THE Hucknall-based Nottinghamshire county darts team — nicknamed the ‘Green Army’ — are celebrating promotion to the First Division of the British Inter-Counties Championship.
In a tense final round of fixtures last weekend, Notts won their match, played at the Rolls-Royce Leisure Club off Watnall Road, while their closest rivals, Lincolnshire suffered a surprise defeat against Somerset.
And that meant they were not only going up, alongside Staffordshire, but were also crowned champions.
Notts played host to Middlesex, who were fighting to stay out of the division’s relegation zone, and they got the ball rolling with a 4-2 triumph for the ladies’ B team, whose star player was Nicola McNamara with a 3-1 win and an average of 21.11.
Next up were the men’s B team, who were held to a 6-6 draw, leaving Notts 10-8 up at the end of the opening day. Hucknall players Mark Wilson and Tom Allies were in the side but the man-of-the-match award went to Neil Ward, who won 3-0 and registered an average of 28.90.
The Sunday began with Julie Wilson leading the ladies’ B team to a fine 4-2 victory, spearheaded by a player-of-the-match performance from Kirsty Handford, who won 3-2 with an average of 20.64. Other players in Wilson’s side were Lesley Allick, Nicola McNamara, Helen Harvey, Sara Faulkner and Kelly Stevens.
With Notts leading 14-10, it was time for the final 12 matches of a long season as the men’s A team stepped up to the oche.
They grinded their way to an 8-4 success, led by man-of-the-match Paul Harvey, who won 3-1 with an average of 29.54, and it sealed an overall score of 22-14. Other members of the side were Neil Birkin, Mick Pitchford, Pete McConville, Brian Kirk, Derek Shipley, Jay Foreman, Neil Ward, Dave McGarry, Andy Kerr, Andy McCracken and Tim Broadhurst.
As well as winning their championship overall, Notts have topped the men’s A division. They finished third in the women’s A standings and fifth in the men’s and ladies’ B divisions.
As the celebrations began, ‘Green Army’ officials thanked all their players and supporters for their efforts during the course of a memorable season. They reserved particular praise for Hucknall darts fans who have attended their matches at Rolls.
Next season they will be facing the likes of Hampshire, Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Gwent, Dorset, County Durham, West Midlands, Staffordshire and Derbyshire in what promises to be a thrilling First Division. Who knows? Notts could even be making a challenge for promotion to the elite Premier Division!