Curtain-raiser causes a buzz around the oches

ACTION returns to the oche tomorrow, as the new season starts in the Alnwick Premier Darts League.

The league, which is now in its fourth year, welcomes two new teams, in the form of Alnwick Gate C and The Hotspur, who will play from The Fleece, Alnwick, and both will begin life in Division B.

But the George B and last year’s league and cup double winners Alnmouth Village have dropped out.

Eighteen teams will compete during the 2011/12 season, with nine sides set to do battle in Division A, including promoted Bell Bar B and Blue Bell A, while a further nine will lock horns in Division B, including relegated Oddies A.

There has also been some team movement, with Farriers B becoming Shilbottle Club, Tanners A will now be playing as The Market Tavern, Tanners B are to be called Alnwick Castle Golf Club A and the RAFA Club will be competing as Alnwick Castle Golf Club B.

Relishing tomorrow’s season curtain-raiser, Mick Miller, from the league, said: “We are looking forward to the new season.

“We are disappointed to lose two teams, but it is a fact of modern life that situations change and sometimes there isn’t the stability or finances there was in years gone by.

“But losing two teams is tempered by having two new teams joining us, so we remain with 18 teams, which is still a great response when you consider we only allow sides from Alnwick, Shilbottle and Alnmouth.

“We are also delighted to have Shilbottle Club back in the league, with their great tradition of fine teams over the years.

“All the teams and players are looking forward to the new season. We have two really good divisions and I know the league will be fought as competitively as ever, but always in a great spirit, which is the hallmark of our league.”

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FIXTURES (tomorrow, all matches to start before 8.30pm): Division A – Blue Bell A v Fleece, The George v John Bull, Oddies B v Bell Bar B, Farriers v Gate B. Division B – Alnwick Gate C v Shilbottle Club, Alnwick Working Mens Club A v Oddies A, Alnwick Castle Golf Club A v Alnwick Castle Golf Club B, The Hotspur v Alnwick Working Men’s Club B.