Thursday, 25 April 2013

Summer League 2013 Round 2

Match Report
James and Darren started the night off, and it was evenly matched as Darren played steadily while James was up and down, even scoring a 5 and a 3 in one leg (which he won against the odds). It finished in a draw, 2-2, with James having the consolation of the night's highest checkout, 48.

Second up on the oche were Ben and Ram. Ram was in great scoring form and hit two 140's, narrowly missing out on 180 both times. Ben kept plugging away but rarely managed a score over 45, and it was only Ram's double troubles that gave him any chance of reaching a finish. The first leg descended into a race for double-1 as both players missed throw after throw but it was Ram who found the target in the end and again in the following legs. The result: a comfortable 3-0 win for Ram and the night's highest score 140.

John played Sam next and there was plenty of horseplay on the oche as Sam resorted to distraction tactics to try to put John off. It turned out to be counter-productive as Sam's throw appeared to be less consistent than usual while John hit successive 60's to gain a lead in each leg. John's finishing was good enough to shut Sam out for a 3-0 win.

The last match of the night saw Tom take on Anne. Tom threw steadily but it was Anne who had her eye in on the doubles to take the lead and then go 2-0 up. Tom got one back with some decent throwing in the third leg but it was Anne, cheered on by the spectators, who came through in the last leg for her first win, 3-1.

Bonus points for high score/checkout to James and Ram, and to Ram and John for winning 3-0. This puts Ram on top of the table with 8 points, closely followed by John on 7.
Next Week
Round 3 is next Monday and the fixtures are:
Anne v Ben
Darren v Sam
Ram v John
Tom v James

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Summer League 2013 Round 1

After just a two week break it was back to league action last night with the start of the Summer League. Although it was "Adios!" to Andy and Natasha who decided not to play this time, we welcomed John who made his first appearance in last week's knockout, bringing the league up to 8 players for this season.

Match Report
Darren and Anne kicked off the new season. Although Darren outscored Anne, his sometimes-shaky finishing allowed her to close the gap and threaten a couple of times but he found his doubles in the end to win 3-0.

Sam played James in the next match and put in a creditable performance, winning one leg, but James dominated the rest of the match, scoring a Shanghai along the way as well as the night's best checkout of 60. Result 3-1 to James.

Ben took on John in the third match, and from the start struggled to keep up with John's consistently solid scoring. A couple of out-of-the-blue 121's kept Ben in the game but John's finishing was too good to allow more than the slimmest of chances in any of the legs and it finished a comfortable 3-0 win for John.

Rounding off the night's matches were Ram and Tom. Tom hit some decent totals but finishing was his problem, as a steady performance from Ram in which he hit the night's best score of 134 brought him a 3-0 win.

Bonus points for 3-0 to Ram, John and Darren, plus high score & checkout bonuses to Ram and James.
Next Week
It's Round 2 next week, Monday 22nd April, and here are the fixtures.
Ben v Ram
James v Darren
John v Sam
Tom v Anne

There are two Bank Holiday Mondays in May and both will have knockout competitions. Anybody can come along and join in, the more the merrier!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Pre-Season Knockout - 8th April 2013

Match Report
It was a good night of darts to get everybody in the mood for the new league starting next Monday. We had eight players altogether which is ideal for a knockout, including newcomer John. First round and semi-final matches were played as best-of-3 legs from 501, while the final was best-of-5.

First Round
Getting the competition underway were James and Ben. James threw steadily while Ben was slow off the mark, barely reaching a possible 3-dart checkout total before James took the first leg. A good start in the second leg saw Ben take an early lead on the scoreboard but his inconsistent throwing allowed James to catch up and check out to go through 2-0.

Joining us for the first time was John who played Darren, returning after a couple of weeks off. Darren threw some decent darts but was eclipsed by power scoring from John who hit at least one treble-20 with almost every turn at the oche. An impressive performance and a well-deserved 2-0 win for John.

Ram had been drawn against Anne in the third match, and he got off to a pedestrian start which allowed Anne a chance to seal the first leg with a quick checkout on her last double. The second leg was also close with both players having chances to take it before Ram checked out to level the match. The deciding leg was less close as Anne started to lose her focus and Ram got into his rhythm to win 2-1.

Concluding the first round were Tom and Andy. Scores were close in the first leg and both players suffered from double trouble as they ended up stalled in the madhouse, double-1. It was Tom who broke the stalemate in the first leg, but there was a repeat of the double-1 shootout in the second leg as well which Andy won to equalise. It was a better performance from Andy in the deciding leg as he reached his last double first and checked out with little delay to go through 2-1.

James faced John in the first semi and didn't sound confident going into this match after seeing John beat Darren earlier. However James continued to throw steady darts and John, although hitting decent scores again, didn't match the heights of his first match. Both legs were close but it was James who held his nerve on the checkouts to go through to the final 2-0.

Ram played Andy in the other semi. Andy didn't look like the same player who topped the table in the last league as Ram banged in 80+ and ton-plus scores and built up a lead of nearly 400 in one leg while Andy struggled to find even single-20 at times. A comfortable 2-0 victory for Ram.

