DEVON remain in the division one promotion mix after they defeated London by a 10-point margin at Heavitree Sports and Social Club, Exeter, thanks largely to the Men’s A team producing arguably their best performance of the season in the British Inter County Championship.
The Ladies’ B team began proceedings and gave Devon a wonderful platform on which to build when they defeated their London opponents 5-1.
Lisa Hughes (21.78) won the opener 3-0 with a lady-of-the-match performance followed by a 3-1 success for Michelle Andrews (17.77).
Karen Matthews (16.67) and Sarah Brown (17.58) both won after being taken the full five legs while Tracy Ware (18.11) won without loss.
Devon’s four-point advantage was reduced to one after the Men’s B side unluckily lost the first three sets all by the odd leg of seven.
Lewis Dare (23.86) halted the slide with a 4-0 victory, taking the fourth leg in 20, with a two-dart checkout of 100, before John Burton (26.06) came from 2-1 down to win 4-2, taking the next three in 18 with an outshot of 105, 14 and 21.
The visitors won the next two, but Devon made up the 4-2 deficit by winning the next four points.
Lee Hellings (22.67) was a 4-2 winner, aided by a leg in 14 and Antony Moss (21.43) replicated that scoreline, winning the sixth leg in 21, when finishing at the first time of asking from 138.
Daniel Belsten (21.69) came out on top after he was taken the full distance and there was also a 4-3 success for man-of-the-match Dave Matthews (26.68) who came from 3-1 adrift to win the next in 15 with a 146 outshot, followed by legs in 20 and 16.
The visitors took the final point, but Devon finished the first day 11-7 in front.
London’s Ladies’ A side had lost their previous four matches but surprisingly held Devon to a 3-3 draw.
Christine Kinnaird (21.04) and Jodie Hawton (16.74) both won 3-2 while Anna Johnson (19.05) emerged a 3-1 winner.
Mark Shears (26.97) had the task of opening the Men’s A match and he did not disappoint when winning 4-2.
Keelan Kay (23.37), just two days after his 17th birthday, won 4-1 which included a leg in 15, while Mike Pearce (26.54) came from 2-1 down to win 4-2 clinching the sixth leg in 15 with an outshot of 116.
The purple patch continued when Dave Witt (28.24) (pictured) emerged a 4-1 winner in 15, 21, 16 and 18 and Ben Chamberlain (25.85) followed with a 4-2 victory after taking the last leg in 14.
Devon led 19-10 and were guaranteed victory despite seven matches still to play.
London reduced the deficit by winning the next two, but Paul Milford emerged a 4-1 winner in 18, 13 and 17 before taking out a 15-darter with a kill of 116 and his man-of-the-match average of 29.80 was good enough to keep him top of the individual table.
John Mann (27.83) was also a 4-1 winner in 18, 15, 18 and 21, the 15-darter being claimed with an outshot of 104, before another 4-1 success from Glyn Wells (25.95), with his best leg being won in 15.
Thom Humphrey (24.75) won the penultimate point after being taken the full distance and although London won the last point, they were soundly defeated by a 23-13 margin.