ANOTHER disappointing performance from Devon in the British Inter County Championships has seen them sink to the bottom of the premier division table, six points adrift of relegation safety.
This fixture, against fellow strugglers Cambridgeshire, was needed to be won to move up the table over their opponents and in all fairness, on reflection, this was a fixture that should have been won.
The Devon Ladies’ B side gave the squad a good start despite losing the first and sixth points.
In between, Michelle Andrews (20.04), Jodie Hawton (16.43), Anna Johnson (18.15), and Tracy Ware (15.50) all won 3-1.
The Men’s B side built on that 4-2 lead when Ben Chamberlain (27.53) put in a good performance and came from 2-0 down to win 4-2, aided by legs in 18 and 12 which he finished with outshots of 106 and 121 respectively.
The visitors pulled one back, only for Scott Lawrey (25.84) to restore Devon’s three-point advantage when he won after being pushed the full distance.
The fourth set was won by Cambridgeshire but a 4-1 victory from Mark Hatherley (22.05) and a 4-3 success for Andy Aspinall (24.67) put Devon in a commanding position at 8-4.
Disappointingly, only one more set was claimed by the hosts from the next six when Liam Goyne (24.04) prevailed 4-2 and the two sides finished day one all square at 9-9.
It didn’t get any better the following day when Maria O’Brien (19.42) was the only winner from the Ladies’ A encounter by a 3-1 margin and the four-point advantage, that Devon previously held, had now swung in favour of Cambridgeshire.
Devon were given fresh hope at the start of the Men’s A match when Scott Hutchinson (24.58) won 4-2 and Mike Pearce (21.97) prevailed 4-3 and despite losing the third, Martin Horn restored a winning momentum (25.65) with a 4-1 success.
But another collapse, which saw the visitors win the next five on the bounce, now denied Devon of any chance of victory.
They did however, force a 6-6 draw in the Men’s A match when taking the last three points with good performances.
Dave Matthews (24.74) won in four straight legs followed by Matt Dickinson (25.05) who also won without loss, aided by a 15-dart leg which he finished with a kill of 127.
The final point was won when Glyn Wells (28.06) (pictured), produced Devon’s best performance and emerged a 4-1 winner, clinching the decisive fifth leg in 12 darts.
Devon’s next match will be played over the weekend of February 10/11 when they will travel to Gainsborough.
There they will face a Lincolnshire side who share the other relegation spot with Devon and with both counties on 79 points, a Devon victory is vital to help alleviate relegation fears.