DARTS: Railway Arms triumph in League Cup

BERTHA’S Bar in Castlerock was the venue on Friday night for the finals of the League Cup, where Villa, Floyd’s A, Coleraine RBL and Railway Arms would battle it out for the year’s final honour in the double in/out competition.

The draw for the semi-finals saw Coleraine RBL come up against Villa which left Railway Arms to slug it out with Floyd’s A. In the first semi RBL were aided by the fact that Villa were missing several key players, but RBL still knew they couldn’t be taken lightly.

James Walker scored heavy to defeat Phillip Moffitt, Rusty Millar then added to RBL’s lead by starting well on his doubles to defeat Keith Gibson. Gary Watton was up next for RBL and made short work of Derek Kennedy with some big scores and a 20-dart leg. RBL now only needed one more game to go through to their second final of the year and team captain Rodney Kane was up next against Robert McKinlay, after struggling to take the first leg Rodney then found himself way behind in the second where Robert had a couple of darts at a double only to watch Rodney step up and coolly take out an excellent 160 checkout (T20,T20,D20) to send RBL into the final.

In the other semi things were a lot tighter with both teams having a full team of players. Railway Arms took the first game with Chris Platt defeating Andrew Allen in a deciding leg, Alan McBride then put Floyds level defeating Vernon Phillips before Geoff Glass stepped up to put Railway back in front.

Floyd’s then levelled the score again in the next with the experienced Tommy Thompson taking out Kevin Scanlon. Eugene Phair was up next for Railway Arms against Alwyn Hall and it was Eugene who held his nerve in the deciding leg to edge Railway Arms in front once again, but Floyd’s would once again hit back through Adrian Boyd who beat William Hutton.

With the match finely poised at 3-3 the next game would be crucial, Gordon Stirling was up for Floyd’s against Chris Murray and with the game sitting at 1-1 it was Chris who produced the goods to put Railway Arms back in front and needing only one game from the last two to go into their second final of the year and team captain Ali Owens held his nerve to take advantage of several missed doubles from Barney McLaughlin to do just that.

The final would then be contested by both the winners of the Top and Bottom Cups with Railway Arms winners of this year’s Bottom Cup getting an early advantage as RBL were a player short however they soon lost that advantage as Gary Watton took the first game defeating Chris Platt before Barry McLaughlin took out Ali Owens to put RBL 2-1 up.

James Walker stepped up next for RBL and once again showed his class to defeat Eugene Phair and put RBL into a 3-1 lead. Chris Murray was up next for Railway Arms knowing he had to win to keep them in the game and even with some good scoring was took to a deciding leg by Joe McLaughlin but eventually took the game to make it 3-2.

Vernon Phillips took the next defeating Harry Stirling in another game that went to a decider to level the game at 3-3.

The next game saw two county players come up against each other with Rodney Kane of RBL getting off to a flyer in the first leg against Kevin Scanlon, with a 12 dart leg on the cards Rodney then struggled to find a winning double only to watch Kevin come back and take out 124 (T20,S14,Bull). Kevin then went on to win the second leg as Rodney struggled to find the same scoring he had in the first.

With Railway Arms now 4-3 up Rusty Millar went into the next knowing only a win would do and duely did taking out Jamie Owen in a scrappy game where both players were missing doubles, with the score now at 4-4 it would all come down the final game were Railway Arms’s Geoff Glass would come up against RBL’s Pollock McKay.

Pollock throwing well and seemingly unnerved took the 1st leg but Geoff hit back to take the 2nd and take the match into a deciding leg for the cup. It was now that both players seem to struggle with nerves with both players missing numerous chances at doubles to win the game eventually it Geoff who managed to hit the winning double to the delight of the Railway Arms team. An excellent game of darts and a nail-biting finish made this an excellent final and well done to Railway Arms winning their second Cup of the year