Embleton and District Darts League
The league singles knock-out competition was held at Shilbottle Sports and Social Club as the finale to another great season of darts.
As with the pairs knock-out competition, which was held a few weeks earlier, a new format was adopted with the aim of giving as many players as possible entry to the competition, rather than a single entrant from each team.
Once more, the number of entries was impressive with just short of 60 hopefuls vying for the title, meaning all eight boards were in operation at once until the latter stages.
The draw threw up some interesting clashes in the best of three legs opening round with the majority of the pre-tournament favourites emerging unscathed.
The second round also paired some of the fancied players together, notably the clash between Keith Williams of the Cottage against Graham Shell of the Burnside B, with Williams progressing to the next round.
Others were beginning to get their eye in and it was still anyone’s tournament with several players looking in ominous form on the night.
The competition had now moved on to a best of five legs format, giving the last 16 players every opportunity to hit top form.
Great performances by the likes of Davey Cormack of The Black Swan A, Nigel Gilholm from the Blink Bonny B and the Horseshoes A pair of Paul Thompson and Sean Turner, who was one of several players to notch a 180 on the night, saw them progress to the business end of the tournament.
On then to the quarter-finals where the remaining eight players again threw some tremendous arrows.
The victors in this round were four who had previously caught the eye and which then pitched Paul Thompson against Davey Cormack in the first semi-final, with Sean Turner facing Keith Williams in the other. Again, the quality didn’t drop with all four players giving a good account of themselves, cheered on by friends and team mates.
In the first semi-final, it was Paul Thompson who took an early lead but then had to withstand a spirited comeback from Davey Cormack before finally edging it and claiming his place in the final. In the other semi-final a marvellous display from Keith Williams saw him deservedly see off Sean Turner, who had looked in awesome form right from the start of the night.
To reach the final, both players had played and defeated some of the pre-tournament favourites along the way and managed to keep their concentration and determination intact to produce a memorable final game.
In a tense and evenly-matched affair, both players looked capable of going all the way with Paul Thompson even having a chance at the winning double that, from the spectator’s viewpoint, looked in for all the world but was fractionally off-target.
Keith Williams made no mistake when his chance came, hitting the winning double to claim the trophy as a very worthy winner.
A great night rounded off a great season and the organisers would like to say a big thank-you to all who not only took part but who also supported the league throughout the season. That goes particularly for the sponsors on the night, The Horseshoes Inn, SMJ Tyre Services, John Gray Fabrication and Welding, Paul Gray Town and Country Stoves, Taylors Newsagents, Chris Bilclough Plumbing, Davidsons Dairy, Lionheart Kitchen Warehouse and Geoff Riddell. Thanks also to Shilbottle Sports and Social Club and Kev Fletcher for the use of the boards.