Mather magic regains top eight spot

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MURTON’S “big” Neil Mather stormed back into eighth spot in Seaham’s Knack Premier League with two wins – and will look to maintain his qualification slot for the end-of-season grand finals night.

First up for Mather was John Allan, who took the Murton men the distance in a see-saw battle but crucially missed three darts at a double in the deciding 10th leg to snatch a point, with Mather holding his nerve for a 6-4 win which included a maximum in a 17-dart best leg.

Mather’s second game of the night proved to be less of a struggle as he whitewashed Ray Malarkey, moving him ahead of John Nicholson on leg difference.

Alan Smith kept his faint hopes alive with a hard-fought victory over Barry “Denzil” Rutherford which also went the full 10 legs, with Smith hitting a 180 and a best leg of 18 darts, plus two 21-darters.

Rutherford’s night didn’t get any better when John “Squizy” Squire ran out a 6-1 victor, with two 21-darters his best.

It proved to be a busy night for Squire as he faced two other opponents. He gained another point as he drew 5-5 with Neil Richardson, while later, despite an impressive showing, reigning champ Kevin Guy proved too strong with a 6-2 win. Guy had best legs of 17 and 19 darts.

Steve Skinner’s impressive season continued as he also faced Guy, with both players settling for a point in a thrilling 5-5 draw, with two maximums apiece. Skinner having two 20-darters and two legs in 21, including a 102 checkout, while Guy had a 17-darter and a 19-dart leg.

Paul Williams’ dominance continued with yet another whitewash win, this time against Neil Richardson.

The Sunderland man enjoyed two 16-dart legs and an 18-darter, as well as posting a maximum.

Anth Skelton hit two 180s in a comfortable 6-2 success as he put a big dent in Anthony Gale’s top eight aspirations, with 16, 19, 20 and 21-darters his best efforts. Gale replied in 19 and 20 darts.

Spiller Henderson started strongly as he led 2-0 with legs in 15 and 21 darts against second-placed Davey Thompson, but it was the latter who made it seven wins in a row as he reeled off six straight legs, with two 19-darters and two in 20.

Neil Rose was pushed all the way by John Nicholson, who dropped out of the top eight after a 6-4 defeat, with a break of throw in the first leg proving decisive – all the other legs went with the throw. Rose enjoyed best legs of 16, 18 and 21 darts (twice), with Nicholson posting a 19-darter.

Results: Neil Rose 6 John Nicholson 4, Steve Skinner 5 Kevin Guy 5, Spiller Henderson 2 Davey Thompson 6, Paul Williams 6 Neil Richardson 0, Anthony Gale 2 Anth Skelton 6, John Squire 6 Barry Rutherford 1, John Allan 4 Neil Mather 6, Alan Smith 6 Barry Rutherford 4, John Squire 5 Neil Richardson 5, Kevin Guy 6 John Squire 2, Ray Malarkey 0 Neil Mather 6