Immense Hilliam comeback clinches epic darts win

UNIVERSITY OF YORK 5-4 LANCASTER UNIVERSITY

Images: Agatha Torrance

Kris Hilliam rallied from the precipice of defeat to clinch an emphatic 5-4 win for York in the Roses 2013 darts fixture on Saturday night.

Amid scenes of ecstasy, York clinched four points to cap an incredible day of sport for the Black and Gold.

The match was tipped to go to the wire, and so it did, with Lancaster being the team to buckle under the pressure of the unforgiving crowd, which was large dominated by beer swigging Yorkshire-men.

Kieran O’Dwyre was the first to contest his match, stepping up to make his first appearance at Roses in the darts. His opponent, Josh Littleman proved a tough nut to crack and going into the final leg with the scores level in that match, it looked as if the momentum was with Littleman. However, he lost his nerve and lost a match that he should have won, O’Dwyre snatching his first Roses win from nowhere.

York’s Richard Allen was next to play, facing Mike Tyrer of the Red Rose. Allen himself was pegged back, but he also showed true mettle to secure a fantastic win to put York in a commanding position at 2-0 overall.

However, Lancaster responded by demolishing York’s Will Adam who was off form, clearly distracted. This was followed by a disappointing loss for Harry Smith which drew Lancaster level at 2-2.

Lee McManus stepped up next for York against Bill Ingham. Ingham posed a real threat as Lancaster won the first leg convincingly and had built up a commanding lead in the second. But McManus raced back into the match, just sneaking a tense second leg after a series of no scores from both players. McManus then sealed a close fought final leg to give York a 3-2 lead.

Next up for York was club president Nick Hall, who was greeted with huge cheers as he stepped up, to take on James Duffy of the Red Rose. After taking the first set with consummate ease, Hall then struggled to live with Duffy, who upped his game to win the second and third legs. Hall had heartbreakingly lost, drawing the scores level again.

Lee Wilkinson played in York’s next match and produced a performance of heroic proportions to crush his Lancaster opponent, who was a friend from his home town, and give York the lead at 4-3.

York only needed a win now to settle the tie with two matches left to play and Lancaster desperately hanging in. Chris West narrowly lost the penultimate match, however; setting the tie up for a mouth-watering finish.

The final tie was between Hilliam and Lancaster’s Sam Logan. It could not have been closer, as Logan won the first leg before Hilliam scraped through the second leg to bring up a decider in the decider. This could not have been tenser, and as both players stepped up the crowd bellowed a mixture of support and abuse at both players.

Logan got off to a quick start and continued his fine form only to get stuck on the 5, as Hilliam reeled back 145 points to seal a win in the most heart-stopping manner. As York sealed the win, the supporters erupted.

This was another fabulous win at the end of a fabulous day for the Black and Gold.

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