CORNWALL lost the battle but won the war and despite defeat by cross-Tamar rivals Devon, in the final fixture of their British Inter County Championship campaign, they had four points in hand which enabled them to be crowned Division One champions.
They had a superb start from their Ladies B side and raced into a 4-0 lead against a team who had only lost once throughout the campaign.
Tyrian Jesse (16.82) opened their account with a 3-1 success followed by a 3-2 victory from Sandra Allen (17.24).
Teresa Brookshaw (20.12), earned herself a lady-of-the-match award when winning 3-1 before Courtney Hancock (17.96) emerged a 3-1 winner, clinching the decisive fourth leg with a kill of 104.
Devon won the last two, but Cornwall’s four-point advantage was lost straight away at the start of the Men’s B encounter when it took a fifth set victory, and man-of-the-match performance from Fred Goldsmith (25.83), to halt the rot when winning 4-2.
From the remaining seven sets, the hosts could disappointingly only win two more through Dave Phillips (23.54) and Dave Copplestone (24.13) who both had to go the full distance.
Overnight Devon led 11-7, but there was everything still to play for.
Sue Shepherd (21.07) won 3-2 at the start of the Ladies A encounter and her performance was not bettered by team mates Nikki Furse (18.84) and Jacqui Champion (18.58), who won 3-1 and 3-2 respectively, as the two sides battled for a draw.
Cornwall A went into battle trailing 14-10 but that deficit was soon made up when they clinched the first four sets.
Despite leading 3-0, Neil Meneer (26.29) had to withstand an admirable effort from his opponent Mark Shears who made it 3-3 in 15, 17 and 16 only for Meneer to claim the point with a win in 18.
Gareth Griffiths (27.08) won in four straight legs taking the last with a kill of 109, followed by a 4-3 success from Dennis Bryant (23.91), aided by a checkout of 102 and a top game which was claimed in 13.
Man-of-the-match Mike Beard (27.18) (pictured) kept the Cornish scoreboard ticking over with a 4-1 win, which was helped by a 15-dart leg which he finished with an outshot of 110.
But despite pulling it back to 14-14, Cornwall lost their momentum and four consecutive victories from Devon put them just one win away from victory.
Simon Knowles (24.89) restored some Cornish pride with a 4-2 success followed by a 4-3 win from Matt Knowles (23.74) who came from 2-0 down and took out an 18-darter with a checkout of 160.
With just two sets remaining, Cornwall lost the penultimate encounter and the match before Kevin Bray (26.80) emerged a 4-2 winner.
But Cornwall had enough points in hand and are now promoted to the Premier Division as Division One champions by a four-point margin over their rivals Devon who also claimed the remaining promotion spot.
This was a very good season for the Duchy squad who had both Gareth Griffiths (35.22) and Neil Meneer (34.87) in the top 10 of the Men’s A averages.
Nikki Furse (30.39) topped the ladies A averages with Teresa Brookshaw (27.70) making the top 10.
The Men’s B rankings was topped by Cornwall’s Martin Smith (30.90) while making the top 10 of the Ladies’ B table was Becky Curnow (22.86) and Emma Dow (21.84).