THE BICC was back in full swing this weekend, with over 2000 players in action across England, Scotland and Wales!
Last years Premier Division Champions Yorkshire began their defence of the title at away to Warwickshire. The Bears pushed the Champions all the way last season, however Yorkshire put in a dominant performance to kick-start their campaign and win 23-13. The scoreline was 20-4 at the end of the Ladies A matches, however Warwickshire's Men's A rough back to win 9-3. Lancashire currently head the table after they took a convincing 24-12 win over returning team Devon, with Glamorgan in a close joint second just above Yorkshire on leg difference in third as they beat Hampshire's 'Blue Army' 23-13. Both Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire won their matches 22-14 over Essex and Cornwall respectively, with Northamptonshire's Men's B taking 10 of the 12 Men's A matches.
Only four matches took place in Division one as Humberside and Cheshire's match has been postponed. Recently demoted West Midlands made a great start in their bid to return to the Premier Division, with a 22-14 win over Cambridgeshire, which sees them placed first after one game. Three teams won by the narrowest 19-17 scoreline as Oxfordshire, London and Staffordshire edged out Sussex, Hertfordshire and London respectively. Notably, Staffordshire's Men's B dealt a devastating 12-0 win over Dorset's Men on the Saturday to see them sit at the top of the Division One Men's B section.
It's Gwent who have taken the initiative this season following their relegation back to Division 2, beating fellow Welsh team Gwynedd 24-12 in their opening match to take top spot at this early stage. Both Kent and Buckinghamshire won their matches 21-15 over Nottinghamshire and Surrey respectively, with the Ladies A from Bucks taking a comprehensive 6-0 win over the 2018/19 Ladies A Divisional winners and securing 4 out of the top 5 divisional averages. Division 2 newcomers Somerset also enjoyed a win, as they beat Berkshire at home 19-17 to sit fifth in the table overall.
Newly promoted Clwyd have continued their impressive form, heading the Division Three table after a 26-10 win over Cumbria, which sees the latter now sat in 10th place. Middlesex, who were also promoted into Division Three last season are in second place over Cleveland in third place. Middlesex took a 21-15 win over Montgomery and Radnor, whilst Cleveland's 20-16 win came at the expense of Norfolk, who are currently in sixth spot overall. County Durham and Wiltshire drew their fist fixture to see them sat in 4th and 5th position on the table. Derbyshire and Merseyside's opening match has been pushed back to January.
The Isle of Wight faced the long journey north to Northumberland, where they were faced with a tough opposition which saw the Islanders defeated 26-10, and Northumberland placed in top spot after the first fixture. Leicestershire have faced a tough couple of seasons, but are have set up their return to Division Three with a 25-11 win over Pembrokeshire to sit in second place. Shropshire are currently in third place, winning 20-16 over Tyne and Wear, just one point ahead of Bedfordshire who beat the West of England 19-17. The second draw of the weekend came as Breconshire tied 18-18 against Gloucestershire, despite Bedfordshire's Ladies A taking a 6-0 win over their opponents.
The Scottish North and South also started this weekend. In true Grampian style, they kicked off their season with an impressive 23-5 win over Highland, securing 8 bonus points in the process to sit comfortably in top spot. Fife are just behind in second place, winning 19-9 over Tay Valley, with Angus in third place, beating Central 18-10 in their opening match. The match between East Stirlingshire and Perthshire saw the latter lose 17-11 and sitting both on the Scottish North table in 4th and 5th respectively.
With only seven teams now competing in the Scottish South, it was Ayrshire who had the bye this weekend. Borders followed in Grampian's footsteps and secured a 23-5 win over their opponents, Clackmannanshire. Greater Glasgow beat local rivals Renfrewshire 18-10 in their match to sit in second place overall, with Lothian claiming third place despite drawing with Lanarkshire, claiming five bonus points over the home teams three.
It's early days in the BICC, with eight fixtures to go anything can change. Full results and more information can be found on the website - visit https://www.bdodarts.com/index.php/match-2