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Kath was a late starter but flourished on the local darts scene and was also a finalist in the Embas

YOU don’t stay in one place for very long if your father is a Naval officer.

Kath Roulston was born in Malta, raised and schooled in Portsmouth, had her first taste of darts as an 18-year-old in Ascot and moved to Plymouth in 1978.

Despite being encouraged by her darts-playing mother in the early years, Kath never really took darts seriously until she first came to Plymouth and was then known as Kath Le-Grice.

Although being a relatively late starter at 27, it did not take Kath long to find her mark.

CHAMPION: Kath Brockie pictured being presented with her trophies by Plymouth Argyle manager Peter Shilton after winning the individual title of the Ladies' Independent League in the season of 1993-94 and on the same finals evening won three other titles as well.

One of her earliest successes came in the season of 1986-1987 when she was now known as Kath Brockie and playing for the St Levan Inn, the team finished champions of the Halls Ladies’ League.

Just two seasons later Kath was still playing in the Halls Ladies’ League but now for the Queens Dock and in the 1990-91 season she went through the campaign scoring the most tons of any player.

This was also the same season that she won through to the final of the Jean Bickerton Cup, only to lose 2-0 to Mary Tidd (Nottingham), but was compensated when she claimed the pairs title in the same evening with Karen Gibson, winning 2-0 against Anne Leaves and Rene Hawkins (Crown & Column).

The following season Kath moved to the Herbert to ply her artistry in the Courage Ladies’ League and they had one of their best seasons when the side won the Challenge Cup and were also winners of the Britvic Cup.

After that success Kath was coerced into joining the Ladies’ Independent League, arguably the highest standard ladies’ league in Plymouth at the time and playing for the Royal Adelaide, the team won the 1992-93 division A title, and were also winners of the Cissie Hillson Cup, the Knockout Cup and lifted the Lorraine Arscott Cup as well.

The following season Royal Adelaide had to settle for runners-up behind champions Mechanics, but they did retain the Lorraine Arscott Champion of Champions Cup in what was arguably one of Kath’s best seasons.

She graduated with honours when winning through to four finals and came away with an array of silverware after being victorious in all of them.

Kath’s first encounter was against Sam Bartlett (Duke of Somerset) in the final of the Marg England Cup which was arguably the most competitive contest of the evening.

Bartlett was impressive in the opening leg and was on a finish after only 15 darts and from this advantage she went one up only for Kath Brockie to level with a single dart average of 20.04.

Both players had chances in the decider, but Kath hit the double first for a 2-1 win.

Brockie’s next challenger was the formidable Evelyn Torbet in the Secretaries’ final but it was all down to doubles and Kath made the most of her opportunities to emerge a winner in two straight legs.

Bidding for a third title, Kath partnered Fiona Bland in the pair’s final against the Hilltop RNCC partnership of Tina Sturgess and Cathy McMichael.

Kath’s and Fiona’s opponents began brilliantly and were on a double after 15 darts but could not take advantage of their superior scoring and it was Bland who stepped up first to win the leg.

This success against the darts gave them a new lease of life and aided by scores of a ton and 140 from Brockie, Bland checked out again for a 2-0 victory.

Stepping up to the oche in pursuit of her fourth title and the prestigious individual crown, Kath made no mistake and claimed the title with a 2-0 defeat of Wyndham’s Fran Doney.

In the same season Kath was also playing in the Autobar Mixed League and helped Woodside to a league and cup double.

In 1993, The Evening Herald sponsored a ladies’ doubles evening which raised funds for CLIC (Cancer and Leukaemia in Children) and Kath and her partner Jill Williams gave a good account of themselves, making it to the final, only to go down to the formidable pairing of Pam Smith and Patsy Fletcher.

Kath ventured into Super League for the first time in 1993 and was an integral part of the Blue Circle side that finished as Premier Division champions of the Devon Super League.

Her achievements didn’t go unnoticed by the Devon County selection committee and Kath, still under the surname of Brockie, made her county debut in January 1994 against West Midlands, before going on to make 33 appearances in total.

One of Kath’s finest moments in a Devon shirt came in 1998 when she and her county colleague Mo Mortimer represented Devon in the Embassy Gold Cup at Trentham Gardens.

Despite a spirted showing they were defeated in the final by Sandra Greatbatch, twice a World Masters’ finalist and her daughter-in-law Barbara Greatbatch, but a sterling performance none-the-less.

Another ladies’ charity night was arranged by Plymouth’s Evening Herald in 1994 for the Burns and Plastic Surgery Unit at Derriford Hospital and against a formidable field, Kath, and her partner Patsy Fletcher, won the event when defeating Trish Penberthy and Heather Escott in the final.

The Royal Adelaide won the division A knockout cup in the 1994-95 campaign of the Ladies Independent League but had to settle for league runners-up before Kath changed teams the following season.

She was now part of a new team that were to represent The Clifton and the side won the Division D title and Knockout Cup, still playing in the Ladies Independent League, and went through the season undefeated.

This success was followed by promotions in the following two years where the divisional title and knockout cup were all won without the team losing and Kath again won the secretaries title when defeating Kath Mawdsley of the First and Last.

At the turn of the new millennium, and now with the surname of Roulston, after marrying Peter in 1997, Kath was playing for Ker St Social Club in the Trophyman Ladies’ Darts League and her success on the oche did not diminish.

DOUBLES WINNERS: Kath (second right) and her partner Patsy Fletcher (second left), who won the Evening Herald ladies' charity pairs event in 1994 for the Burns and Plastic Surgery Unit at Derriford Hospital when they defeated Trish Penberthy (far right) and Heather Escott in the final.

The Devonport side were Challenge Cup winners in the 1999-2000 season and followed it up in the next campaign when they emerged as division B champions.

Kath was also representing Ker St in the Trophyman mixed league and they claimed the division one title in the same season.

Kath was still playing county at this stage of her career and the 2000-2001 season ended with Devon getting promoted as division four champions.

On the local darts scene Kath had moved back to The Clifton to play in the Ladies’ Independent League and although the team did not again challenge for the league title, they did win the Knockout Cup in 2002-03 and defended it in the following campaign.

In 2004-05 Kath moved to the St Levan Inn and in their first season won the Division D Knockout Cup, playing in the Ladies’ Independent League.

The next few seasons were more for social darts than for competitive darts and sadly, like all former champions, her prowess was on the wane.

In her working life, Kath secured several promotions and a lot more responsibility went with the job, so it was in 2010, with a heavy heart, that she made the decision that her days and nights on the oche were numbered.

She played in the city’s leagues when ladies darts was at its height and rich in talent, and Kath held her own against the very best as the record books show.

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