THE race for the premier division title of the Devon County Super League took another twist at the weekend when the two front-runners both lost 5-4.
League leaders Winchester Warriors (Exeter) were defeated 5-4 by Royal Anglers (Bideford) while Maritime Social Club also lost by the narrowest of margins when hosting Exeter Eagles.
The Plymouth side were given a good start by Danny Bull (26.37) who won 4-0, which included a 15-darter before the visitors levelled.
Danny Allen (26.51) then edged Maritime back in front with a 4-3 victory that started with a win in 14 and finished with victory in 15, which was followed by a man of the match performance from John Mann (28.26) (pictured left).
The marksman won 4-3, aided by two legs in 15, one of which he finished with a kill of 117.
The hosts then lost their way when the Eagles took three on the bounce before Paul Palmer (23.70) tied the match at 4-4 with a 4-1 success.
In arguably the best encounter of the evening, Maritime’s Scott Hutchinson (26.30) came from 2-0 down, to lead 3-2 in 16, 22 and a 15 darter which he finished with an outshot of 146, only for Barry Brewer (27.97) to clinch the last two in 14 and 21 to give Exeter their win.
Porters remain in the relegation zone after they went down by the odd game in nine against city rivals Ker St Social Club.
Kelvin Rowe (22.02) opened Ker St’s account with a 4-0 victory before Porters levelled through Mark Shears (24.36) who won 4-1, aided by a leg in 15.
Lewis Dare (28.63) then edged Porters in front for the first time when he emerged a 4-0 winner in 15, 17, 20 and 18.
Paul Goundry (24.21) won 4-3 as Porters moved 3-1 in front before Ker St began their revival.
Marc Cresswell (20.66) won 4-0 which was followed by a 4-3 victory from Scott Lawrey (23.33) before Ker St went 4-3 up after Tony Teal (20.38) won 4-1.
Antony Hayman (25.69) kept Porters’ hopes alive when he won 4-0 in 17, 20, 19 and 22 before the ninth and decisive point was won 4-1 by Dave Algar (26.48) in 17, 16, 20 and 17.
Poison Ivy (Lee Mill) kept their title hopes alive in division one when they overcame London Inn (Okehampton) 6-3, to maintain their three-point advantage over second-placed Cullompton RFC.
Poison Ivy lost the first two encounters but Lee Agar (17.90) began to reduce the deficit when winning 4-2 and Dan Puleston (22.68) won 4-1, clinching victory when finishing an 18-darter with a checkout of 102.
Mike Pearce (23.30) followed with a 4-0 success before man-of-the-match Neil White (29.04) (pictured right), won 4-0 aided by a brace of 180s, taking legs in 19, 13, 20 and 17.
The Okehampton visitors pulled one back but that was the last one they were to win as Tex Pearce (22.28) came from 2-1 down to win 4-2 and Pete Holland (18.94) finished the job when achieving the same winning scoreline.
The Bluebird suffered their second defeat on the bounce and probably their title hopes after they crashed to a 7-2 defeat against Whipton Wasps.
Keith Whitley (17.42) came from 2-0 down to win 4-2 while the only other winner was Rich Coombs (23.54) who triumphed 4-2 which included an opening leg victory in 15.
But this was arguably Bluebird’s worst performance of the season, evident in the fact that eight of the nine players averaged less than 20.00
Although Bluebird still top the table, the Exeter side are only four points behind with two matches in hand.