Winning streak continues for Bar Baa's

DARTS By Dai Dearden

After a lengthy winter break The Grange Bar Baa’s were well rested and ready to face the second half of the Cardiff and Whitchurch District Darts League (CWDDL) Division 1 season.

When we last heard from the Bar Baa’s, they had endured a difficult November, losing three games on the trot (including a big loss to local rivals The Lansdowne Lobbers) before claiming the last game before the Christmas break. This left them in fifth position in the league, not bad but they looked a long way off the top three.

The first game of the New Year saw the Bar Baa’s travel to St Mellons to take on The Willows Exiles, a team at the bottom of the league but not short on spirit! Veteran Martin Grist started the game off with a less than convincing win and the Bar Baa’s looked all set for a tough night.<

Wins though from Tom Sargent (Sarge), Skipper Dai Dearden, Kristian Evans and Andy Lovell made the score line a little more handsome. Andy Heard played the last singles game and recorded the best average of the night, 62.6 as he also won 2-0.

Dearden/Heard and Grist/Lovell then both won their doubles games before Evans/Sarge succumbed to the Willows in the final game of the night.

Still, an 8-1 win and a great start to the Year for the Bar Baa’s with Grist hitting a 92 checkout and Andy Heard hitting a 112 checkout.

Week 15 saw the Bar Baa’s play host to The Lewis Arms, Pentyrch. This fixture has brought about some classics in the past and this was to be no different.

Dearden led his team out and despite hitting a 180, he lost the first game of the night 2-0. The two Andys - Lovell and Heard - then put the game back in the Bar Baa’s favour with two wins before Mike Houghton recorded the highest average of the night, but still lost 2-0.

A loss and a win for Sarge and Grist respectively and it was all square going into the doubles games. Grist/Dearden were clinical in their game and they won with a 65.7 average. Shortly afterward Heard/Houghton completed the win before Evans/Lovell lost the final pairs game of the night.

A 5-4 win against some strong opponents then and that win meant three on the trot for the Bar Baa’s.

Then the Bar Baa’s took the short journey to Canton to play The Clive Arms Hobos on January 20th. A lot of history here as The Clive was the venue for The Grange’s first ever league game way back in 2017 when they were called the Grange Underdogs. They lost on that night but in the seasons since the Grange darts has come on leaps and bounds and the Hobos would be up against it.

Lovell and Evans opened up the singles games with solid 2-0 wins for both. Grist and Heard made harder work of it (despite a 180 from Grist), both going to a deciding leg but both holding their bottle to take the games 2-1.

Ever consistent Sarge won with an evening’s best average of 57.8 and Houghton bought home the singles portion of the night with a 2-0 win. 6-0 to the Bar Baa’s then and they felt they were on the edge of something special.

More very impressive finishing in the pairs from Houghton/Sarge and Heard/Grist took the score to 8-0 with the pressure on Dearden/Evans to bring home the whitewash.

They looked good for it until the doubles and what followed was a good old- fashioned slug fest! Doubles missed left, right and centre before Dearden finally hit the double 2 to give the Bar Baa’s the 9-0 win.

This result helped them leap-frog The Lansdowne Lobbers into fourth position in the league.

Week 17 had The Bluebell, St Mellons travel to Grangetown and the toughest test of the year so far for the Bar Baa’s as the Bluebell occupied 2nd place in Division 1 and last time the two met the St Mellons side came out 7-2 winners.

Dearden once more took up first game and although he recorded the highest average of the night, he went down 2-0 to a strong player.

Andy Heard is the team's top scorer

What followed was nothing short of incredible. Houghton won an up and down game 2-1 against the Premier League’s top points scorer last season, Grist overcame some double trouble to come back from 1-0 down to win 2-1 with some very heavy scoring and Heard also needed a decider in his slug fest of a game to take the Bar Baa’s to a 3-1 lead.

After three nervy games, Sarge breezed through his game to win 2-0 easily and put the Bar Baa’s within one point of a fantastic win.

They didn’t have to wait long either, Lovell put the Bar Baa’s through another nail biter before finally nestling his dart into double 4 to record a 2-1 win and take the Bar Baa’s to 5-1 up.

But the Bar Baa’s were not finished yet. Dearden/Heard lost a close pairs game before Grist/Evans chalked up another point.

In the night’s final game, the Bar Baa’s saw the glorious return of Chris (Taz) Perkins. He has been off for around five months after a severe bout of Encephalitis. He was very ill for a long time, but we were delighted to welcome him back into the team and very happy to see that he is making a full recovery. Unfortunately, it was not to be the fairy-tale return for him, despite some very heavy scoring from Taz/Sarge, The Bluebell had the last laugh on the night.

Still though, a 6-3 win against a very strong opposition in a game that can only be described as "a good old ding-dong" left the Bar Baa’s cock-a-hoop and a beer or two may have been toasted in celebration.

They must keep their feet on the ground though as more challenges lay ahead. They close January fourth in the league, six points ahead of local rivals The Lobbers in fifth.

