Darting around Town with Roger Bleasdale

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On the floor of the deepest, darkest dungeon of the castle sits a coffin, wherein resides the owner of this shambolic chateau. Hanging upon a wall of the dungeon is a dartboard, a solitary guttering candle casting eerie shadows upon the well worn sisal surrounding the treble twenty. For this is the home of Count Yurchickens, the bloodsucking darts loving vampire, who also happens to be the current champion of the Transylvanian Round the Board League.

The Count wriggles impatiently within his coffin as he waits for darkness to fall, for tonight he is especially hungry and keen to make the acquaintance of the buxom barmaid at the Blood and Bucket, tonight’s opponents in the 501 league. At last, he sniffs the air and knows that finally it is time for him to set forth. Throwing open the lid, he floats across to the board and retrieves his darts.

A quick puff of smoke later and he turns himself into a bat that flits through the door of the dungeon, up the stairs and out if a window into the dark and chilly night. Upon landing on the pavement outside the Blood and Bucket, he assumes human form once more. Stepping through the door of the pub he is surprised to find that the hostelry is completely empty, except for the landlord Lars Torders who is busy polishing the bar top.

“Hello Count”, says Lars. “What can I get you?”

“Bloody Mary”, the Count answers “Where is everybody?”

“At work I imagine.”

“At this time of night?” queries the Count, a look of puzzlement upon his alabaster visage.

“It’s not night” says the landlord. “It’ll be sunny in a minute after the eclipse.”

“Eclipse?”

“Yes, today’s the total eclipse.”

“What?”

“A few moments of total darkness before the sun comes back out.”

“Uh-oh, I’m in big trouble.”

“Eh?”

“I’ll just nip and have a quick practice”, says the Count as he heads for the door of the darts room, keen to become a bat again and head for home.

“Okay, I’ll bring your drink through in a minute.”

Moments later, a shaft of sunlight suddenly illuminates the interior of the pub and birds start to sing again in the trees outside. The landlord enters the darts room with the Count’s drink, only to find that the room is empty. It also looks like someone has emptied the contents of an ashtray upon the floor beside the oche.

Also realising he is in the right place but at the wrong time on Friday is Peter Hornby, the face of Sleepy Time Pillows and captain of the Blasted Heathens. With half of the Peripatetic Pensioners squad in Australia to watch England being eviscerated by their Australian hosts, it is little wonder that the rampant Tony Ashburn inspired Taverners run out comfortable 7-1 winners. On a positive note for Peter, he does at least help Harold Davies bring to an end his depressing losing streak.

Lee Shewan has to endure an uncomfortable fusillade of beer mats from his jubilant teammates as they celebrate a 7-1 trouncing of opponents the Queens in time honoured fashion. Tommy Duggan rattles in a spectacular nine darts masterclass for the Dockers ‘A’ boys as they run amok down Beach Road, whilst for the home side it is Jack Wilson who looks as happy as the boy with the tuck shop key after out cobbling the Cobbler.

Dean Barker’s four match winning run for the defending champions comes to a juddering halt against Andy Ingham from the Strawberry Gardens, albeit that this early 1-0 advantage soon disintegrates into a 7-1 drubbing for the Fuzzy Ducks. Dale Newton is at the very top of his game as the Cons look forward to closing in on the summit following this week’s crunch fixture between top two Dockers ‘A’ and Highbury ‘A’.

Highbury ‘A’ maintain their slender advantage at the head of things on Friday with a regulation 6-2 victory over visitors the Atkin Juggernaut. Scott Hayton is again like a bat at a jugular, as he chalks up another win to keep ahead of the chasing pack in the race for the individual title. Kevin Thompson, is best for the deflated Deaduns as they return bloodless and pointless to Lord Street to lick their wounds.

Also feeling a bit of a nip in the neck area this week are the Femme Fatales, their solitary success story this time out being Tracey Cunningham as she sees off the challenge of Basildon Bond with plenty to spare. Steve Riley receives the plaudits of the gathered girls for his outrageous act of escapology in snatching a half off the disbelieving Trish Hughes.

Don Gair, the Beige Behemoth is back to his best this week in helping the Peking Ducks to a close run 5-3 victory over visitors Highbury ‘B’. Gary Swanton takes centre stage for the losers, whose early season promise becomes but a distant memory as each week goes by.

Dockers ‘B’ and the Bowling Club enjoy a rumbustuous encounter down Preston Street on Friday, the victory eventually going the way of the home side by 5-3, this after an emphatic last gasp victory for Chris Blyth. Terry Beavers chalks up his tenth win of the campaign for the biased boys as they continue their ever more desperate search for a second win of the campaign.

Our final encounter this week takes place down Broadwater, where the Cricket Club take on the Collapsible Comrades in a highly entertaining encounter. Apparently, to kill a vampire you have to bash one stake into the heart through the third rib, another through the fifth before delivering the coup de grace through the fourth; which pretty much describes the double sixteen located by homester Phil Schofield through what appears to be a solid tungsten barrier. Much more rudimentary is the finish of Jonathan Bridge as he helps the Comrades climb to a vertigo inducing fifth spot in the table.

Captains are reminded that entries and fees for the Individual Knockout should be handed in at this week’s committee meeting, which takes place at 7.30 on Wednesday at the Cricket Club.