The new year passes, the weather has become arctic and everywhere people are taking time out. Not the darts players of the Peninsula Darts League though, with only one fixture falling to the conditions. That was a game to be played at the White Horse in way off Upper Stoke, against 3rd in the table Prince of Wales, in Strood, a bit of a distance in the snow.
Nevertheless, some big resulits have been witnessed with the corresponding effect on the league table. Prince of Wales beat the champions , Hoo ‘B, 8-5’ to close the gap at the top of the league to 2 points. The following week Hoo ‘B’ won back 2nd place by getting a 11-2 victory over The Red Dog, in High Halstow. The previous round of games saw Wainsscott do the same to the poor ol’ Dog and so maintain their table heading position. Hogath ‘A’ are keeping up with good wins over White Horse (8-5) and Hoo ‘A’ (6-7). Notice, though the number of legs being conceded to gain the 2 point win prize. At the end of the season the top teams may only be separated by the aggregate of legs won, so this is an important aspect this year. More than ever matches are going down to the wire, this season seeing a greater percentage of matches finishing 7-6 than ever before. The Railway Tavern in Higham and the nearby Stone Horse have both recorded 9, out of 16 matches. The cecil Arms in Strood, as well as Hoo ‘A’, Hogath ‘B’ and The Red Dog have managed this score line in a 3rd of their games. Only The Beautifully located Tudor Arms are yet to join this club from the whole league, and unsurprisingly are yet to win.
This is evidence of the standard of our local darts league. Last year at this same time of the season there were 52 maximum 180s recorded. This year, guess what? The same number. Is the league going backwards? Far from it, this is a clear statement that the standard is the same; high and consistent. Every match in the weekly program brings with it a plethora of big scores and high finishes, not falling much short, in short passages, of what we see on TV. There will be any number of 2 x 60 throws, resulting in scores of 140, 135, 121, 123, and 125 other combinations involving 2 ‘lipstick’ hits. But that’s only half the story. 60s are great but the real winners are the doubles. In one match recently between the Tudor Rose and The Weston Arms Aiydon finished a game on 114! Both these sides inhabit the lower and lowest places in the league: that’s the standard being thrown in the league this year.
But,as usual, it’s the big boys who are doing the big shots consistently. Both Bimbo Sage of the Nags Head in Stoke and Paul Gurnett of their neighbours have posted 155 finishes (must be something in the beer up there!). This week Dave Cruttenden (Hoo ‘A’) got out on 125; 15, 60 and bull! what a way to finish! The maximum 180 throw leader board shows Nick Buckingham of Wainscott with 4 so far, closely followed by Keith Bassett (Hoo ‘B’), Gary Morris and Ritchie Mills (Hogarth ‘A’) and Scott Crosbie (Cecil Arms) all with 3 each. They are followed by a peleton of darters, who have recorded 2 each. It’s close and will get closer.
This is turning out to be a classic season so far. Why not pop along to your local on a Monday night and feel the atmosphere, see the games for yourself. With the cold weather, being as it is, this could be just the filip we could all do with to tide us over until Spring arrives.
Until the darts report in next month’s Peninsula Times, happy darting!