Geoff Matthews claimed the Division One title as the Ballymena, Harryville & District Darts League held its annual individual competitions.
A truly high standard of darts was played by all throughout the night, with nearly 100 players taking part across the three competitions, held in the Coach Bar.
Board 1 witnessed some titanic match-ups; the pick of the early games saw David McFall (Drifters) defeated by multiple winner and current champion John Elder (Drifters). The Board was eventually won by Darnell McCrory (Drifters) who overcame his team mate John Elder.
Board 2; judged by many to be the toughest board; saw some early upsets with exits for Leonard McKeegan (Snr) and Geoff Wylie. Almost every match went the distance in a tense board, with Gabe Kerr (Greenhills) eventually defeating Davy Martin (The Diamond) in the final leg, by hitting 6 perfect darts (180, 180).
Board 3 probably witnessed the most surprising result of the night but Shane Hillis (BT/PO) overcame the challenge of Ashley Rainey, Denis Gault (both The Diamond) and Jarlath McGarry (Greenhills) to deservedly and surprisingly secure his place in the semi-finals. Board 4 was an equally challenging board with some big names making early exits, before Geoff Matthews (Drifters) defeated Paddy Coyles (Greenhills) to make his way to the last 4.
The first semi-final was an epic contest, which went all the way to the deciding leg. Darnell McCrory and Gabe Kerr traded high scores and equally high finishes throughout the 7 legs; before a nail-biting finale with both players left on 52. Gabe had the first chance missing 2 darts at double top, before Darnell followed and coolly hit “tops” with his last dart. The second semi-final was an equally tight contest with Geoffrey Matthews defeating an impressive Shane Hillis 4-2.
The final was another outstanding match, with Darnell in his first League Individual final appearance at 21 years of age against not only his team mate but family member Geoff Matthews; who was competing in his 7th final. Geoff led 3-1 before Darnell fought back and dug deep to level the match 3-3 and force a deciding leg. Darnell had the first opportunity but couldn’t find double 8 when it mattered, leaving Geoff to coolly check out 82 to finally claim his first Ballymena Individual title.
Willy Bones (Wanderers) saw off Bobby Carson in the semi-final before beating another Michelin player, Clifford Marcus, by the same margin in the final.
The ladies event, as always played in great spirit, was won by Sandra Gilmore, who defeated Roberta McFall.