Carlisle (A) W 7-4

After a postponement against Burnley, the season opened with a fixture away to Carlisle at the Prince William Henry near Waterloo. After last seasons good turn-outs, it was a bit of disappointment to just about scrape together a team of six, but those who turned out managed to get us off to a winning start.

Late arrivals meant the usual tinkering about with the schedule of legs, and we began on the doubles matches. Things started poorly, as we lost the first two matches, but Dev and Chris managed to scrape through and keep us in touch at 1-2. Ex-Captain Vaughan managed to take both finishes in back to back team games, and with our opponents down to four, we were left needing just two of the five remaining singles for victory.

Andy got us within touching distance, before finishes for Neil and Steve took us to a 7-4 triumph.

Team: N. Holland (C); C. Lowe; A. Skeels; D. Robertshaw; S. Sumner; C. Vaughan

Chester (A) L 5-6

A second successive away game saw us travel to the city retreat to take on Chester.

A late call up for Tracy's brother meant we had a full squad, but we got off to a poor start, losing the first team game followed by the first doubles match. At 2-0 down for the second match running, we managed to pull it back to 2-2 with wins for the two Neils, and Steve & Dev.

We slipped to 2-4 with early defeats in the singles, but victories for Dill, followed by Dev, set up the captain to make it 5-4 and take the lead for the first time.

We couldn't finish the job however, and defeat in the final singles and the team leg saw us beaten 6-5.

Team: N. Holland (C); D. Prior; S. Sumner; D. Robertshaw; N. Wright; T. Prior; F. Rhodes; S. Dillon

Blackpool (H) W 6-5

The first darts match of the New Year saw us playing our first home fixture of the season, at home to Blackpool.

We got off to a mixed start, winning the first team game before losing the first two doubles. Landlord Steve finished his doubles match to pull us level at 3-3, and wins in the singles for Andy, Steve and Frank were matched with three defeats to take us down to a beer leg decider.

The Landlord ensured that the match would go our way with a double 12 to seal his third finish of the fixture and give us a winning start to our home games.

Team: N. Holland (C); C. Lowe; A. Skeels; D. Robertshaw; S. Plews; N. Wright; F. Rhodes; S. Dillon

Gillingham (A) W 6-5

We returned to the Prince William Henry, venue of our victory over Carlisle, for our first round cup match against Gillingham.

After struggling to get a team, we finally managed to rustle up the full six, and made a good start, Landlord Steve notching another couple of finishes in the team and doubles games. 2-0 soon became 2-3 as we lost the final two doubles and the first singles match. Up stepped the captain for his singles game. After being comprehensively outplayed in the scoring, my opponent failed to hit a double and I managed to leave an unlikely 160 outshot. Unbelievably the first two darts landed in the treble 20 to leave the double top. However, with the pressure on, I pulled the dart and it slipped into another treble 20 to bust the score. A remarkable 180, which counted as 0 in the records! After that it went to pieces and inevitably we went 4-2 down. Wins for Neil Wright, Steve Sumner and Frank together with one defeat pulled the scores level with just the beer leg left.

Steve Sumner managed to leave 9 on the board, which went all the way round before Steve finished it himself to seal victory.

Team: N. Holland (C); S. Plews; N. Wright; T. Prior; S. Sumner; F. Rhodes

Burnley (A) W 8-3

A rearranged visit to the Sekforde Arms to take on Burnley was next up. The opposition could only muster four players, so we had the upper hand before we even kicked off.

Things got better as Chris took out the team game, followed by victory for Chris & Colin, Neil H & Landlord Steve and Steve S & Neil W in all three of the doubles. Victory for Chris in his singles meant that we had established a 5-0 lead, which would stretch to an unassailable 6-0 with our walkover in the final singles.

After sealing victory, singles victories for Colin and Landlord Steve took us to a fine 8-0 lead, and even defeats in the final three legs could not tarnish a fine win.

Team: N. Holland (C); S. Plews; N. Wright; C. Lowe; S. Sumner; C. Vaughan; D. Robertshaw; T. Prior

Chester (H) W 9-2

We went looking for revenge against the team which had inflicted what turned out to be our only league defeat of the season, Chester. We started well, taking the first team game before we picked up two of the three doubles legs to give us a 3-1 lead heading into the singles.

A strong looking team then finished the job by winning all six, before defeat in the beer leg gave us a fine 9-2 victory.

Team: N. Holland (C); D. Robertshaw; C. Lowe; N. Wright; T. Prior; S. sumner; S. Plews; C. Vaughan; F. Rhodes; K. Leeman

Southampton (A) W 6-5

A week later we were in action again, travelling to the Royal Star to take on Southampton. We got off to a shocking start, losing the first three legs before the doubles pairing of Neil H and Dev managed to get us on the board at 1-3.

We managed to turn things round in the singles, taking five of the six legs, including a 56 finish by Neil W., to give us an unassailable 6-4 lead. Needless to say we lost the beer leg, but still went home with another victory.

Team: N. Holland (C); C. Vaughan; F. Rhodes; N. Wright; T. Prior; S. Plews; D. Robertshaw

Carlisle (H) W 6-5

Our third fixture in 14 days took us back to the Arby to take on Carlisle. Two finishes by Mr vaughan were the only highlights of the first four legs as the match headed into the singles poised at 2-2.

Wins for Andy, Steve P. and Chris were tempered by three defeats, leaving the match all down to the beer leg.

A fine 140 from Colin set us up for Neil W to finish and we took the match 6-5.

Team: N. Holland (C); C. Lowe; A. Skeels; N. Wright; S. Sumner; C. Vaughan; D. Robertshaw; S. Plews

Burnley (H) W 7-4

Our next fixture was home to Burnley where we had a good turnout. Despite tons in the first four legs for Neil W, Chris, Steve P, and Neil H (twice!), we had to come from 2-0 to level at 2-2 after the doubles.

After going 3-2 down, we reeled off four of the next five singles to wrap the match up before the beer leg.

To put the icing on the cake, Chris finished double two for a 7-4 win.

Team: N. Holland (C); N. Wright; T. Prior; S. Dillon; R. Foster; D. Robertshaw; F. Rhodes; C. Vaughan; A. Skeels; S. Plews

Blackpool (A) W 8-3

We were back to the Royal Star for what turned out to be our final fixture of the season, against Blackpool. Two tons from Colin gave us the first team leg, but another in his doubles couldn't prevent defeat to tie things up.

The next doubles leg saw landlord Steve follow up 135 with a 180, and then take out the double for a fine individual performance. We picked up the next leg as well, leaving us only requiring two more for the win as Blackpool only had four players and hence conceded a leg.

Three wins out of the five singles saw to that, and we took the beer leg too, to win 8-3.

Team: N. Holland (C); C. Vaughan; S. Plews; C. Lowe; N. Wright; D. Robertshaw

And that was that. The final match against Southampton was abandoned after a couple of attempts as they couldn't raise a team, so we were awarded the win and finished top of the division with a fine 9-1 record.