The stereotypical image of a darts player was blown away on Thursday night last as Rachael Clinton stepped to the oche to make her league debut for the Punters Sharks team in the Tuborg Dundalk and District Darts League. Rachael, who is the partner of long time darts player Shane McArdle, obviously took heed of the old adage “if you can’t beat them join them”. Now, Rachael can say “not only did she join them but she is beating them”. Rachael is not the only lady who has thrown darts in the league but she made sure she left an impression in the minds of the Oriel Active team as she battled back and took a cool finish of 60 (20, D20) to win the game.
Her victory over Stephen Smith gave the Sharks a great boost after Gary Stewart won the first game for the Active team. Gary is a former county player and he is coming back to his best. The scoring of a maximum is becoming more and more regular in the league and when Chris Murden hit one in his game against Patrick Taaffe the noise level in the venue lifted. The last game of the night was Shane McArdle against Patrick Dunning and Shane was looking to make sure his team earned a point but he also wanted to make sure he wasn’t on the end of any banter after his girlfriend won. Shane took the victory and the Sharks returned home with a very happy couple on the night.
When asked how she felt after the game, Rachael said: “It was nice to get my first win in my first game and it was nice to see Shane win too and get a valuable draw for the team. It keeps us in the running for the league. We have a great team spirit which is very important.” Premier Division
The Premier Division had a full house in the Stags Head in Linenhall Street as the three Premier Division teams were all playing in the home venue. The Avenue Eagles completed the line up in what proved to be a great night of darts. Premier Division leaders The Stags played their stable mates Stags Black and it was a ding dong battle with Andy Mackin leading the way by taking the first game against Ollie Thompson. Tommy Loughman returned for The Stags and his 16 dart leg against Mick Murtagh was enough to secure his team at least a draw.
Kenneth Rogan was last man for the Stags Black and he followed his brother Alan’s man of the match performance by beating Sean McMurray.
This deserved draw by the Stags Black has given the chasing pack a chance to catch up with the league leaders and they took full advantage. The Avenue Eagles were paying full attention to the unfolding drama in the opposite corner of the venue as they played the Stags Red.
With Graham Unwin hitting the treble 20 well they soon took the first game against Mark Murtagh who answered every high score. The next game between Pat Nulty and Brendan Casey showed that consistency is essential in this game as Nulty hit a 14 dart leg with a 51 finish but still lost the match. A strong push in the next two legs saw John Donnelly and Owen Caffrey win against Silvio Mallocca and Jim McKevitt.
Jim is another player who has recently returned to action in the Tuborg DDDL and will prove to be a good signing for the Red team.
Christy Murtagh will be glad of the new signing but he is making sure he won’t be dropped as he put in a great game and took the scalp of Daniel Dunn to add to list of victories this year.
The game finished with a 4-2 win for the Eagles that leaves them a point behind the leaders. Division One The First Division remains to be a very tight and every game is showing to be a hard fought affair.
The Kehoe’s team definitely showed some determination and bounced back after their poor result against the Stags Green last week.
The unfortunate team that felt the wrath was the Punters Dragons who had new signing Mark Campbell to thank for their only win on the night.
In fairness to the Tigers, three out of the five games they lost went to the last leg and the result could easily have been a different scoreline. Division Two
The Second Division has seen Declan O’Shaughnessy and his players do more miles than marathon runners as they travel in and out from Gyles Quay to compete in the league.
They had the luxury of a home game this week as the Stags White came to visit and they made sure home advantage played a big part.
The game of the night in this tie was between Kevin Rogan and Chris McMahon. Both players were playing well but it came down to the standard of finishing on the night with Kevin hitting the double at the right time in both legs. The league’s standard is improving every week as players are benefiting from regular match practice and with all divisions being so close it is obvious that players are spending time at the practice board. This week sees the start of the Divisional Cup competitions and as it is the last round of games before the Christmas break all teams will be looking to enter the festive break on a happy note.