180s Joe Miller, Shaun Smith (Hyenas), Derek Kingsbury, Patrick Abrams x2, Paul Durrant x4, Lee Maiden x3 (Meerkats), Sid Cross x4 (Hattons Hunks), Mark Filer, Irene Russell (Busters), Mike Smith, Mel Dawson (Breakaways Bears)


Highest finish Alex Nikolov (Meerkats) 141
Shortest leg 14 darts Lee Maiden, Meerkats


It will be a cracking night of darts on May 8th when this week´s singles qualifiers play for a place in the following week´s finals at Breakaways.  Not everyone that would grace the final stages got through, notably Mark Filer, former finalist who went out to Meerkat Alex Nikolov in a real ding dong match.


Another Buster currently performing well Paul Dowinton, had two comfortable wins before facing Lee Maiden in a tentative game, both under-performing.  Anyone of the last 8 could win the singles and it will certainly depend on the draw, but Walker and Abrams will be the ones to avoid in the quarters.  Its probably the best last 8 in six years, including the likes of Mark Farmer and Sam Salt both previous winners of the prestigious trophy, just look at the facts.


Abrams and Walker are currently 1st and 2nd respectively in the Exite Radio Merit Table.  Lee Maiden holds the League´s shortest leg of 501 in 14 darts.  Alex Nikolov has the League´s highest finish to date with a magnificent 141 out.  Sid Cross has amassed a healthy 4 maximums this term and is jointly leading this category even after missing 25% of matches.


The remaining three Wood, Linton and Eyre have all played significant roles for their respective teams and will be no push-overs.  Try and pick the winner and runner-up from that lot, its almost impossible.


One big surprise in the girls competition was the early elimination of Busters Shirley Roberts.  She did however have some consolation in the knowledge of going out to eventual qualifier Simone de Lacey, the delectable Honey who didn’t drop a leg on her way to qualification and the semis.  She will be joined by Yvonne Rouffignac from the Porterhouse who herself didn’t drop a leg during the evening at Hattons.


They will be joined by the Pint Depot venue winners, the ever smiling Leah Chesworth and Queen Marie Dunne.  Both performed well to qualify with several three figure scores.  One match at the Pint Depot lasted a little longer than anticipated, enough to say that Phil Taylor would have been 5 sets up in a world championship final by the time the leg was concluded.  The participants names are a secret and will remain that way unless …..


I had the pleasure of not competing in the singles this term but organising the venue down at La Zenia´s Gogarty´s.  A fact not lost on Que Pasa´s Jim Storey who quipped ¨shame the other Meerkats didn’t take the hint¨.  Meant and taken with the humour the old boy intended.


The elder statesman gave a good account of himself on the board going out on a nice 116 (T20,S20,D18) but it wasn’t enough against the ever youthful Joe Hawkins who took out the other two legs on D20 and D10.


The Hunk then faced George Caine who had earlier won his match 2-0 against Steph Ralphs.  The Madigans man struggled a little in his second game and went out 2 straight on D16 and D11 leaving Hawkins to play Abrams who had made his way through George Mint 100 and Steve Cox both 2-0, hitting 5 tons or more on the way.  The Hunk had the opportunity of taking the match to 3 legs but didn’t take it as D4 and D8 sewed up the match accompanied by 4 more tons from the Meerkat.


The draw, conducted by Michelle Caine, was kind to the Merit Table toppers, John Walker drawn in the opposite half to Abrams.  The Que Pasa man unexpectedly wobbled a little playing the competent Tavener Ivan Jones.  It took 3 legs and 2 tons to dispose of the unlucky Jones.  Walker´s opponent to qualify was another Tavener, Mike Snow.  A below par Lee Holtham had previously succumbed to Snowy 2-1, the winner hitting D16,D2 coupled with 134,121,120.


However, he didn’t perform quite as well against Walker, as the Eagle reeled off a comfortable 20 dart first leg which should have been 17, including 2 tons followed by 2 more and D6 to qualify with the Meerkat.


At Busters 3 Meerkats figured in the line up two of them making the finals, Lee Maiden and John Eyre, my recent Monday League KO Pairs winning partner.  In fact Eyre beat old friend and Kats captain Derek Kingsbury 2-1 to get through but going 1 down on D14 after Kingsbury had hit a 135.  The veteran Eyre came straight back though with 100,105 and D10 in the second and then 140,D2 for the match.  Meanwhile Maiden made short work of Hyenas captain Simon Williams, with D16 and D10 without much response from his opposite number.


His next match was far more difficult, Buster Paul Dowinton who has been playing steadily all season contributing to his team´s cup final appearance on May 15th.  Two 2-0 victories, the first a clinical demolition of Brett Badlove and then a tougher match against the useful Matt Cummins, had to be played before Maiden.


Two 140s plus a D10 gave Dowinton a 1 leg lead despite a ton from the King.  Yet another ton in the next looked likely to level but the Buster requiring 60 coolly slotted home the required points in two.  With the finals at stake the last match was good but not quite up to what was expected.  Maiden took the first on D5 after a 95 and 116.  Dowinton stepped his game up a little in the second with a ton and 135 but unfortunately couldn’t hit a double.  The Kat duly obliged on D13 for a 2-0 score line.
Down at Phil Batt´s PB´s two more ¨champions elect¨ made the last 8 in reasonable fashion.  Game of the night didn’t feature either of the qualifiers, but Stuart Clark v. Mika Oksanom, who had previously been included somehow in the Ladies Singles at Hattons!  Now we all know that Mika is far from feminine but totally testosterone filled, manly and masculine, so what idiot put him in the Ladies Singles?


