Darting around town with Roger Bleasdale

Chris Job
Chris Job

Think of something you don’t like.

Not necessarily something you hate, but something you are totally ambivalent about. And for the sake of argument, let us say that the subject now occupying your mind is Tibetan Yak Dancing.

Now, picture a world in which the dancing yak has all of a sudden become inexplicably popular. Clogging up the daily sports pages and constantly flickering across every BBC television channel for hour after tedious hour, nothing but Tibetans and their odoriferous prancing ruminates.

And since we have more chance of becoming world yak dancing champions than winning the downhill slalom, why on earth is Beeb getting so excited about the Winter Olympics?

For goodness sake, I can remember sitting up until the wee small hours some years ago watching four Scottish lasses win a gold medal for floor sweeping!

And whilst I have little time for the majority of these slightly ludicrous un-British activities, I must say that one particular aspect of the blanket television coverage has piqued my curiosity.

Have you noticed that much of the lingo used by commentators to describe the efforts of the lycra clad protagonists has been filched directly from that most noble of pastimes; the ancient and royal sport of ocheology?

“Going downhill fast” nicely describes the trials and tribulations of the league’s bottom two teams this season, albeit that the Ashley are in the middle of a mini revival as they welcome the Bowling Ladies to deepest Thornton on Friday evening knowing that a second win of the campaign will move them above the Femme Fatales at the foot of the table.

Slaloming to great effect in the opening leg is dame of the game Tracey Cunningham, as she gets the visitors off to the best of possible starts. Pretty soon however, the aged ones have skated into a 2-1 lead; this after a brace of wins from Martin Coleclough and skipper Dave Grigg. But back bounce the girls in the dying embers of the first half to level things following a fancy bit of wrist work on the oche by Belinda Yusuf.

Into the second period and a crucial double breakthrough by homesters Harold Davies and Keith Higham ensures that the long unbeaten run of the pensioners reaches three games. But when Natasha Eaves reduces the deficit to 4-3 in the penultimate leg, there pendulum begins once more to swing in the direction of the ladies. Alas, they are to be denied at the very death as Joe Lavery ekes out a wafer thin victory with the final darts of the contest to hoist the Ashley off the foot of the table for the first time this year.

Meanwhile, at the top of the table, as Dockers ‘A’ cruise to a comfortable 6-2 home win over an under strength Rossall Tavern outfit, their nearest rivals are finding it slippery underfoot as they each take on resolute mid table opposition.

Defending champions the Cons are in all sort of disarray as opponents the Workingmens soar like Eddie the Eagle into an unanticipated 3-0 lead, courtesy of Brian Wilson, Ricky Lee and man of the match Phil Lee. But just as Eddie famously failed to find a safe landing spot, so to do the Orientals struggle in to remain upright as Jeff Walkington, Billy Spence and top dog Dale Newton all win to level the match at three legs apiece.

And yet, when Ian Heslop hits his finishing double in the penultimate leg, it looks once more like the resilient homesters are about to snatch at least a point against their illustrious opponents, that is until Alan Ashton snatches a share of the spoils with his final dart. So it all goes down to the proverbial wire, which is unfortunate for the gallant Workies outfit as last man for the Cons is the bang in form Dave Smith. A minute or two later and the home side find themselves buried in a snowdrift as Dave powers to the finishing line in emphatic style to secure a breathless victory for the Cons, just when all had seemed lost.

Meanwhile, the 2012 champions Highbury ‘A’ are playing host to the Queens Hotel, an outfit that normally travels away from Beach Road more in hope than expectation. However, a debut man of the match performance by Lee Howell in the opening game delivers the perfect aperitif for the visitors, who find themselves still in touch as the last pairing steps to the oche. And, just as happened upon Kemp Street to the Workingmens, so too do the hopes of the Queens turn to ashes as home skipper Chris Job delivers the goods to deny their valiant opponents at the death.

Elsewhere, it is the lightning fast Jimmy Reilly who whizzes around the oche in fine style to take all the plaudits for the Mount as they comfortably see off the challenge of the Royal Oak by 6-2. For the juggernaut it is Sean Atkin who avoids the Bambi on ice impression so favoured by his colleagues as Brian Bond also impresses for the Mount with a neat 99 outshot.

Over at the curling, it is Highbury ‘B’ who use the brush to best effect in squeezing past the Biased Boys by the narrowest of margins. With both sides apparently unable to get their stones anywhere near the house, it is left to Terry Beavers and Highbury sweeper Cliff Ashby to bring a little class to this disjointed carnival on ice.

Another victory for the much improved Cricket Club sees them clamber into the top half of the table as the edge out Dockers ‘B’ in a breathless encounter down Broadwater. Skipper Mike Lovell secures the points for the cricketers in another tight encounter, much enlivened by the double Salchow’s of home star Steve Butler and some effective icy slithering by Alan Thornton for the bedraggled Blyth Spirits.

Meanwhile across at the Half Pipe course, it is the Collapsible Comrades who come out comfortably on top after doing better than the Strawberry at whatever it is that half-pipers do! Anyway, an impressive Lenny Billington ten darter is the highlight for the 6-2 victors, with Mark Wilson suitably delighted with his performance for the deflated Ducks.

The draws for the quarter finals of the Team Knockout and Plate take place this Wednesday at the Cricket Club. All outstanding fees should be paid in at the meeting which begins at 7.30.

I am also pleased to report that no yaks were injured in the writing of this report.

Thanks for reading.