Darts league saved after successors to stalwart secretary found

BULLSEYE! -- Les Berridge celebrates the saving of the league as he hands over charge of the Hucknall arrows to Dave Binch (left) and Tony Earnshaw (right) -- DISPIC NHUD11-3466-1.

BULLSEYE! -- Les Berridge celebrates the saving of the league as he hands over charge of the Hucknall arrows to Dave Binch (left) and Tony Earnshaw (right) -- DISPIC NHUD11-3466-1.

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A LONG-running darts league in Hucknall has been saved from the axe — after a trio stepped in to fill the void left by the retirement of the stalwart secretary.

The Dispatch reported in November that Les Berridge was stepping down from the helm of the Hucknall Men’s Darts League after he had suffered a stroke.

The departure of Berridge, who has been involved for 45 years, threatened the very existence of the league and sparked fears that its proud 63-year history would come to an end.

But the arrows fraternity in the town can breathe a sigh of relief.

For enthusiasts Tony Earnshaw, Dave Binch and Kevin Tomlinson have committed to taking on key roles to enable the league to continue. It will now launch its new season in early January.

Earnshaw will become the new treasurer, Binch will take on the role of secretary in place of Berridge and Tomlinson has signed up to continue as chairman of the league.

In honour of his dedicated service to darts, Berridge, who will celebrate his 76th birthday on Christmas Eve, has become honorary president.

“I am just glad that someone has volunteered to take it on,” said father-of-two Berridge, of Hartington Avenue, Hucknall.

“There was a real risk that the league could have been scrapped and that would have been very sad.

“I am delighted that Tony, Dave and Kevin have come forward. Hopefully they can secure the league’s future and grow it further.

“As president, I will still be connected and I will be called in if there are any disputes or controversies that need a ruling.”

The Hucknall Men’s Darts League started life in 1948. In the early 1980s it featured 34 teams playing in two divisions.

But in recent years, it has deteriorated in popularity, despite a reputation for top-quality darts.

The first matches of the new season will take to the oche after Christmas, although just six teams have signed up to compete so far.

Earnshaw, Binch and Tomlinson are all well-known in their own rights as players.

Earnshaw and Binch are members of the Plough Arrows team who finished runners-up in the league last season to champions Rolls-Royce.