All I can say is that it was a committee member and not Kingsbury.


Anyway Clark was impressive in beating Oksanom 2-0, the first scoring 100,99 and 2 double 8s for some showboating and then a 3 ton second leg concluding with D2.  Clark couldn’t repeat that form when facing Sid Cross who had earlier disposed of Den Hall 2-0 both hitting respectable 140s, Cross making it 2-0 with a 72 out (S12,S20,D20).


The Eagle could only muster a lone ton when facing Cross, who took full advantage hitting 100,121 and D7,D16 for victory.  Que Pasa´s Kevin Wood was in confident mood to qualify winning his three matches 2-0,2-1 and 2-0 bagging 6 tons or more on the way.  His first opponent Steve Woods was taken out on D16 and D2.


His next, Stewart McCulloch split the Eagles winning legs on D13, Wood hitting 3 of his tons in this match and finishing on D10 and D20.  The remaining two tons were left for Karl Cooper, who won´t be joining partner Leah in the finals at Breakaways.


At the Hub, organiser Ray Sanderson had the pleasure of witnessing some fine matches and numerous tons but not the progress of fellow Porter Peter Ayres who has recently been playing excellent darts for his captain but somehow has now gone a very dark brown.


Practising outdoors now Peter?  Whatever he is doing it is working but unfortunately not against John Lane who took out the exuberant sun tanned Porter 2-1 on D18 and 56 (S16,D20), Ayres taking the middle leg.


Lane scored 126,100,133, his opponent 100,119,137, some match but Lane didn’t go further as his next game was against the highly animated Bulgarian Alex Nikolov who had earlier taken out the much fancied Mark Filer in a match where the Kat scored 101,100,100,100 Filer replying with three of his own.  The difference on this occasion was Nikolov´s finishing, 19,bull in the first and S19,D20 in the second for 2-0.  Lane must have felt confident facing Nikolov, but finding the T20 was more difficult than he imagined.


The Meerkat didn’t have the same problem going out on D9 and D5 after 2×100 and 140 with no reply from the Pirate.  Joining Nikolov at Breakaways will be Gogarty´s John Linton, yet another player enjoying fine form.  Identical legs from the Gopher against Brian Mears took him through to face Graham Todd for qualification.


A D16 and ton in the first was replicated in the second for 2-0.  Todd, fully equipped this week with glasses opened his account at the Hub with a victory over Pirate Terry Kirby 2-0 on D1 and D10.  Linton was a little tougher, the Gopher opening with a ton and then setting up a shot with a magnificent 171 followed by D5 next throw.


Todd immediately came back as expected with some good scoring and a 121, completing the 501 on D20.  Linton upped the ante in the third with 132,140 and D6 for a 2-1 score line and a visit to the finals.


Shirley Roberts must have been disappointed not to have progressed in the Alex Nikolov Building Services Singles, her first round opponent Simone de Lacey has been slowly moving up the Exite Radio Merit Table with some fine throwing, both currently figuring in the top 5, with only 3 league matches to play (points are only awarded in league games).


The Buster was devoid of any scoring form in their match, de Lacey finding a useful 123 and D2 for the first followed by another D2 for the match and a tough game next against yet another Buster Irene Russell.  The diminutive Russell had woken everyone up in the first game of the evening against Queen Rachael Broadhead.


The Royal gained the first leg only for the tiny figure of Russell to hit a 180 followed by D11 to level.  The little lady nearly made it two maximums, but had to be content with a 140 and then a tasty 60 out (S20,D20) for 2-1.  Unfortunately her form deserted her against de Lacey and despite some good scores, couldn’t cope with the Honeys 140 and two winning doubles on D8 and D3.


De Lacey´s next match featured PB´s Gilly Kirby 130 who had won her previous match against Sarah Simpson 112, the ever popular DJ.  D1 and D7 got the Pirate through to the next round to face a confident de Lacey.  A 117 from Kirby was the highest score of the tie, but it was the Honey who took the spoils on D2 and D16.


Joining her will be Yvonne Rouffignac who gave a good account of herself against Sue Wiles winning 2-0 on D2 and D10 along with a 124.  To qualify Yvonne needed to overcome Ann Griffiths, winner by 2-1 against Julie McCulloch in the previous round.  The Royal one didn’t really get into the match as did her opponent who achieved the two vital doubles on D20 and D5 accompanied with two tons for 2-0 and the final in sight.


At the Pint Depot former finalist Sonya Cooper followed Shirley Roberts as an also ran and will have to wait until next term for singles glory.  Someone who has made the latter stages and will be a threat is Leah Chesworth who will be accompanied by Pint Depot Queen Marie Dunne.  Four good competitors for the semis; can I pick a winner, no, it will be down to who can hold their nerve.  Judging by the stats de Lacey will start as slight favourite but beware the other three can play a bit.


Semi finals May 8th at Breakaways.  Finals following week May 15 also at Breakaways.  All are welcome.  Presentation of all awards will be made after the finals on May 15th.  All recipients of awards must attend.


Listen to darts chit chat with Kevin Reardon and Paul Durrant on Exite Radio 89.2 and 93.1FM on Saturday afternoons between 3 and 4 p.m.


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