Darlaston’s dashers blown to smithereens by Chiefs top duo, despite winter woolly conditions

Match report by Neil Wheatley.

Starting off in near sub-zero temperature in the hut in the park, due to the home team’s late arrival, Chiefs quickly warmed to their task.

With his team mates not due to arrive until well after 8.00 pm, Steve Smith was forced to open against both Sam and Neil. Sam had lost to Smith in the season’s second match and it took him a while and the loss of the first game 11-13, to get going. However, by then he had found his rhythm and 6, 9 and 5 scores thereafter saw him gain revenge. Neil continued where he left off last week and had little trouble securing his 3-0 win.

Chief’s debutant, Luke Taylor, greeted Dave Whittingslow’s late arrival with relish, narrowly losing his first game 9-11 before winning the next 11-3. Unfortunately, with Whittingslow coming to terms with the conditions, Luke was forced to concede the next two.

Smithereens’ No 3, Martin Rollason finally arrived to play a very well contested set against Sam, who had to pull out all the stops to secure his 3-1 win, before Neil continued his fine form with a 3-0 drubbing of Whittingslow.

Luke’s second set followed a similar pattern to his first – a 12-14 first game, followed by two which highlighted his lack of match practice, but Sam quickly restored Chief’s lead and registered a hat trick with a 3-1 defeat of Whittingslow, matched by Neil’s somewhat closer 3-1 victory over Rollason to secure the 3rd point.

The less said about Luke’s style clash defeat by Steve Smith the better, but an intriguing doubles completed the match. Sam and Neil scrambled about for the first 3 games against the Smith/Rollason combo, losing the third 17-15 to go 2-1 down, before Neil spotted Smith’s weakness against slow top spin – a tactic that was rewarded with two 11-3 games to round off a satisfying and convivial, if rather chilly evening.