Barnard Castle and District 5s & 3s League








FIVES & THREES Frank Watson 28 Feb 2001

BARNARD CASTLE & DISTRICT FIVES & THREES LEAGUE AS THE season enters the final third, once again as is usually the case at this stage, things are starting to hot up again, as the tension intensifies. Whilst Royal Oak remain odds on favourite to lift the crown, they too are not immune to an attack of the collywobbles. After cruising through by 6-3 in their home leg against reigning champions Middleton WMC, they were brought back to earth with a bump, when the upper dalesmen replied in kind on home ground. Derek Easby and Mark Wallace being the pacesetters with a solid 3-0 victory. However whilst a couple of the chasing pack have reduced the deficit slightly the Royal Oak remain unbowed with a ten point cushion. After recording a workman like 5-4, 6-3 double over Cricketers Arms “A”, Royal Star moved up a couple of places to second place whilst at the same time taking their points tally onto the century mark. A 3-0 victory by Michael Elliot and Pip Lodge enabled Beaconsfield to edge home by 5-4 to steady down DLI Clubs surge up the table. But it was the infantry men who had the last laugh with Bob Henderson and George Chrystal recording a timely full house to leave themselves in third slot with 99 points. Edge Hotel went into their encounter with Old Well in second spot, and looked odds on to stay there, when a 3-0 triumph by Jean Stoddart and Mervyn Teesdale helped them to a 6-3 trouncing. But the Old Well, far from being sunk, retaliated in positive fashion when Howard Davison’s and Arnie Howe’s maximum gave them a 7-2 revenge. This resulted in Edge Hotel dropping a couple of places to fourth on 97 points. Montalbo’s 7-2 victory over White Swan, achieved mainly by courtesy of Annie Turns and Taffy Wheelers 3-0 win lifted them into fifth spot. Although going down by the odd leg in the return, they still held onto the position, along with the Old Well. Cricketers Arms “B”’s hard fought double over Cricket Club keeps them in seventh position. Brian Sparrow and Howard Smith; and Chuck Hughes and Ian Tobbell’s maximums providing the differentials. George & Dragons spirited survival effort gathered momentum, when ravishing Ruby Johnson and Doc. Fosters full house led them to a 6-3 triumph over Glaxo Sports & Social. However, it was an anti climax the following week when the facto- rymen stepped up several gears to vanquish the Dragon to the tune of 7-2. Jeff Newbiggin and John Charlton being the principle Dragon slayers with a decisive 3- 0 result. A moment of ecstasy for beleaguered Red Lion skipper Dynamo Dent, when they hammered another couple of nails into the coffin of “B” division bound Workingmens Club. An excellent 3-0 by Toejoe Douthwaite and R. Kettle well contributing greatly to Red Lions 6-3 double. This leaves the harassed clubmen propping up the table on 71 points. George & Dragon are just three better off, whilst Cricketers Arms "A” hang on to the third relegation slot on 80 points.

ROBERT OLIVER SPORTS “B” DIVISION LONG time leaders Glaxo Sports & Social CIuh*“B” came unstuck to the tune of 7-2 when visiting Three Horse Shoes, with G. Fitzgerald and J. Jennings being main villains of the peace with a 3-0 success. This resulted in Blue Bell losing the top spot which they had occupied for eleven consecutive weeks, but if it did nothing else, it made the deposed leaders snap out of any complacency which may have crept in. They came out of the traps like tigers the following week to storm to an emphatic 7-2 reply, and at the same time regain the leadership, which Blue Bell had fleetingly borrowed. The Bridgegate corner team, having found Cricket Club “B” in an uncompromising mood, were glad to scrape through by the odd leg in both encounters. Captain, Sheila Wylie and Peter Kenny’s 3- 0 effort being to thank for rescuing the home leg. It also helped to keep the pressure on the leaders, as their 100 points total is just one short of the pacesetters. Fearless Freddy Hodgson, has somehow managed to instill some steel into Montalbo “A’”s promotion challenge posed by ever improving Bowes WMC, who would feel a little unlucky to lose out by a single point in both matches. Wheatsheaf’s five game, winning run was brought to a halt by Middleton WMC “B”, when the dalesmen edged the home leg by the odd point. If any complacency had set in, this certainly galvanised the Staindrop team, who, inspired by Dave Clennell and C. Kirby’s 3-0 salvo, swept to an impressive 7-2 revenge. Wheatsheaf are now handily situated in joint fourth place on 97 points. They share the slot with Red Lion Darts, who made heavy weather of edging out, strugglers, Coach & Horses by the odd point at the Den. However, they showed more flair on their travels when an excellent full house by Tricky Dicky Hunter and Sunny Goldsborough were instrumental in acquiring a 7-2 victory. High Force Hotel would be a little disappointed to concede a 5-4 double to Red Well, when a maximum recorded by General Jack Tweddle and sidekick B. Usher turned the trick in the second leg. However, their 96 point tally keeps them well on course for honours. My apologies for referring to the Force landlady as Sheila, I will put this right as soon as I learn how to spell Shauna. The eagerly awaited blood and thunder Mickleton derby between Jolly Jack Robinson’s Blacksmiths Arms, and Mowdy Bill Collinson’s Rose & Crown team lived up to all expectations, and was certainly not found wanting in terms of drama and intrigue. The Blacksmiths drew first blood in the opening encounter at the Smithy, with Horatio Pud Nelson making one of his guest appearances. But star status must go to Tiger Thompson and son John. As their 3-0 victory led the Blackies charge to a 7-2 victory. This left woeful Willie Collinson a full week to lick his wounds, and also to inspire his weary team mates in the quest for revenge. Whether or not he offered up prayers is open to conjecture, but if indeed he did, they were certainly not disregarded. They say, “Comes the hour, comes the man”. But in this case it proved to be the men, the men being in their hour of need, league sponsor Robert Oliver and Ronnie Walker. These two, leading the fight back with a convincing 3-0 salvo to make it honours even over the two legs. This means that the Rose & Crown must wait till next season to level the overall score as Blacksmiths Arms came out on top over both legs last season. Black Horse’s improved form continued when they recorded an excellent double over fellow strugglers Bridge Inn. Alan Gibson and G. Reynolds recording a cool 3- 0 in the home leg, and S. Ideson and K. Thresher emulating the feat the following week. This excellent result allowed Black Horse to draw level with the Bridge Inn, however, Bridge still have a game in hand. Michael Kennedy and Graham Peckett came up with a decisive 3-0 victory in the Three Horse Shoes match against Middleton WMC “B”, which had previously fallen foul of the weather. Bearing this in mind, the outcome of the outstanding match between Three Horse Shoes and Bridge Inn could have a distinct bearing on the promotion race.