Darts: Ragless’ rivals are feeling Benevolent in the cup

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THERE was an excellent turnout for this year’s Bognor Friday Night League Benevolent Cup knockout. Fifty players made their way to the Bognor British Legion to compete.

With a few 180s having been scored in preliminary matches, some players were on form straight away. Others missed out on large out shots, but many had a good chance of taking the knockout victory. 

The first two quarter-finals saw Chichester’s Hayley Gatford take on Richard Ragless from the Wheatsheaf and Bognor Legion player Simon Edwards face another Chichester player Chris Gatford.

Ragless saw off Hayley Gatford but Edwards didn’t have what it took to beat Chris Gatford. The last two quarter-finals saw the Friary’s George Claridge take on Gary Blackwood from the Claremont Cobras and POW Z player Dave Owens face BRSA’s Steve Aizlewood.

Claridge just didn’t have the doubles in him to beat Blackwood. After his 12-dart leg in the previous round, Owens had too much for Aizlewood.

The semi-finals set Ragless versus Gatford and Blackwood versus Owens. After beating last year’s Benevolent knockout winner Cliff Prior in earlier rounds, Gatford couldn’t get past the hunger of Ragless. Blackwood was hungry to add to his two knockout wins this season and defeated Owens.

Although the final was not the game, the players were well-matched. Ragless took the first leg, Blackwood the second.

It went to the last leg and Ragless led, but missed doubles gave Blackwood a chance. With 128 left, Blackwood hit two treble 18s leaving double ten... but the last dart found the six.

Ragless needed double two and got it with his first dart to become this year’s Benevolent knockout champion.

The Friday summer league will commence on Friday, May 11.

COUNTY SCENE

Sussex 15 Norfolk 21

Sussex hopes of promotion to division two in the Rileys Inter County League disappeared at the Rileys Club in Norwich.

They lost three of the four sections of the match against leaders and championship favourites Norfolk.

With one match remaining, second-placed Wiltshire need just 13 points from their final match against relegation-threatened Gloucestershire to ensure promotion.

There were seven changes to the squad who had drawn with Gloucestershire, with Laura Macintosh and Yvette Boniface returning to the ladies’ B team and four late replacements in the men’s B side - Dan Bradford, Dave Williams, Paul Robinson and Matt Walton. Mark Davis joined the men’s A line-up.

The ladies B team lost their unbeaten record, going down 5-1, Jill Campbell Miles the only winner.

The men’s B team gained their fifth win in eight matches, an 8-4 victory.

On Sunday the Sussex ladies’ A team were soon 2-0 down. Karen Winter (Littlehampton) kept the visitors’ hopes up with a 3-0 win, but defeats in the next two meant a win for Norfolk. Winter shared the woman-of-the-match award with Kelly Ryan.

The men’s A match saw the home side take a 4-2 lead before Gary Blackwood (Littlehampton) helped Sussex hit back - only for Norfolk to turn on the power for an 8-4 win.

The result left Sussex in third place but 26 points adrift of Wiltshire. Sussex hit 177 tons to the home side’s 189 with 11 maximums to Norfolk’s seven.