Two K-DDL teams, as well as a team from the Ladies K-DDL travelled to Wick on Saturday, to take part in the North Atlantic Darts Challenge which, it is hoped will become an annual fixture between the KDDL and the Wick and District Darts League.
It has been a number of years since a team from Orkney played against a Wick side, and after all these years it was good that the match could held once more.
The Orkney contingent from the KDDL included players from Kirkwall, St Ola, Shapinsay, Tankerness, Burray and South Ronaldsay, with players in the Wick teams from around Caithness.
After travelling on the early Pentland Ferries sailing, the players descended on Harpers Bar and Venue in Wick,for a12 Noon start.
As per Wick's rules, the playing order was drawn out of the hat, with no one knowing who they would face until the draw was made.
In the A match, playing for the ‘Subsea 7 North Atlantic Darts Challenge Shield’, the Orcadians started off well, winning three singles on the trot. Roy Foubister beat Rab Edwards 3-1. Young Neil Croy earning his first 'cap' played well and beat Les Macadie 3-0, while Kevin Gray despatched veteran Wick player Malcolm Begg 3-1.
However, Wick were quickly on the comeback. Kevin Mcgregor beating Alan Gray 3-1, Ritchie Byrne beat A team captain Craig Taylor 3-0. Craig's 180, the only one scored by the A team, was no consolation in his game against Ritchie. Mike Bain then went down 3-0 against top Caithness player Nicky Denoon.
With the singles drawn 3-3, Ritchie Thain put Wick in the lead, beating Martin Peace 3-1. However, Aaron Mitchell came back strongly in the last leg of his match to beat Mark Thain 3-2, with 'Mitch' bagging a 114 finish to end his 15 dart leg. The match score was then level at 4-4.
Up next was Brian Moar against Wick's George Smith, with George winning the encounter 3-1. Ivan Leslie then had a very good 3-0 win over Wick A captain Tam Mulraine, which included a 14 dart leg from Ivan.
However, that was to be the last singles the Orkney players would win. Angus Ross beat Dave Kirkpatrick, 3-0 followed by Kevin Donald proving to strong for Iain Wilkie who also took him out 3-0.
So after a closely fought singles, which swung back and forward, the score was 5-7. If the Orkney boys finishing had been a bit sharper, it could have been closer still.
Into the doubles then, with the parings also drawn out of the hat, Wick came out strong, and had the edge over the islanders.
Roy Foubister and Neil Croy narrowly lost out 3-2 to Rab Edwards and Les Macadie. Wick then kept up the momentum. Kevin and Alan Gray were beaten 3-0 by Malcolm Begg and Kevin Mcgregor, with Craig Taylor and Mike Bain beaten by the same scoreline by Ritchie Byrne and Nicky Denoon.
The score was now 10-5 to Wick, with the visitors having a mountain to climb in the match, where the first to 11 wins.
Brian Moar and Ivan Leslie gave a glimmer of hope when they beat George Smith and Tam Mulraine 3-1. Taking the overall score to 10-6.
Wick sensed victory, and brothers Ritchie and Mark Thain stepped up and beat Martin Peace and Aaron Mitchell 3-0. To reach the magic 11 points.
The last doubles was played out, with Angus Ross and Kevin Donald beating Dave Kirkpatrick and Iain Wilkie 3-1, taking the final scoreline to 12-6.
After the averages in the A game were recorded by Wick league secretary Davie Crowden, assisted by Kirkwall's Mike Bain, Kevin Gray was named as Man of The Match with the highest 3 dart average of 26.46. The top two other Orkney players were Ivan Leslie with 25.91, with Brian Moar 22.31.
In the B match, where the ‘Williamson's Butchers Challenge Shield’ was played for the first time, the KDDL side faced a very strong Wick team.
The Orkney side was made up purely by B league KDDL players, while the Wick side consisted of both A & B league players of a very high standard. The B teams started with the singles. Wick showed their class, running out with a 10-2 scoreline in the singles, in what was a fairly one sided affair.
Wick continued to dominate in the doubles, despite a spirited performance and never say die attitude by the B boys.
In then end the scoreline after the doubles was 13-5 to Wick.
Veteran B league KDDL player Archie Yule had the only 180 in the B match for the islanders.
Despite the defeats the two KDDL sides tried their best, with Wick running out winners on the day. If some doubles had gone in for the KDDL side the match would have surely been that bit closer.
We have to remember too that Caithness players have the benefit of taking part in many competitions involving other top class players throughout Scotland. That said, it was said that if the KDDL A side had a full strength team out we could have held our own, no disrespect to any of the players taking part on the day.
This was the first time that the B league players had a representative match outwith Orkney, and despite the scoreline, they all said that they enjoyed the experience.
Eveyone enjoyed the hospitality shown by the organisers in Caithness, especially by Wick organisers Tam Mulraine assisted by Davy Crowden.
Davy also presented KDDL president Craig Taylor with a specially made glass trophy to pass on to long serving KDDL secretary Jim 'Tattie Bogle' Scollie, in recognition of his service to darts in the KDDL, where he has been in office since 1967. Jim was unable to travel to the match.
We hope that it will be possible for Wick to travel to Kirkwall next year and keep the match an annual fixture on the darts calendar, and look forward to taking on our friends from across the water.
After the matches, an open singles competition was held. At the end of play it was Kevin Gray who came out on top, beating Wick's Nicky Denoon 3-2 in the final, and winning £120 first prize.
K-DDL A – 6, W&DDL–12
K-DDL B –5, W&DDL–13
Winner Kevin Gray – 3 Nicky Denoon – 2