REIGNING 5-a-side champions the Celtic Club were both the hosts and the victors this week in the Craigavon District Darts League as they successfully defended their title.
However, they did not have things all their own way as they were pushed in their four matches to a 3-2 scoreline with Adrian Hutchinson, not once or twice but three times being the man claim the wins and ultimately the title.
As usual in the Craigavon League this season the competitions are proving to be ultra competitive as out of the eleven matches played no less than nine of them went to the final leg.
The all important draw threw up some fascinating ties none more so than the Eire Og A and B teams meeting each other in the last 16 with the B team claiming the honours and also the bragging rights for the rest of the season. Clann Eireann came up against the INF A and truly proved their worth when claiming victory after Nathan McCabe finished double top, double top to take out 80 with his last two darts to claim a 3-2 win much to his and his team mates delight.
Celtic A gained a little revenge over league leaders Drumgor with another 3-2 win with Martin Haddock hitting that all important double after Drumgor had fought back from two nil down to level the match. In the final Last 16 match it was the Stables A team who were victorious with a comfortable 3-0 win over the Celtic B team to set up a quarter-final against their own B team.
The first of the quarter finals seen Eire Og B continue their fine form with another impressive win this time 3-1 over the Premier. Clann Eireann who had earlier beaten the INF A team this time found themselves up against the B team of the Forresters and raced into an early 2-0 lead and looked all set for another big win only to find themselves pegged back to two each. Again it was Nathan McCabe last man for Clann Eireann but unfortunately for his team he was unable to repeat his earlier heroics as Paul Magill took the win to send the Forresters into the semi-finals. Celtic A progressed to the last four at the expense of the Trojans as Adrian Hutchinson scored heavily with three ton scores to beat Andy Fairbairn to claim one of their 3-2 wins after wins for Rab Lewis and Tony Rutherford had levelled it for the Trojans. The final match was a nail biting tie with the Stables teams clashing and also going to the deciding leg with the A team finally winning through much to their relief
At the semi-final stage it was a clash of the B teams from Eire Og and the INF. Stevie McConnon put the Forresters one up with victory over Paul Callagahan but Paul McGahan was in fine form as he levelled it with a win over Paddy Magill. Roy White put INF back in front with a win over Micky Dunwoodie but Micky Campbell pushed the tie all the way in beating Paul Magill. It was Hugh Heaney who got his 3rd win of the night and in doing so put the Eire Og boys into the final with a win over Seamy Tallon who missed darts at his double in yet another mail biting game.
The second semi was just as close as Stables Captain Shane Tallon hit a 140 and a 100 in beating Anto Crewe. Tommy McErlene and Gareth Bunting were neck and neck the whole leg and both missed doubles before Tommy finally took his chance first to put Celtic on the score board. Michael Lamb put the Stables back in front when he took advantage over Dee Breen who had miscounted in taking out what would have been an excellent 122 check out but Martin Haddock made it two each with a win over Dee McConville. It was Adrain Hutchinson against Sammy Toman in the final leg with nerves playing a big part as both players wasted numerous chances to claim the win before the Celtic man kept the defence of their title on track with that all important double.
The final was now between Eire Og B team and Celtic A and the trend of the night being tight games this was no different. Dee Breen hit a 100 followed by a 140 to put him in control of his game against Micky Campbell (100) to put the Hosts one up. Tommy McErlene (2x100) then put the Celtic two up with victory over Micky Dunwoodie (100) . It was Hugh Heaney (2x100) who made it 4 wins out of 4 on the night for himself that got Eire Og back into it with a win over Martin Haddock (100). Paul McGahan kept up his impressive form hitting a 125 and 3x100 and narrowly missing double 16 for a 104 check out that levelled the match with a win over Anto Crewe (100). It was the last leg of the night now and big scoring by both players Adrian Hutchinson (100, 81,84) and Paul Callgahan (135,97,85,81) brought both players to double top but it was Adrian Hutchinson who took his chance first to retain the title for Gerard Crewe’s Celtic team and complete what was yet another excellent night of darts for the league.