They showed encouraging signs of progress by claiming a draw away to County League table-toppers Black Country.
Indeed, it’s a testament to how well the Salopian darters played that there was disappointment that they didn’t emerge victorious from their weekend in Tipton.
The key to Salopians’ success was the winning start they made in all four of the men’s and women’s matches, with Tammy Walmsley (13.30 on-dart average), Allison Gallacher (14.05), Sacha Rothwell (22.38)and Rob Paine (22.26) winning their respective opening matches with a combined total of just two legs being conceded.
From that platform, Salopian flourished despite a 4-2reverse in the women’s B encounter. Julie Griffiths (15.95) secured the lady of the match ahead of Walmsley, while both Cheryl Owen (12.56) and Cally Jones (12.98) tasted defeat in last leg deciders having had darts to win.
The men’s B side secured an impressive 6-6 draw. Four successive wins midway through proved the catalyst and featured first Salopian wins for Steve O’Callaghan (19.63), Dan James (24.86) and Kacey Jones (23.23) while Andy Gilbert (23.86) completed the quartet of victories with an impressive 3-0 success.
Paul Rowley was the other winner with an average of 25.05 as the Salopian side trailed 10-8 after day one.
The hosts’ overall lead was soon wiped out after the visiting ladies A side took the first three matches without conceding a leg.
Evonne Taylor (15.18) and Steph Clarke (19.78) backing up Gallacher’s opening match success.
It took a brilliant performance from Chez Allcock (22.43) to give the Black Country there first point on Sunday which was doubled after the unfortunate Lisa Wills lost for the second successive game in the deciding leg, having had darts to win.
Sarah Roberts (19.07) took the final match 3-1 to ensure that Salopian ran out 4-2 winners, which left the overall match all square at 12 each.
After Robert Paine had put the Salopians ahead, arguably the game of the day saw the Black Country level up through Reece Colley (32.85) who defeated John Roberts (29.19) in a match that saw 18 darts or less thrown in each leg.
Salopians retook the lead through Scott Dockerty (24.44) only for Black Country to level up once more through Trevor Brennon (26.03) before the pattern was repeated once more as Jon Mansell (27.26) stared again for Salopian and Maiden (31.31) replied for Black Country.
For the fourth time in the match, Salopian forged ahead as Daniel Astbury (28.63) won which was followed by wins for James Carter (23.14) and Ash Hilditch (22.74) as the visitors opened up a three-point lead with three games to play.
Joe Higgins (25.53) went all the way to a deciding leg before being denied by Dan Nicholls (25.98) before Black Country took the final two games, conceding just one leg and recording 23 + averages to salvage an 18-18 draw overall.
But Salopian should take confidence from this clash after answering a number of questions while putting their opponents under pressure forcing them to chase the game, a first for them this season.