City duo both undefeated as England win British crown
PLYMOUTH darts duo Maria O’Brien and Keelan Kay did themselves and the city proud when they represented their country in the BDO British Internationals, which was held at the Glenrothes Recreation and Social Club in Fife over the weekend.
This was the 40th anniversary of the three-nation tournament between England, Wales and hosts Scotland and England came out top in three of the four categories.
England Boys opened their account on the first day of competition and defeated their Welsh opponents 3-1.
Brad Phillips (22.80) (first left) came from a leg down to defeat Ethan Haymes 3-1, securing the fourth leg in 17 before their new captain, Keelan Kay (23.12) won 3-0 when defeating the opposing skipper and his Glamorgan Youth team-mate Taylor Smoldon.
Fourteen-year-old Bristol marksman Mitchell McCarthy (far right) had a tough baptism on his England debut and went down 3-0 to an in-form Connor Hopkins (27.83) who took the third leg in 13.
England had their own talisman in 13-year-old Leighton Bennett (second right) and the World Youth Champion did not disappoint when emerging a 3-0 winner.
He took the opening leg in 15, aided by a maximum and another 180 in the second helped him to take that leg in 11.
He wrapped up a comprehensive victory when taking the third in 16 for a sensational 35.79 average which not surprisingly set a new British Youth International record.
England Girls began proceedings on the second day, drawing 1-1 with Scotland, a result which was disappointingly cost them the British title.
Beau Greaves (28.36) emerged a 3-0 winner taking the second leg with a checkout of 101 but Shannon Reeves lost 3-1 to Chloe O’Brien.
England Ladies’ first opponents were Wales and they swept them aside by a 6-0 margin.
Plymouth’s Maria O’Brien (23.48) put the first point on the board when she defeated Katie Bellerby 3-0 after opening up with a 16-darter before Fallon Sherrock (25.93) impressed in her match against Ann-Marie Potts.
The scoreline was evenly poised at 2-2 before Sherrock took the decisive fifth leg in 11 darts when scoring 140-140-121- before finishing from 100 in two darts.
Trina Gulliver (23.06) was making her 70th England appearance and was 2-0 down against Chris Savvery before making a great recovery to level and then taking the winning leg in 19.
Former England Youth player Casey Gallagher (22.77) was making her senior debut and justified her selection when, after a nervous start, took the next two legs in 13 and 19.
Deta Hedman (24.20) maintained England’s charge with a 3-1 victory over Natalie Evans which included an opening leg in 15, before Lorraine Winstanley (23.95) finished off the rout when emerging a 3-0 winner over Nikki Goldsmith.
A win over Scotland would give England Boys the British championship and they started brightly when Keelan Kay (24.64) again won in three straight legs before another 3-0 victory from Leighton Bennett (29.43).
The Lincolnshire marksman won the opening leg when finishing an 18-darter with a kill of 100 before a top score of 180 enabled him to go 2-0 up in 17 before a 16-dart leg completed a comprehensive victory.
Mitchell McCarthy (18.51) emerged a 3-1 winner over John Gallazzi before Scotland got their only point through Nathan Girvan (24.10) who edged out Brad Phillips (25.15).
Phillips though gave a very good account of himself in taking the 2019 World Youth champion runner-up to 2-2 before the Scotsman clinched the deciding leg in 13.
England Girls put in a good showing when defeating Wales 2-0 and Beau Greaves earned the plaudits when, in defeating Jasmin Dean 3-0, she achieved a 30.67 average, the first time that the 30+ barrier had been broken at international level in girls matches.
Shannon Reeves went on to complete the 2-0 victory when emerging a 3-1 winner over Tamzin Parr but the girls title went to Scotland on legs countback.
England’s men were playing for the first time when they opened the third day’s play against Wales who had won drawn their match against Scotland 6-6.
Dennis Harbour (26.41) opened England’s account with a 4-2 victory but they could only win one of the next four when Wez Newton (25.40) prevailed by the odd leg in seven.
England then went further behind at 5-2 before Scott Mitchell (30.80) pulled one back before Devon’s Paul Milford (pictured right) (29.38) stepped up to the oche to make his England debut.
And the Exmouth marksman didn’t disappoint when he came from a leg down to win 4-1 in 15, 19, 15 and 18, securing the fourth leg with a kill of 110.
Former world champion Martin Adams (31.55) was up next and he showed that he has lost none of his prowess when he produced arguably the best performance of the match.
He took the opening leg in 15, only for his opponent Mark Blandford (31.40) to level in 17 before edging in front when finishing a 15-dart leg with a checkout of 116.
Aided by a maximum score, the Welshman moved 3-1 ahead with a win in 16 and only one leg away from victory.
Wolfie reduced the deficit with a 15-darter before his second maximum enabled him to level in 14.
In the seventh and deciding leg, Blandford left himself 38 after 12 darts but never got another throw as Adams clinched the leg in 15 when checking out at the first time of asking from 116.
Wales won the penultimate set before England forced the draw when Lancashire’s Martin Atkins (26.88) won 4-3.
England ladies had one eye on the championship title when they lined up against Scotland and Trina Gulliver (far right) (28.70) set the mood when she emerged a 3-1 winner which included a leg in 14.
The hosts levelled through Emily Davidson (22.32) when she edged out Lorraine Winstanley (first left) 3-2 before Maria O’Brien (26.84) again won in three straight legs.
She took the first two in 20 and 18 and narrowly missed a checkout of 160 for what would have been a win in 15, but she put the game to bed on her next visit when taking the leg in 18.
England took the next three through Fallon Sherrock (second right) (20.88), Deta Hedman (third right) (23.48) and Casey Gallagher (second left) (22.43) to win 5-1 and claim the British ladies’ title with just one set lost from the 12 played.
Both England and Scotland men’s team knew that victory in the final discipline would give them the British title after both had drawn their previous matches.
Scotland won the opener only for Devon’s Paul Milford (29.47) to show that the England selectors made the correct choice when he emerged a 4-0 winner once again with wins in 17, 18, 16 and 17, aided by two maximums.
Scotland then edged themselves in front again through Ian Jolly (29.07) before Martin Atkins (27.08) made it 2-2 with a 4-0 victory.
The next two were also shared, with England’s Daniel Day (24.31) winning 4-2, before their captain Scott Mitchell stepped up and produced the top average of the weekend.
The Dorset farmer won 4-0 in 16, 13, 11 and 14 and had a faultless checkout ratio of 100%.
Scotland won the eighth set before Martin Adams (27.83) and Nigel Heydon (29.91) put England 6-4 up.
Ross Montgomery (30.36) made sure it was going to be nail-biting finale when he defeated Mick Haynes 4-0 before Wez Newton (25.93) won England the match and the British title.