Darting around Town with Roger Bleasdale

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How often throughout the annals of military history have major battles been decided by the judicious use of terrain by the victorious army? Who can ever forget the manner in which the Lancastrian forces routed their Yorkist opponents at the Battle of Bury in 1459?

It was after many years of unproductive skirmishes in the Wars of the Roses that Major General Plantagenet Bleasdale decided one rainy afternoon to position his forces upon a hilltop overlooking the town, as the massed ranks of the Barnsley Flat Cap Brigade advanced menacingly in his direction.

Aware that the Yorkshire troops would be bare headed, as no self respecting Barnsley boy would ever risk catching a head cold from a soggy cap, Plantagenet was perfectly positioned to launch a deadly fusillade of black puddings and parched peas upon the unprotected heads of the defenceless troops below.

Many years earlier Heinza, leader of the 57th Roman Legion, also successfully employed foodstuffs in routing the Carthaginian army from a cliff top overlooking the ancient city of Corinth. Not only did a deadly barrage of garlic cloves, minced beef and pasta win a crushing victory for Heinza 57; it also became the recipe for spaghetti bolognaise in the family tinned food business.

Thus, on Friday are the massed ranks of the Collapsible Comrades be found sipping upon their pina coladas in the balmy lower regions of the darts room, whilst their opponents call for beef tea in the chilly air conditioned upper regions.

Little wonder that the Comrades run out comfortable 7-1 winners on the night, as their guests struggle to grip their darts with frost bitten fingers. Stan Billington is once again the most competent comrade on show this week, with Sockless Chris a solitary success story for the blue nosed Blyth Spirits.

Also running out comfortable 7-1 winners on Friday are the Fuzzy Ducks as they welcome the Peripatetic Pensioners from deepest Thornton. Unable to handle anything stronger than Sanatogen, the visitors are easily overwhelmed after being supplied with copious amounts of real ale. Martin Coleclough flies a lone flag of resistance for the inebriated octogenarians, as skipper Steve Tonge leads his charges to an emphatic victory.

The tactic employed by the Olympians upon the esplanade is to separate individual opponents from the herd, as would the hyena a baby gazelle. Isolated from its own kind, each Bambi in turn is surrounded by the intimidatory rascals representing the Mount Hotel.

Mind you, a 152 opener by Wayne Clarke did send the cackling hordes scurrying into the shadows temporarily, but as with most natural history documentaries, those with the big teeth end up feasting upon the opposition. A magnificent 10 darts cameo from Jimmy Reilly ensures that he gets the best bit of Bambi to gnaw on as the hyenas run out comfortable 6-2 winners.

Meanwhile, table toppers Highbury ‘A’ employ a pincer formation down Upper Lune Street on Friday, the better to batter opponents the Bowling Club into submission from all sides. Indeed, by the time captain Les Ivison chalks up a first success for the home team in the sixth game of the contest, the points are already safely tucked away in the pocket of visiting skipper Chris Job. Individual merit leader Scott Hayton further enhances his burgeoning reputation in taking man of the match for the victorious visitors.

Mick Tallentire is again best for the Beach Road Boys this week, his second consecutive gold star helping the Queens to a third win on the bounce as they roll over the Royal Oak by 6-2 on Lord Street. Mind you, there is precious little need for tactics against Deaduns when they are in self destruct mode, albeit that Tony Brogden does manage to maintain his focus amidst the carnage going on all around him.

Moses and the Dockerites also employ the bludgeon to good effect on Friday, although their Tommy Duggan 8-0 demolition of the Peking Ducks contains quite a high proportion of close encounters of the darting kind.

Andy Helsby is the only Highbury ‘B’ player to enter the winner’s enclosure this week, as defending champions the Cons cruise to a comfortable victory on Lowther Road. Whilst, Jeff Walkington is undoubtedly happy with his 112 outshot, Steve Hadgraft appears to be, if not disgruntled, then certainly gruntled with the oft maligned charms of 301.

Finally this week let us travel to the Blasted Heath, whereupon the home side are going to head to head with the biased babes of the Bowling Club. It would appear from the outset that the home side has decided to adopt a blind panic approach to the match as Tracey Cunningham and Belinda Yusuf sets their nerves a jangling in giving the girls an early 2-0 lead. Thankfully, Tony Ashburn and John Perkes are made of sterner stuff and manage to gird their loins to good effect in getting things back on an even keel by the halfway point.

A shared experience between Chris Garton and Trish Hughes does little to get the home side hopes on an upward trajectory at the start of the second period, especially when Joanna Coultas records her first ever win in the antepenultimate leg to edge the girls ahead once again.

Now I don’t know about you, but mention McCabe and Hornby to me and I tend to think of a slightly down at heel Country and Western duo from Arkansas. I can’t say I’ve ever thought of them as darting super heroes. But that’s what they turn out to be on Friday, each recording priceless wins to snatch victory from the beautifully manicured grasp of the devastated darting damsels.