It’s over to Emma as Harper retains Captain’s Cup

I BEGIN this week’s column with a big thank you on behalf of the Harrogate and District Darts Leagues to Martin Newton for such an excellent job over the years, writes Emma Lockwood.

On behalf of all of us taking the reins we hope we can do half as good a job keeping everything running smoothly.

The Harrogate and Knaresborough Leagues both held their Captains and Landlords cups this week on return from the Christmas break. In the Harrogate League, Rick Harper triumphed in the Captains Cup for the second year running and new kid on the block Norm ‘The Storm’ Boughen took the Landlords Shield back to the Prince of Wales. Although normally played on Mondays it was decided to run these on a Wednesday in an effort to increase participation.

It clearly worked with a great turnout for both events and plenty of vocal support for everyone. Paul Wood and Rick Harper received a bye into the next round and Adi Shaw got proceedings underway in the Captains Cup with a win over Danny Millar with a 20 dart leg. Ian Gibson won a marathon game to progress and Lee Swales beat former winner Tony Hawkes with a 19 darter.

In the bottom half of the draw Trevor Close was finding some form with 21 darts to beat ‘The Shooter’, Kris Goodman. Keith Powell won in 25 and 20 darts and Andy Hare got the better of an out-of-sorts Dean Lawman in 21.

Shaw secured a semi-final spot with a win over Ian Gibson, as did Rick Harper in 22 and 15 darts with a 115 checkout.

Harrogate Cons Keith Powell beat Trevor Close in 21 darts and Hare hammered Wood in 21 and 16 despite Woody hitting a 180.

Rick Harper maintained his good form against Adi Shaw to win 2-0 in 21 and 17, while the other semi was a nervy affair with neither player having any advantage but Hare emerged the winner against Powell.

Harper did not take his foot off the gas all night and made no mistake in the final, leaving Hare reeling with another 2-0 win in 20 and 19 arrows to become the Captains Champion for the second time with an average of 74.57 on the night.

The Landlords Shield saw nine out of the possible 14 entries turn out to compete.

The Skipton’s Keith Hedley had an early bath, losing out in the preliminary round to Norman Boughen who won with a 19 darter.

Norman then beat Paul Spilsbury in 23 darts. Bob McDermid hit a 180 in his first round win over Andy Harrison. Paul Kennedy of Starbeck Cons took out last year’s champion Kris McIntyre in 23 and 25 darts and Alan Clark progressed after beating Stacy Donnelly. But Kennedy came unstuck in the semis as Boughen powered into the final in 23 darts and McDermid of the Slip Inn also won against Clark to secure a final spot.

The first leg of the final proved to be cagey with a number of chances missed by each player, but Boughen eventually took it and settled into the next leg with some steady scoring.

Bob wasn’t far behind having stuck in a 140 to leave a two dart finish. Norm ‘The Storm’ didn’t waste his chance and finished with the second dart for a 24 dart leg to become the Landlords Champion for the first time.

Thanks to everyone who turned up to play and support the event and to Trades Hall for a great venue.

The Knaresborough League returned this week with the cups played at Board Inn, the home pub of defending captain Emma Lockwood. The draw saw Emma up against a returning to form Ray Davey. Ray took the first leg in 24 darts.

Emma dominated the second leg with some high scoring but after missing 18 darts at a double Davey hit his and took the match. Dave Allen set up a match with Davey in the semis after beating Al Coote which included a 21 darter.

The last two first round matches saw Alan Slater beat Debbie Atkinson while Steve Hurle dumped out ‘The Planet’ Andy Marwood. In the semis, Davey upped his game to book his place in the final with 20 and 23 arrow legs.

Hurle saw off an Al Slater 24 darter to meet Ray in the final.

In the final Davey just edged the first leg before missing countless darts in the second to let Hurle make it one apiece.

The deciding leg was nip and tuck but Steve Hurle was named 2012 captains champ after hitting his double 20 finish.

The Landlords Shield had a great attendance with all but one turning up to try their hand.

Craig Downey, Raquel Lofthouse, John Brown and Mel Monsey all progressed past the first round and into the semis.

Raquel squeezed past Craig into the final after a deciding 53 dart leg!

John almost lost out to heavily pregnant Mel but hit a 21 arrow leg to set up a final with ‘Raquers’. Those that know John and Raquel know the final would be a battle of the egos and the crowd were not disappointed.

A very high spirited yet low scoring final was played and won by Ivy Cottage landlord John Brown.

Thank you to those who turned out and supported their respective Captains and Landlords. A good night was had by all.

Nidderdale League news comes from Dave Ingles who writes that Wellington B beat Boroughbridge SC 8-2, the fastest game being Dave ‘Shadrach’ Ingles winning in 32 darts.

Harrogate Cons beat the Anchor Inn winning 9-1, Phil Taylor having the best game winning in 22. Kirk Dzendolet won in 23 darts and Mick Fenwick finished in 28.

The best game for the Anchor came from Simon Donegan shooting a 24 darter. The Wellington A had 7-3 win over Goldsborough CC, Pete Strike and Mick Young both having 25 dart legs.

The last result of the week was Knaresborough CC losing 7-3 to The Bay Horse, the quickest game being Rob McCreadies who won in 29 darts.

The Wetherby Darts League results for this week saw The Castle beat The Old Star 5-2 with a 22 dart game from A Gowlett for The Castle.

The Red Lion, also winners this week, saw off The Albion 6-1 with a 22 arrow game from J Paley and a 70 game shot from J Hook.

In further news the Skipton Premier Leagues kick-off on March 1 and a meeting will be held on February 16 at the Skipton at 8pm.

Players wishing to participate in the forthcoming season should attend. A knockout will be arranged after the meeting.

The Harrogate Grand Slam of Darts with a prize fund of £500 got under way this week at the Skipton with the draw for groups and the first set of matches taking place.

Twenty-eight players have been randomly drawn into four groups of seven and will play each other once in a the best of a five=leg format, only the top four from each group qualifying for the knockout stages in three weeks’ time.

Any tie on points will be separated by leg difference or a sudden death nine-dart shoot out.

The early leader in Group A after two wins is Tony Sharratt followed by Gary Hobson, Terry Freame and Daz Robson.

Group B sees Martin Chappell topping the table with two wins from Graham Coates, Carl Heptinstall and Ian Gibson.

Alex Pride shares top spot with Steve Higgins both winning their opening two matches in Group C with Pete Burroughs and Lewis Pride close behind.

The group of death is Group D with three players winning their opening games, only separated by leg difference, Ian Balsdon, Rick Harper and Alex Roadley.

Ryan Hoggarth holds fourth, but with Shaun Smith and Lee Swales in the group it may not be for long.