IT was always going to be a tough ask and, so it proved when Devon were defeated 22-14 by reigning champions and current premier division leaders Yorkshire.
To give Devon credit, they were still holding their own after the first three disciplines of this British Inter Counties Championship encounter, before Yorkshire’s very strong men’s A side won 9-3 with all but two of them hitting averages above 25.0.
Devon Ladies’ B aside came from two down to win 4-2 and Michelle Andrews (17.41) began the revival when she won 3-1, taking the fourth and decisive leg with a checkout of 108.
There were 3-0 victories for both Jodie Hawton (15.18) and Cat Callard (21.47) before Kelly Gabriel (24.24) also won in straight legs after opening with an 18-darter which she closed out with a kill of 149.
OUTSTANDING: Neil White was the outstanding player for Devon in their defeat by Yorkshire when he won 4-3 in 15, 14, 16 and 17 for a 30.23 average.
Yorkshire wiped out Devon’s advantage when taking the opening two sets of the Men’s B fixture, but the hosts were back in front after Liam Goyne (26.79) obliged with a 4-1 victory and then re-gained their two-point lead with another 4-1 success from Martin Horn (25.23).
The visitors bounced back yet again and took the next three before an outstanding showing from Neil White (30.23) earned him a 4-3 victory in 15, 14, 16 and 17.
Devon could win only once more from the last four sets when Anthony Thorne (26.20) came out on the right side after having to go the full seven legs.
Yorkshire finished the first day with a 10-8 advantage and the difference remained the same after Devon Ladies’ A came from behind to snatch a share of the spoils.
Merryl Dennis (20.52) won 3-1 and was the only home winner from the first four sets before Maria O’Brien (25.91) won 3-0, claiming the top ladies’ average from all premier division matches.
Hayley Brant (19.14) anchored the team and won 3-1 to gain a well-deserved draw.
Still only two points separated the sides with Yorkshire leading 13-11 before the onslaught gave the reigning champions their overall victory.
The three Devon players to come out of the encounter with credit were Thom Humphrey (23.61), Mark Shears (25.69) and Paul Milford (27.31) who won 4-2, 4-0 and 4-1 respectively.
Devon are currently five points above the relegation zone and still looking for their first win and all eyes will be on their next fixture away to Cheshire over the weekend of November 25/26 and better fortunes would not go amiss.