Lancaster see off spirited York in Roses darts

The Roses ladies’ darts contest saw the clashing of two hugely enthusiastic teams as York lost 7-2

UNIVERSITY OF YORK 2-7 LANCASTER UNIVERSITY

Images: Petroc Taylor

The ladies’ darts contest of the Roses saw the clashing of two hugely enthusiastic teams, and a spirited competition that saw York lose 7-2, after many thrillingly close matches in which victory came down to who could land that elusive final double first.

Anna McGivern was up first – announced, as all the competitors were, with great panache and as a gladiator by the passionate and dramatic commentator – but was ultimately overpowered by Lancaster’s competitor. Descopite consistent throwing, McGivern’s opponent overcame a shaky start to secure the first leg with an enormous throw of 98, and then streaked away in the second with a first-throw score of 81, and left her York counterpart with too much work to do at 113-16, before checking out of both legs with a double 4.

Julie Panayi was able to put up more of a fight against Lancaster’s Megan Sharples, and drew their contest out into three games – requiring a tense decider. The two began neck and neck, before Panayi brought out two scores of over 100, to achieve an easy lead of 76 to 201. However, the game slowed with a series of no scores from Panayi, allowing Sharples to catch up, and the hall fell silent as the scores drew closer, until – suddenly – Panayi made her double 2 throw, and the leg was hers.

Sharples was quick to retaliate, however – and swiftly pulled away in the second leg, disregarding seven no scores in a row towards the end to seal the necessary double two, and bring on a third, deciding leg. The third leg mirrored the first, with both competitors swiftly reaching the lower
numbers, and the no scores racking up – the scoreboards revealing continuous zeroes in the ‘score’ column. It was Sharples that clinched it, though – landing the double one to check out, and the victory that had so eluded Panayi. Lancaster leading the darts 2-0.

Kat ‘Kit Kat’ Atherton secured York’s only win in the women’s darts – winning two legs against Lancaster’s ‘Little Miss Snort’, in an emphatic fashion that belied her quiet presence on stage. With several scores of over 100 in the first leg, she remained patent and constant enough to not be unnerved by several extremely close misses, and saw out the leg; a satisfying ‘thud’ gave her the required double one, and the first step towards victory. In the second leg, Lancaster’s risky technique of aiming only for the highest scores backfired, and the more consistent Kat was able to swiftly close down to 40, and then perfectly land on the double twenty: game and match.

Unfortunately, Abbie Brazell was faced with a similarly frustrating loss, as repeated no scores towards the business end of both of her legs saw Lancaster’s ‘Little Miss Tickles’ secure a double 1 and double 16 in a very high-pressure match, and Ellie Burch also struggled against ‘Little Miss Keen’, whose fantastic accuracy in closing out each leg gave her a deceptive 2-0 win over Burch, who had led at points throughout their conflict, and capitalised on her opponent’s occasional sub-10 shots to put herself in a strong position, upon which she failed to capitalise.

With Lancaster up 4-1, York’s captain Amanda Barnes put herself forward to attempt to stave off a loss for the white roses, and confidently tackled ‘Little Miss Grumpy’ in a first leg that saw very inconsistent scores from both players. Barnes suffered three weak scores in a row: 11, 17 and 16,
but a series of no scores by her opponent enabled her to get back into the game. Unfortunately, after a long stalemate at 3-2, the Lancastrian managed the required double 1 – placing her team just one leg away from victory. Barnes fell behind at the start of this potentially final leg, but then drew back, and was able to evade what had seemed the inevitable lid in York’s coffin with a fantastic double five, to bring the match to a decider.

This was neck and neck, with an atmosphere far less jovial than had previously been seen, and heightened by the two swiftly reaching 5-5, at which point a marathon-length series of no scores left the game, and the hopes of both teams, pinned upon each individual shot. Finally, the red rose triumphed with a double one – sealing what had been an infuriatingly close and drawn-out encounter, but ultimately granting the womens’ darts’ title to the team that had shown the most consistency in securing doubles on the night, in what had proved to be an extremely tense and exciting encounter.

Speaking after the match, an upbeat Barnes said: “I think we played really well. Their girls really couldn’t hit their doubles either, so it was very close and gives us something to work on – bring on next year!”

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