Tony takes the title

TONY Eccles won the Ian Whillis Memorial Trophy at Bedlington Station WMC after a final win over John Watson.

With a top class line-up inevitably there were early casualties as Arthur and Gordon Dobey, Dave Prins, Ian Gleeson, Andy Mabon, John Stevenson, Mark Stephenson and Matty Willis were all beaten.

Eccles, Watson, Keith Wright and Alan Davie did the damage, with Wright having an epic battle against Borthwick to gain a semi-final spot against Eccles and Alan Davie coming back from what seemed a lost cause against Gary Robson to set up a semi-final against Watson.

Eccles went to the oche in the first semi with scores of 180, 100, 105 and 108 before faltering on his double but still took the first leg in 17-darts.

A 104 checkout gave him a 2-0 lead before two tons and a 140 extended his lead further.

Even though Wright played exceptionally well with only two scores under 80 in the first three legs, he had no answer to Eccles as he took the fourth to reach the final.

The second semi between Watson and Davie got off to a nervous start with Watson opening the scoring in a 19-dart leg.

He went further ahead before Davie hit back in style with three 140 scores in a 14-dart game and then levelled the tie in a 17-dart leg.

They then shared the next two before Watson took the decider with a bull’s-eye checkout.

In the final, Eccles attacked from the start and he raced into a 4-0 lead with a series of powerful legs.

As well as Watson had played he just could not find an answer to a powerful display from Eccles, who claimed the title of Ian Whillis Memorial Trophy and also the first prize of £600 with a dazzling display in the last leg with scores of 180, 91, 100, 124 before checking out double eight in a 13-dart championship winning game.

The none qualifiers competition, which accompanies the grand final, had a 16-strong entry which would see Tony Wood and Jamie Martin compete for this title and a chunk of the £130 prize fund.

Wood made his way to the final with wins over Glen Scott, Mark Wilson and Micky Luke while Martin had to battle his way past Mark McNally, Lee Williams and Jarred Wilson to take his place.

Wood was to toe the oche with scores of 135, 80 and 100 taking a 1-0 lead with a 19-dart leg before securing a 2-0 lead in a tense second leg.

Martin fought back with good scores of 60, 100, 100, 60 and 140 checking out double 16 in a 16-darter before Wood finally claimed glory with 93 and 140 scores clocking out 126, 19, treble 19 and bull’s-eye to become the none qualifiers champion.

The Milton Anderson Memorial Trophy for ladies grand finals also took place on the night with the best of the region’s women darts players chasing the £775 prize fund on offer, but most of all the coveted title of the Milton Anderson Memorial champion.

Claire Stainsby and Julie Thompson went on to secure their places in the final.

Stainsby defeatde Pat Davison and Liz Kelly before taking the spoils against Debbie Waugh in the semi-final.

Thompson made the best of a first round bye as Helen Dobson was unavailable because of holiday commitments, then she found good form to beat Chris Caldow before fighting off a spirited effort from Donna Rydz in a 3-2 victory.

The nerves and tension were to show early on in the final as both girls knowing from county experience how good each other are.

Stainsby finally showed the killer instinct to take a 23- dart winning leg.

The nerves were now gone and scores of 85, 85, 180, 82, 37 and double 16 in a 16-dart leg gave her a 2-0 lead.

Two scores of 140 from Thompson still could not tame the Cleveland girl as Stainsby powered in 140, 140, 100, 59 and checked out 62 in a winning 15-dart leg to claim the £250 first prize and the champions title.