An update on our individual prizes for the season:

Highest Out: Andy Heard 112
Individual Points: Andy Heard 950
Most Wins: Andy Heard 13

(Individual Points is a scoring system that in which players are awarded 50 points for a singles win, 20 points for a doubles win and extra points are awarded for 180’s, high checkouts and fewest darts thrown in a leg) These prizes are correct as of the Christmas break and obviously, it is all to play for in the second half of the season!

The fortunes of The Grange pub darts team can also be followed on Twitter @grangedarts

Meet The Grange team....

Dai Dearden - aka "Guvnor"

Mike Hodges - "Northerner"

Andrew Heard - "Angry"

Thomas Sargent - "Sarge"

Andrew Lovell - "Deliver Drew" or *"Double Trouble Lovell" (*nickname to be confirmed)

Kris - (Nickname to be decided)

Martin Grist - "Grampy"

Yo-yo not 'ho ho ho' performances over yultetide

We pick the story up towards the end of November as the Bar Baa’s, now without their former captain Chilvers headed west to Ely and the hospitality of the Bluebirds in the Homeguard pub.

There was some confusion over lifts and it was some time before the entire team met and gathered themselves. Indeed Sarge and Dai had played their singles games before Martin and Mike joined the gang! Sarge put up a valiant fight against a very good player, eventually going down 2-1 before Dai put in a captain’s performance in his first official outing as Bar Baa’s skipper, hitting a 140 and a 92 checkout on his way to beating Dai Lewis 2-0.

Martin was forced to go in cold, without a single throw in practice and suffered the consequences in a 2-0 loss. We feared the same for Mike as his opponent knocked in an 18 darter to go one up. Mike dug in though and multiple 100+ scores and some tidy finishing gave him the 2-1 win. Kristian came up against a very strong player in losing 2-0 and Andy Heard rounded the singles off nicely by also coming back from 1-0 down to take his game 2- 1 and square the game up at 3-3 going into the doubles.

Sarge and Dai started like a train, opening scores of 81, 100, 77, 100 and 140 put them too far ahead and it was advantage Bar Baa’s. Martin’s form had unfortunately not recovered and he and Andy Heard couldn’t muster the winning leg.

And so it was down to Kristian and Andy Lovell in the deciding leg and despite a 140, a 105 and a 100 their efforts were sadly not enough. The Bluebirds hit the double and took the night 5-4, yet another very close game!

On into December then and the penultimate game before the Christmas break was a local Derby against The Lansdowne Lobbers. With home advantage the Bar Baa’s were confident going into the game but the Lobbers had other plans. They were really up for this game and wanted revenge after an early season defeat to the Bar Baa’s.

First up was Martin Grist and three 100+ scores in the first leg saw him take a lead but the Lobbers got behind their player and Martin went down 2-1. Dai next and a game against an old adversary Llyr Gwyndaf. Dai has historically had the best of Llyr but it was not to be this time as Dai barely got a look in and lost his game 2-0.

By the time "Mr Dependable" Andy Heard had also lost 2-1 the Bar Baa’s were 3-0 down and looking a little desperate. As is so often the case, Sarge steadied the boat. The southpaw winning 2-0 to get the Bar Baa’s bleating. The game became very close from here on and Mike lost a tight encounter before Andy Lovell registered his first singles win for the Bar Baa’s to take us to 4-2 going into the doubles.

Andy H and Mike threw beautifuly in the fuirst pairs gameto bring us up to 4-3 but Dai came up against Llyr again as he and Andy Lovell lost their game and to the result beyond the Bar Baa's.

Martin and Sarge cleaned up nicely to ensure yet another 5-4 loss for the Bar Baa’s.

Our last #CWDDL game of the decade! Dun dun derrrr! #Darts #LoveTheDarts @SkySportsDarts #GrassrootsDarts @BDOdarts @PDC_Cymru @PDCEurope @OfficialPDC @Gezzyprice

— Grange Darts (@grangedarts) December 9, 2019
The 9th of December then and the last game before a month long Christmas break. The Bar Baa’s assembled early and set to work practicing as they were desperate for a win against the Gerry Hat-Tricks to take them into Christmas.

Once again, Martin took the first game and this time he got the Bar Baa’s off to a perfect start, a 2-0 win. This continued with Andy Heard who got back to winning ways, also registering a 2-0 win.

Kristian Evans looked a little out of sorts and the Gerry Hat-Tricks got a point back. Their comeback was short lived though as Andy Lovell, Sarge and Dai Dearden all picked up good wins (Dai with a 17 dart leg) to make sure the game was safe at 5-1 going into the doubles.

Dai and Martin won their doubles easily, as did Kristian and Andy H and it could have been 8-1, were it not for a good leg of darts from the Gerry Hat-tricks’ final pair as Mike and Sarge lost the final game of the night. Still, a 7-2 win though will see the Bar Baa’s through the Festive period very nicely.

Match reports from earlier in the season:

As the door closed on captain Jason Chilvers’s Grange career the team and its fans were left in mourning.

His has truly been one of the great Grange careers with many highlights including leading the Underdogs to victory in Division 2 of the CWDDL Summer league of 2018. He can also be attributed with bringing the Bar Baa’s (formerly the Underdogs and Thundercats) into the 21st century with his high-tech scoring set-ups and training routines. His legacy will live long in the Grange and the team will do well to remember his teachings.

