IT was week 12 in the Craigavon District Darts League sponsored by Bailie Amusements and it was first against second as reigning champions Drumgor travelled to Celtic, the last team to defeat them almost 17 months ago, but this time they made no mistake as Drumgor took a massive step towards defending their league title with a thrilling 5-3 to open up a three point gap at the top.
The all important draw threw up some very well matched games as usual but Drumgor were never behind in this all important game as Paul Donnelly took the first match 2-0 against Martin Haddock to put them one up. Dave McCusker levelled it with a 2-0 win over Eamon Duff but Marty Craig got his fifth win in a row as he had a 2-0 win over Sean Farren to put Drumgor back in front. Stevie Duff made it eight wins out of ten for himself this season as he handed Mick Millar his first league defeat winning 2-0 to make it 3-1 to Drumgor.
Celtic fought back with Dessie Dunbar winning 2-0 over Joe Duff who made a welcome return from Injury and then Dee Breen levelled the match with a 2-0 win over Paul Lennox. With the match level at 3-3 both teams would have been pleased to have such strong players at the end of the match with Celtic’s Anto Crewe and Tommy McErlene both having seven wins this season and Drumgor’s pairing of Shane Lennon and Clive Hanna also having seven and eight wins respectively. But it was the Drumgor players who were to improve their record with firstly Shane Lennon beating Anto Crewe 2-0 and then Clive Hanna getting the eighth 2-0 scoreline of the night with victory over Tommy McErlene to leave the final score Celtic 3 Drumgor 5 and keep them two points ahead of Eire Og in the title race.
Eire Og became the main challengers to Drumgor’s defence of the title with a comfortable 7-1 away win over Clann Eireann.
The night got off to an excellent start with Mark Magee from Clann Eireann checking out the highest finish of the league season so far finishing 149 in the very first leg of the night but unfortunately for him and his team it wasn’t enough as Dermy McStay won the next two legs to record the win and put Eire Og one up. Team captain Noel Dunwoody hit a 17 dart leg on way to a 2-0 win over Mick Hendron and when Mark McLernon hit a 180 to help him get a 2-1 win over Kevin O’Loan the score was now 3-0 to Eire Og. Neil McCluskey got Clann Eireann up and running with a 2-0 win over Micky Campbell but their joy was short lived as Eire Og won the next six legs with Paul McGahan, Chris Cinnamond and Paul Callaghan all winning 2-0 with wins over Ciaran Magee, Nathan McCabe and Joe McCabe respectively.
It was Hugh Heaney who got the last win of the night as he beat Ciaran McMahon 2-1 to move Eire Og up the table into second just two points behind Drumgor with four league games to go.
The Premier and the Stables fought out a 4-4 draw but there was definitely one team happier than the other as the Stables fought back from 4-0 down to get the draw. The Premier seemed in total control as Brian McCavigan beat Hugh Campbell and John Cinnamond beat Chris Lewsley for the early lead. Conor Mallon made it three with victory over Gareth Bunting and when Dee Blayney beat Dee McConville you could have been forgiven if you thought the match was over as The Premier went 4-0 in front. It was Brian Devine who changed things when he got his second win in a row with victory over Pete Doran and when Sammy Toman beat Mo Campbell it was game on again . Shane Tallon reduced the deficit even further when he hit a 180 on way to victory over Dee McCready and it was the returning Neil McConville who got the point with a win over Kevin McNeice to leave the final score 4-4.
Also Well done to Dee Blayney of the Premier who on Sunday was narrowly beating in the last eight of the Belfast Masters qualifiers. The winner of the qualifiers gets the chance to compete against PDC stars Raymond Van Barnevald, Simon Whitlock, Michael van Gerwen and Brendan Dolan in Belfast in April and after a super days darts with all of Northern Ireland’s top players competing Dee done himself and the league proud.
INF against The Trojans was postponed until Wednesday 20th February.