Wednesday 20 October 2010

Chester Exiles on the oche

The Chester Exiles darts team have started their league season on Tuesday with a hard-fought match against supporters of Gillingham FC.
The eight-strong Exiles team lost 7 - 4 against their Kent rivals, but the final scoreline was a harsh reflection on the night's performances. On another day, the Exiles could have walked away with a 6-5 victory.
The Exiles darts team play in a London-based league, where every team also follows a football club based away from the capital. Football banter is an important part of the evening and every club is keen to hear about the latest news from Chester - many have found the last few years hard to believe!
Chester are actually in the third of three darts divisions, but have been challenging for promotion for the last two seasons. Last year they finished third after a tremendous run of eight wins in nine matches, but lost out in a nail-biting promotion play-off against Blackpool - who had finished third from bottom in League Two.
In 2007-8, the team, managed by Rick Goby and captained by Steve Musson, also sealed the third spot in League Three.
This season they are aiming to go at least one better and, as well as Gillingham, will be playing home and away fixtures against teams from Southampton, Bolton Wanderers, Burnley and Exeter City. They also have Cup competitions to contend with.
Next up for the Exiles darters is Bolton Wanderers, who will visit Chester's home pub - the City Retreat in Shoe Lane, in the heart of the City of London. Unless there is a fixture change, this match is scheduled for Thursday November 11.
This year also sees the Exiles darts team take on a new identity, with "City" being banished from their name. It was a proud moment when CFC was chalked up on the scoreboard at the start of the evening, after years of being known as CCFC. The Exiles supporters' group has also been renamed, and has a new logo, reflecting Chester's new identity.