By Liam Moakes 05/07 Updated: 16/07 15:27
AS THE saying goes, 'scoring for show, doubles for dough'!
Never did these words ring truer in the ears of Redditch Standard sports editor Liam Moakes than midway through last Thursday's darts exhibition event at Studley Cricket Club.
Having watched Studley's Andy Smith defeat his first few opponents, it was my turn on the oche to take on the local favourite, ranked 22 in the world.
I took to the stage relatively relaxed, by a combination of some pre-match alcohol and the fact I fully expected to get taken to the cleaners by the Pieman.
In fact, my biggest concern was trying not to look too foolish in front of friend and Bromsgrove Standard sports editor Jamie Arrowsmith, who was watching on as he contemplated how to bring about the downfall of world number ten Terry Jenkins, who he was to face later in the evening.
However, whether it was a case of the big stage bringing the best out of me or pure luck, I somehow threw the best leg of darts in my entire life as I gave Smith something to worry about.
Nerves settled by hitting a treble 20 with my second dart, I walked back with a score of 85 to kick-off this leg of 701.
I'd found the range and had hit scores of 100 twice before a clearly worried Smith hit his first treble 20 in his sixth visit to the board.
Further scores of 92 and another 100 saw me reach a checkout first and - to my absolute disbelief - after throwing 27 darts, I came to the oche needing 59 to win.
Single 19 was hit, leaving tops, but I could only hit 20, leaving me with double ten - usually the only thing on a dartboard I can hit with any regularity - when I returned.
The Pieman had picked his game up and was on a finish on his return, so I knew this was my chance....alas, no score.
Incredibly though Smith was also having double trouble and, after I had also missed darts at double five among three further visits, the big man was finally able to end my dreams of victory with a double two finish.
Defeated but not disgraced, I returned to my seat pleased with my efforts, but rueing my inability to hit that double.
This excellent night then continued with more local players taking on but failing to beat Smith, whilst Jenkins then began to play his opponents.
Eventually it was the turn of Arrowsmith who had The Bull on the run for a good three darts, but that was as good as it got for the journalist as the Ledbury thrower showed no mercy.
At this stage I was glad I was drawn to have faced a misfiring Smith!
A fine buffet prepared by bar manager Gemma Williams and her husband Stuart was then enjoyed and then eventually it was time for the two darts stars and great friends to do battle for the Studley Cricket Club Cup, which was won by Jenkins last year when this event was first organised by Studley CC social secretary Les Smith, who again did an excellent job.
Cheered on by the locals and clearly inspired into form by my efforts, the Pieman recovered from a 5-3 deficit to claim a 6-5 win and bring the cup back to Warwickshire.
With fans able to mingle with the players and chat about their darting lives it was a night to savour.
However, I went away with the knowledge that, despite impressing Smith on the evening, the hardest target to hit is always that final double.
So, the next time I'm cheering Andy on at the World Championships at the Alexandra Palace or at the Winter Gardens in the World Matchplay and he's missing those doubles, I'll try and stop yelling out at the TV in displeasure and remember that I know how he's feeling!
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