by Kevin J Stammers
In 1981, I ventured into the Crown in Ingatestone High Street and borrowed the pub darts and had a couple of games with the locals who subsequently asked me whether I would like to join the team for the coming season in the Ingatestone and District Dart League, I accepted the invitation. Within 6 months I became the team secretary, in 1984 I was voted in as Assistant League Secretary and in March 1988 I took over as the Secretary, I’ve have been trying to complete the league’s history ever since.
The league was originally called “The Ingatestone and Fryerning Dart League” and was formed in 1948 by the Publicans. The original members of the league are assumed to be the Public Houses in the two Parishes, those being The Crown, The Bell, The Star, The Anchor, The Spread Eagle, The Woolpack, The Cricketers and The Viper. It is also assumed that over the next season or two the league expanded into neighboring villages such as Mountnessing, Highwood, Blackmore, Stock and Margaretting. The Spread Eagle in Ingatestone High Street were the first League Champions, although the Public House was demolished during the seventies and is now a Hairdressers and a Launderette. The Viper dominated the league for the next 3 seasons and were given the original Winners Shield which can still be viewed at the Pub today. In 1956 the Wheatsheaf at Nine Ashes won the first of their 3 consecutive championships and again were given the Winners shield to keep. In 1958 the league introduced a Silver Cup and must of agreed at the time that if a team should win the league 3 times in succession, they don’t keep it, which was a good thing because The Thatchers Arms (Radley Green) won the trophy in 1958, 1959 and 1960. It is worth noting that when the League Championship Cup replaced the 2nd Shield, the league became “The Ingatestone and District Dart League”. There’s no doubt that the team of the 1960’s was the Prince Albert, Blackmore, who were six times winners and three times runners-up. The Albert were also the first winners of the Knockout (Fargo) Cup in 1963 and were winners a further four times. The popularity of the league was so that in 1963, a second division was introduced. The trophy is missing the whereabouts is a mystery, the runners-up cup exists and is in my possession. The second division lasted only 3 years. The 1970’s saw The Hare & Hounds take over the Albert’s crown in the early seventies, followed by the Leather Bottle (Blackmore) in the mid-seventies. The Red Cow (Shelley), the Royal Oak (Chipping Ongar) and the Wheatsheaf (Writtle) won trophies before the Black Bull (Chelmsford) won the league for 5 years in succession from 1981 to 1986. In the nineties two teams dominate the league, the Victoria (Writtle) and the Ship (Chelmsford). The Rose & Crown (Chelmsford) are the current champions.
Derek Lodge (Prince Albert) has won the Singles knockout Cup more than any other player 4 times. One of the most successful person from the league is David “Sparrow” Jarvis, winning the league an incredible 12 times with 3 teams since the early seventies. It’s sad that there is none of the a public houses in neither Ingatestone nor Fryerning currently playing in the league.
The league celebrated it’s 50th anniversary during the 1998/99 season which climaxed with a Dinner & Dance in March 1999 at Furze Hill.
The league has always been about teams of friends verses friends and has over the years developed into more than just a dart league, there are many social occasions, an annual Dinner & Dance and an annual Weekend Holiday at a Holiday Camp together, and has currently 21 teams during the Winter & 23 teams in the Summer league. As I mentioned earlier there are gaps in the history and I need help to fill in the gaps, anything from 1948 to 1980 would be gratefully received. I need dates, team names or players names, copies of old fixtures or league tables, trophies, newspaper cuttings, and would like to hear from players from those very early years. Contact Kevin: Phone (01277) 228103 or write, 67 Greenshaw, Brentwood, Essex. CM14 4YD or e-mail:
Also see the league web site Click Here for the league’s full History that’s known from 1948 to 2000.
If you know of a darts league that was set up 50 or more years ago, why not e-mail Patrick with details?
© Kevin Stammers 2000