsors of the match boards for their support SMJ Tyres, John Gray Fabrication and Welding, The Horseshoes Inn, P Gray Town and Country Stoves, A Walton, C McCann Builder, Pestforce, M Bridgeman, Ivor Jones Builder, N Gilholm, Shilbottle Sports and Social Club and Ivan Smith Nickalls Accountants.

“Last but not least, a massive thanks to Kev Fletcher for the use of the boards on the night and John Kennedy for letting us use the venue and for both their help in setting up.

“We look forward to seeing you again for the singles finals night on April 4, where all spectators are welcome.”