Two well matched players in the shape of James and Ram, it was James who won the throw in the first leg, but Ram who delivered the goods and took the second leg as well to go 2-0 ahead. James was looking at a whitewash and this spurred him to pick up his game and he took the third leg with the throw, breathing a sigh of relief at not having a zero on the scoreboard. His momentum continued and he won the next leg as well to set up a tense deciding leg at 2-2. Tiredness was evident in both players and their aim wasn't as tight as earlier legs, but both showed a real determination and kept the scores close right to the finish. In the end it was Ram who brought home the bacon, winning the fifth leg for a 3-2 victory and £12.50 prize money. An impressive effort from James as well, who took home the second prize of £7.50.

Summer League
Next Monday sees the return of our Premier League darts for the summer season. Most of last season's players have already signed up - Anne, Ben, Darren, James, Ram, Sam and Tom - and I was pleased that John accepted my invitation to join us. There are still a couple of places available if anybody wants to join in - send me a message or speak to me in the pub before Monday if you're interested.

There will be a small change to the points system next season. Bonus points will remain for the highest score and highest checkout in each round, A draw (2-2) will be 1 point, a win will count for 2 points but there will be an extra bonus point for winning 3-0. I am keeping the entry fee at £2.50 a week: no price rises for darts night at least!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Easter Monday Knockout

What better way to round off the long Easter weekend than a darts knockout? Well, it worked for ten of us on Monday night: a good turnout. But would the effects of four days of partying (in some cases) tell in the darts? Read on...

Match Report
Preliminary Round
Tom v James
Sam v Anne
To narrow the field to 8 the first two pairs of names out of the hat played each other in a preliminary round. Starting the night's action were Tom and James in a slow-paced match where neither player managed to score consistently, and both had some trouble with accuracy on their doubles as the match went to a deciding 3rd leg which James won to finish 2-1 up.

Sam played Anne in the second preliminary match, and neither player showed the form they had demonstrated in recent weeks: it looked as if the 4-day weekend had taken quite a toll, but Sam led in the scoring and took advantage of that to win 2-0.

Quarter Finals
Andy v Bev
Matt v Ben
James v Mark
Sam v Ram
It was great to see Bev back on the Monday night oche after so long as she took on league regular Andy. Bev obviously hadn't lost her touch and hit some steady scores, outperforming Andy who has not managed over the last few weeks to regain the form he showed during the regular season. This was another match that went to the deciding leg but Bev's finishing was decisive and she won 2-1.

Matt and Ben played next and Matt scored well, drawing ahead of Ben, who started slowly, in the first leg before getting stuck on his double to finish. This allowed Ben to catch up and take the leg. The second leg saw Matt score an impressive 132 but he couldn't maintain that consistency. Again it came down to a shootout on the doubles which Ben won to go through 2-0.

First qualifier James had drawn Mark, Bev's partner, who plays regularly in his home town of Weybridge. Mark looked confident and threw a steady game but James was up to the challenge and they went into the deciding 3rd leg looking evenly-matched. A dip in James's form gave Mark enough of an advantage to take the leg and his place in the semis.

Rounding off the quarters was second qualifier Sam who had drawn Ram. Despite having played one match already, Sam couldn't find her usual form and Ram dominated the match to win 2-0.

Semi Finals
Bev v Ben
Mark v Ram
Because earlier matches had taken longer than expected I took the decision to reduce the total in the remaining rounds from 501 to 301.

After her first round victory over Andy you had to fancy Bev's chances against Ben who had not shown consistent form in his earlier match. In the event, however, Ben hit the totals when needed to catch up, set up a finish and take the first leg. Bev came right back in the second leg, dominating the scores and checking out to force a decider. Steady darts in the third leg from both players but it was Ben who found the finishing double to gain his place in the final.

Some quality darts next as Mark met Ram in a match that saw the best scoring of the night with the players hitting the treble-20 regularly. The shorter format left little room for errors and Ram was punished for missing his double and leaving the door open for Mark to win 2-0 and go through to face Ben in the final.

Mark v Ben
These two hadn't faced each other on the oche since a friendly game on holiday in 2009, and the atmosphere remained friendly despite the evident concentration. Mark threw as steadily as he had through the earlier rounds and Ben kept pace with consistent scoring, but it was Mark who proved to have his eye in for the doubles where his accuracy gave him the first leg. After a steady opening in the second leg, Ben lost his focus while Mark built a lead to gain a good advantage which he pressed home to win 2-0.

All that remained was to present the prizes: £17.50 to the winner Mark and £7.50 to runner-up Ben. Honourable mentions to losing semi-finalists Bev and Ram, and a big thank you from me to everybody who turned up and took part.

Next Week
With the next league starting on the 15th April, it means that the next knockout fixture, on Monday 8th, will also be your chance to register with me for a place in the summer league. We're always on the lookout for new players to join us on Monday nights so if you fancy having a go just come along. Monday's knockout is open to everybody as usual and entry will be £2.50 per player.