As one door closes though, another must inevitably open and with Chilvers leaving, there must be a successor. The man chosen for the job by the powers that be is none other than co-founder of the team Dai Dearden (pictured above).

Dai has played in the Grange team under its various different names and guises since day one. It is fair to say that he has had ups and downs in the team but success has never been too far away.

He was a part of the 2018 Summer League winning team, won the doubles knockout with none other than departing captain Chilvers in 2018 and even has a Turkey Darts title to his name, also in 2018. The team will doubtless need a little lift after losing its captain but with a couple of new recruits this season along with the old heads in the team, the Grange is confident of having a successful darts team for many years to come!

On to the darts then and we go back to 28th October with the Bar Baa’s taking on old enemies the Clive Arms Hobos. This one is as old as Father Time himself as the Hobos were the opponents for the Grange in their first ever league game. Wins from Chilvers, Sarge and Andy H saw the Bar Baa’s go into the doubles all square with every chance of a result but as is so often the case with The Grange it all fell apart after the singles. Two losses meant that Jason and Andy winning in the last game of the night would only be a consolation and the Bar Baa’s had to settle for a 5-4 loss.

The following week saw the team take a trip up to St Mellons to play against the hotly-fancied Bluebell. After suffering relegation from the Premier League last season, the Bluebell will fancy getting back up there as quickly as possible. It was to be a tough night for the Bar Baa’s as debutant Andrew Lovell was beaten in the first game and then big hitters Chilvers, Dearden and Heard all lost very tight games. The trusty Sargent claimed one back for the Bar Baa’s but the revival was short lived as Martin Grist lost his singles game before two further losses in the doubles made it 7-1. Yet again it was down to Chilvers and Heard in the doubles to bring home the consolation point.

On to the 11th November now and a home fixture against the Breakfast club. This is another team who got promoted with the Grange so we have played against them every season to date. They looked a slightly weaker opponent this season though without star player Matt Bester and another strong chucker Tony Hamer to call upon.

The Bar Baa’s came out bleating though as only Grist lost his singles game against their captain Laura O’Donovan, fantastic wins for Chilvers, Dearden, Mike Houghton, Kristian Evans and Sargent. This put the Bar Baa’s in a strong position but yet again the doubles games let them down, they won one of the three games (Chilvers and Houghton) to take the night 6-3, a good win but could have been so much better, need to sort those doubles games out lads!

We lost....5-4....again FFS

— Grange Darts (@grangedarts) December 2, 2019

Onto the latest match now then and the closest this month by a long chalk! Top of the table Wolfpack were the visitors to a depleted Bar Baa’s team. Grist and Evans were away on family duty, Houghton and Sargent were caught up and would be late so that meant that Chilvers, Dearden and the two Andy’s were the only players to greet the Wolfpack when they arrived.

Nonetheless the Bar Baa’s battled bravely, Dearden and Andy H taking the first two singles games before Andy L lost a very close encounter. Chilvers beat the, frankly, wildly overrated Anthony Davies with some fantastic darts and all of a sudden the Bar Baa’s were 3-1 up.

Houghton and Sargent arrived in time to play their singles games, unfortunately they came up against two very strong players and it was all square once more going into the doubles. Mike and Sarge came up against a barrage of 140s (three thrown against them in a single leg!) and went down fighting, Dearden and Heard played a resolute and determined game against Ade Offer and Paul Bater in which they had plenty of chances to win it, alas it was Offer who hit the telling double 1 to take the game and the night.

And so it was a swansong, not quite of the glorious variety for Chilvers but one which we all enjoyed as he and Andy L gave a lesson in doubles play as they grabbed a consolation point for the Grange, 5-4 again.

After the game, hands were shook, pints were drunk and fags were smoked as we relived some memories from Jason’s tenure as captain. All good things, they say must come to an end and the Grange will miss Chilvers but they will march on regardless and continue to fight in Division 1 of the CWDDL. Chilvers may have fallen but he would expect nothing less from his band of warriors.

The Grange darts team aims high after beating rivals The Lansdowne

By Tom Sargent

The Grange darts team were formed in 2017 and have just started their third season in the Cardiff and Whitchurch Darts league.

The pub team are currently playing in Divsion 1, the second level of a three-tier league.

They got the 2019/20 season underway at the Canton Wolfpack in a tough match up where they lost 8-1 to a strong team.

In week two they faced The Bluebell who were formed largely of players who had been playing in the Premier Division last time out. Here, they lost again but improved the scoreline.

At the end of September they finally got off the mark in a cracking game of darts at The Lansdowne pub in Canton. With three 180s on the night and a 100 and 106 finish both teams showed some real quality. Andy Williams struck a 106 out in his singles match whilst Martin Grist also took out a 100 finish too.

We hope to bring you more monthly updates from your local darts team thoroughout the year. Any interested players can come to matches (meet at The Grange pub) around 7.30pm on Monday nights or on Sunday afternoons around 5pm when there is usually a practice game.