Darting around town

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A scandal has rocked the darts world this week, this after revelations that a Far Eastern betting syndicate has been trying to influence the outcome of matches in and around Nether Wyresdale.

The dodgy dealings became public knowledge after a leak to the press identifying Colin Derr, Head of Security at the Claughton upon Brock Board Markers Association as the syndicate’s local contact. Apparently, Mr. Derr has admitted that the egg fried rice he orders each Wednesday from his local takeaway is paid for by the syndicate. In return, he arranges for certain events to take place during local matches.

Starting with players receiving first minute cautions for overstepping the oche, Mr D. soon began to devise more outlandish schemes. Undercover police investigations have turned up several irregularities during the current season, none more so than when a large number of bets were placed on the match between the Rat and Armpit and the Disappointed Heifer.

It would appear that a deluge of money, at odds of 5,000-1, was wagered on a parrot getting brushed in the opening game of the contest. Fortunately for local bookmakers, the parrot owner’s tractor was delayed by a flock of sheep en route to the match, which resulted in Polly only making it to the pub in time for game three.

Apparently, in certain parts of the Far East, darts match fixing is a common occurrence. Spectators will often throw money onto the oche, in an attempt to influence the players. This often results in piles off cash so high that players have to stop proceedings to ask the crowd what outcome they would prefer. The sums involved are enormous - at one match last year, a player had to be rescued and given the kiss of life after falling into a huge pile of coins whilst attempting to retrieve his darts from the board.

Head of the BDO Anti-Corruption Taskforce, Owen Lotts, was expected to make a statement earlier today. However, sources at the organisation’s Lakeside headquarters say that Mr. Lotts is unable to be contacted at this time as his parrot has a sore wing.

Thankfully, there are no signs of corruption upon the oches of the port as we reach week fourteen of the current campaign. Indeed, it would be impossible to find anyone brave enough to bet on the outcome of this Friday’s clash between the top two sides in the league, as they square up to each other down Preston Street.

An opening win by Carl Simey gets table toppers Highbury ‘A’ off to the best of starts, before Robert Dagger and Adam Blyth edge hosts Dockers ‘A’ back in front in a frenetic opening period. Pretty soon however, things are back on an even keel as John Shaw squares the match for the visitors at the midway point.

Into the second half and back ahead edge the home side, courtesy of Tom Duggan, an advantage immediately relinquished as averages leader Scott Hayton bangs in an opening 149 on his way to levelling things once more. Mark Smith makes it 4-3 to the Dockerites in the penultimate leg, this before last man Colin Newton takes centre stage for the hosts in securing a crucial 5-3 victory that sees them leapfrog their opponents into top spot.

Meanwhile, defending champions the Cons are strolling to a comfortable Wez Newton inspired 6-2 victory upon the Blasted Heath, a result that sees them move to within a point of top spot alongside the Highbury boys. For the valiant Taverners, it is Tony Ashburn who uses his long arm of the law in delivering another fine man of the match performance.

Elsewhere, the Olympians are carrying out unspeakable ocheological atrocities upon the latest visitors to the esplanade. The resultant one-sided match card would have raised grave suspicions had their opponents not been the Peripatetic Pensioners. Peter Jackson is back to his very best this week for a rampant Mount outfit, whilst for their eviscerated opponents it is Keith Higham who gets a special award for being the only player to reach 200 on the night for the visitors.

Chris Blyth continues to enjoy a fine run of form for the Dockers ‘B’ on Friday, albeit that he finds himself once again on the losing side as Billy White takes the final leg to secure a 5-3 win for the Mark Pearson inspired Atkin Juggernaut.

Also sliding to a last leg 5-3 defeat this week are the Peking Ducks as they lose out to fellow anatidaens the Fuzzy Ducks on Poulton Road. Daz Shaw secures the all important last leg for a Strawberry Gardens outfit, who have Andy Gratrix taking centre stage, whilst for the frustrated losers it is Rae Goodfellow who woks around the oche to best effect.

Yet another 5-3 result takes place in the match between Highbury ‘B’ and the Queens Hotel. Darryl Butler is suitably delighted with his performance for the defeated home side, whilst for Mick Tallentire; Lady Luck continues to bestow her favours in granting him another top banana accolade for the victorious Beach Road ensemble.

The Bowling Boys finally locate their second win of the campaign with a wafer thin victory over visitors the Cricket Club. Although Terry Beavers is suitably resplendent in recording his seventh man of the match nomination of the campaign, it is Chris Donnelly who has them swooning in the cheap seats with his win in the dying embers of the match. The returning Ian Stewart is best on the night for yet another gaggle of disappointed English cricketers.

Finally this week, the only dubious contest is unfolding in Annie’s Attic as the Collapsibles take on the femme fatales. Wins for Steve Bridge, the Billingtons and Tony Kane appear to have trumped the gallant efforts of Sheila Clarke and Tasha Eaves. But then Tracey Cunningham and Caroline Wood peer through the miasma to secure a brace of late wins to snatch a point from the grasp of the chagrined Comrades.

So a point apiece is a fair result, and I did manage to pick up a pile of cash for correctly betting that one player on the night would take to the oche in a pair of exploding trousers!

The town team secured a 5-5 result away to Bolton on Sunday, the winners in the port’s latest Lancashire Super league fixture being Wez Newton, Adam Blyth, Steve Hadgraft, Stuart Miller and Andy Beaumont.