With the silly season done and dusted for another year, the countdown until we finally get to play darts again began.
A few changes in the off season added to the suspense and we welcome Pyalong Buccaneers to the competition, as well as the Renegades shifting their home base to the Grand Central Hotel in Yea, in a move that brings yet another local town in to the association, after Pyalong joined the comp last season.
But as excited as we were to get back into it, we were all given a reminder of what’s truly important as we farewelled a great man in Peter Lynch.
Peter was a true legend of the league, as a founder of the club and a life member, he was a massive part of the association and for many of us he will always hold a place in our minds and hearts.
With all our teams observing a minute’s silence in Pete’s memory before the start of the games on Monday, the season kicked off with the POW Kings taking on The Lions at the Prince of Wales Hotel.
The Lions proved too strong on the night, winning the match 8-3. Rick Wylie and Ray Maloney got their season off to a flying start for the Lions, with each nailing their first 180s of 2019.
The highlights for the Kings included four tons and a 140 for Terran Crispin; Jeff Rhue hammered in two tons and a peg of 56; Shane Rhue hit an impressive high score of 156; and Kings’ captain Jarrod Duggin smashed in two tons, 115 and 125.
Gary Power was back to his best for the Lions after a disappointing final series last season, he nailed five tons as well as a high score of 160. Adam Lynch provided good support, throwing three tons and 140; Ray Maloney scored his maximum, 125, then capped it off with a high peg of 85; and Rick Wylie finished his night strongly after nailing his 180 as well as three tons and a high peg of 77, all in the final set of the night.
With the Pyalong Tigers being promoted to division one after winning the second division premiership last season, they were handed a baptism of fire from our stats officer after being scheduled to line up against the division one reigning premiers, the R.C.C. 26ers, on their home deck.
The night started well for the visitors, winning the opening match of the night, despite the 26ers’ captain Steve Ash nailing his first-ever competition 180, but the home team flexed their muscle and powered away to an 8-3 victory, welcoming the Tigers to the big time.
The 26ers’ Steve Ash was in fine form for the opener; after hitting his maximum in the quads game he followed it up with seven tons and 140.
He was well supported by Andrew Meiselbach who hammered in eight tons, 121, 125 and three 140s as well as the match high peg of 80; Rob Welsh was the only other 26er to register a triple figure score, he closed the night with three tons, 102 and 118.
Dan Sporle led the way for the Tigers, spearing in two tons and a 105; with grand final hero Mitch Wittig scoring a ton and 133; Justin Brady nailed 107; and father and son duo, Jack and Craig Stevens snuck in a single ton each.
The final game of division one had the two runners-up from last season’s grand finals go head to head as the R.C.C. Titans hosted the Golf Club Aces at the Royals Cricket Club.
The Aces were still smarting from the defeat last season, and came with the intention of delivering a warning to the rest of the competition, and it was heard loud and clear on Monday night, as they welcomed the Titans into division one with an 11-0 demolition.
The Aces’ Dan Raynor was on top of his game, throwing five tons, 140, plus the round high peg of 107.
Frank Roberts was the next best after slamming in three tons, two 140 and 137; Steve Raynor proved his worth after throwing two tons and 120 in the only set he played for the night; while Emily Wills threw three tons and Dave Ring chipped in with two.
For the home team, Ayden Ballantyne found plenty of the triples, slipping in three tons and two 140s; Mitch McGuinness scored two tons and Robert Leggo opened his account for the season with a ton and 121 to round out the division one highlights.
The opening match of division two saw the Bottom Pub Pirates host the Yea Renegades at the Broadford Hotel, with the Pirates being relegated to division two after finishing last season in the bottom two and the Yea team being a relative unknown, both teams went in on even money to take home the chocolates.
But it was the Pirates who took home the points with a 9-2 victory as the ’Gades struggled to find the double, but they found plenty of triples as their captain Chrystal Turnbull nailed a ton as well as her first-ever 180.
Scott Oakley was in good touch and finished the night with a ton, 120 and 121; and Roger McCallum chipped in with a single ton.
For the home team Jamie Dow-Rowan hammered in 130; Dan Kilroy chipped in with a single ton; Drew Grantham scored a ton and 101; Steve Kilroy threw a ton and 120; and Andrew Harrison had the high peg of the night, with a two-dart finish of 59.
The second match-up saw the new team on the scene, the Pyalong Buccaneers, going toe to toe with the Top Guns at the Pyalong Recreation Reserve.
With the mystery surrounding the newly formed Buccaneers no one was sure how the match would unfold, but it was easily the match of the round, going down the final match-up of the night to decide the outcome.
The ’Guns got off to a good start, shooting out to a 2-0 lead before the home team won back-to-back games to square it up and it went game for game from that point until the Buccaneers’ captain Mark Ruddick delivered his team the victory, 6-5.
Mark led his team well, finishing the night with two tons and 125; Mick Doyle chipped in with a ton of his own and Jayde Pearson was in the zone, slipping in two tons and high pegs of 60 and 96.
The Top Guns had an even spread of contributors with their captain Tammy Kilroy snagging a ton; Greg Holcombe chucked 109; youngster Seth Kilroy chimed in with 121; and Alan ‘Shooter’ Sharp fired in 101 to go with his team’s high peg of 57.
The final game of the round had a new look POW Rebels travelling up the road to the Royal Hotel to take on the Royal Rascals; with the Rebels doing some recruiting in the off season their spirits were up as they took it up to the Rascals.
The Rascals got off to a handy lead before the Rebels slowly pegged them back to 4-3, but the more experienced Rascals dug deep and put the foot down to power to a 7-4 win in a great first outing for last season’s preliminary finalist.
John Crockett was prolific for the Rascals, scoring a ton and 145 and he was well backed up by debutant Belinda Reid who showed she knows her way around a dart board after slipping in a ton and 103.
Brendan Rogers hit the highest peg for the game with 58 check out. For the Rebels, Marg Francis was the only one to throw a triple figure score, she finished with 105 and 126 to close out the highlights for round one of the 2019 Summer Competition.
With four maximums thrown already it’s looking like it could be a bumper season.
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