MOST darts teams have a stand-out player at one time or another, but success comes to the teams that have quality throughout.
Consistency is the name of the game in any sport and one Plymouth darts player who has been consistently good for the teams that he has played for has been Col Maddocks.
He was introduced to the sport by a work colleague in 1976, aged just 17 and played for the Headland Hotel in the Devonport and District League.
A former Bedfordshire county player Tony Pratt moved to Plymouth in 1979 and became a team-mate at the West Hoe venue.
In the season of 1981-82 Pratt played for the No Place in the Plymouth and District Friday League and Col joined him for what was to be the first of three stints at the North Road West hostelry.
LEAGUE WINNERS: The successful Cherry Tree team who won the Courage Men’s League title in the season of 1984-85 going through the campaign with only one defeat.
Around this time, Maddocks was also a valued member of the Cattedown Social Club side that played in the Plymouth and District Social Clubs League before moving to be part of the successful team that played at the Cherry Tree in the Men’s Courage League along with the likes of Dave Bell, John Moreno and Don Orr.
They won the division A title in the 1984-85 season going through the campaign with just one defeat at the hands of The Grenville, finishing two points clear of the Lord Beresford.
The Pennycross team defended that title the following season when in another close finish they had just two points to spare over runners-up Weston Mill who were a very good side in that era, under the captaincy of Brian Brownlow.
In a fitting Johnstone Trophy final of that year, the league champions met Weston Mill, the format being three doubles of 701 and four singles played over one leg of 501.
Cherry Tree trailed 3-2 after Mill’s Mark Ball defeated Dave Bell in 16, and could not afford another slip and Col Maddocks, aided by two tons and 140, forced the final to go the full distance when defeating Neil Docking.
In a nail-biting final leg, Derek Watson clinched the decisive point for Cherry Tree when defeating Malcolm Hill.
In the season of 1986-87 partnered with Bell, Col won the Courage pairs title.
He also made the final of the singles in the same season but had to be content with runners up after he was defeated by Robbie Williams of the Half Moon.
As house champion of the Cherry Tree, Col participated in the News of the World championships of 1986 and despite taking some well-known scalps along the way, failed to get to the South West of England play-offs.
The Cherry Tree were also successful in the Plymouth and District Friday League and under Col’s captaincy they won the 1986-7 title scooping over £700 in prizemoney.
As well as finishing as league champions, they headed the trebles and doubles table.
They also recorded the most maximums throughout the campaign and Maddocks topped the individual table as well as throwing the season’s top game when partnered with Dave Bell and Charlie Fletcher in a 28-dart trebles success
The season of 1987-88 was his last season at Cherry Tree on a Monday and Col moved to the Star of the West where he played in a very good team for one season before the side moved to the Woodside.
He continued to play at the Cherry Tree in the Plymouth & District Friday League, before moving to the First and Last in 1987-88 where they won the title at their first attempt Col finished third in the individual table, behind team-mate Flynn Jones.
In 1988 Maddocks had a brief flirtation with Devon County Super League when, playing for Futurama and the team achieved runners up but due to family commitments and working patterns, decided not to pursue the opportunity to represent Devon in the British Inter County Championships.
One Super League fixture took Futurama to Exeter Eagles, and Col was drawn to play Ken “The Colonel” Saunders.
Now Saunders wasn’t known to Col at all, but at the time he was arguably one of the best players in the county.
In one county match Saunders hit eight perfect darts before wiring double 12 and went on to represent Devon on 79 occasions, winning 52 of his matches.
But on this particular day, Saunders’ form counted for nothing as Maddocks blasted him away in three straight legs.
Woodside had already been crowned Halls league champions in 1988-89 and at the finals and presentation evening which took place at the Exmouth Social Club, they had to defeat the Crown and Column in order to clinch the league and cup double.
In the opening match of the Knockout Cup, Maddocks gave them the perfect start. He took the first leg with an outshot of 126 and followed it up in the second leg with two tons and a top throw of 131 before checking out at the first time of asking on double 10. Woodside went on to win 5-2 and claim the league and cup double.
In the Halls Summer League of that year, Maddocks recorded an average 37.07 when he won a 1001 singles leg in 27 darts, only to be beaten for the season’s top game by Cliff Inglis (Olive Branch) who won in 26.
In 1989 Maddocks won Champion of Champions when defeating Falstaff’s Nick Carter in the final, one of his finest achievements.
Also in that year, six of Plymouth’s top players aimed to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records when they made an attempt on the 12-hour record.
The formidable six were Dave Bell, Brian Harvey, John Goves, Ivor Newman, Flynn Jones and Col Maddocks which took place at the First and Last.
LOADS OF MONEY: Captain Col Maddocks with the winnings before the big shareout after Cherry Tree won the Plymouth and District Friday League. The line-up from left to right is Dave Hiscox, Peter Down, Dave Bell, Col Maddocks, Dave Roberts, Charlie Fletcher and Derek Watson.
They were chasing a total of 543,801 and the players were under no illusions about the job in hand.
Dave Bell, whose initial idea it was to try for the record said: It’s going to be very, very hard, but we have the players to do it and with plenty of vocal support throughout the day, we could achieve our target”.
Unfortunately, the sextet fell short of their goal, the target of 45,320 points per hour was a step too far but the day was not wasted as all the players were sponsored and the proceeds went to the Intensive Care Unit at Derriford Hospital.
In 1990, Maddocks returned to the No Place in the Friday P & D League, where they won the title and Maddocks again won the singles with 24 victories from 26 matches.
In second and third place were his team mates Ivor Newman and Peter Oakes on 23 wins.
He later had a third spell at the No Place with Paul Stabb now the licensee and played alongside two greats of their generation, Shady Lane and John “Taff” Griffiths.
That did not work out for various reasons away from the dartboard but Col settled at The Clifton
The side played in the Plymouth City Super League and his team mates were Charlie Fletcher, Steve Rice, Alan Norris (now of PDC fame), Flynn Jones, and Malcolm Johns.
After Norris moved on, his place was taken by Simon Stevenson and the team remained at The Clifton until George and Gloria Rosevear retired and the side then moved not too far away at The Fawn.
JUST CHAMPION: Col Maddocks receives the Champion of Champions cup from First and Last landlady Margaret Cantwell after winning the title in 1989. Also in the picture is sponsor Les Willard (left) of Tamar Sport and runner-up Nick Carter.
During the time the Rosevear’s were at the Clifton, Col also played in the Men’s Whitbread League on a Tuesday.
In 2012, playing for the Fawn in the Plymouth City Super League, Col Maddocks rolled back the years with a single’s win in 29, the last 571 points being scored in just 14 darts to finish with a three-dart average of 103.55
Summing up his years playing amongst the Plymouth darts leagues, Col Maddocks said: “I have not been good enough to win a lot of individual titles but have been fortunate to be of a good standard where I was accepted into great teams with great players”.
Now into semi-retirement, he enjoys watching his daughter play rugby for Plymstock Albion Oaks and likes to cruise the roads of Devon and beyond on his Harley Davidson.
He no longer plays darts on a regular basis, but when required, to cover for holidays and sickness etc, Col Maddocks is always “Mr Reliable” and can occasionally be found strutting his stuff at the Compton Social Club.