IN 1978 preparations were being finalised for the grand final of the Newsletter darts knockout competition, writes Ben Goddard.
A record number of 182 teams started out and the competition was set to conclude in a finals evening at St Leonards Sports and Social Club.
For the second successive year the eight remaining teams were given betting odds by Ladbrokes, Stafford with two time winners Princess Royal C favourites at 11/8.
There was controversy when one of Stafford’s best anglers, Alan Round, was not selected to compete at the National Angling Championships.
The Wolverhampton-based Whitmore Reans club captain took up an inviation to fish for Birmingham Coleshill but was informed by the National Federation of Anglers that he could only be nominated for one team in a 12 month period. So despite a successful year, Round missed his first National in a decade.
The icy weather again played havoc with the sporting fixtures across the region with all Stafford’s rugby and hockey games called off. Only three of 24 Sunday league games took place with Monks and Crane and Universal B coming out victorious in their matches.
Stafford Rangers did manage to play and emerged winners despite the conditions, taking a 1-0 win against Goole.
The only goal of the game came from Terry Spinner, with a drive from the edge of the box in the opening minute. This extended Rangers’ unbeaten league run to six games and up to fifth in the Northern Premier table.
Back on the darts front, top class Midland’s outfit the Arrow Kings were to face local regulars at the Antelope pub in Stafford. Anyone defeating a member of the Arrows team in a game of 1001 would receive a gallon of bitter.
In basketball, Walton Youth BC sent a message to their West Midlands League rivals with a 115-47 win against Woodrush.
Defence was of secondary importance in the match as John Stewart, Mike Redfern and Pete Haines all got into double points.
Stafford-based international runner Verona Elder was so successful in the month of February 1978, she was selected in the 800m for the European Championships in Milan.
In the corresponding week 35 years ago, Elder saw off German challenge in an indoor event at RAF Cosford to win the 800m in a winning time of two minutes five seconds.
Walton Chasers Nick Lightfoot took first place in the orienteering club’s organised score event at Brocton Coppice.