Just as the witches in Macbeth huddled around their bubbling cauldron, so too do the members of the Broadwater Intelligentsia come together each Friday to exercise their mighty brains.
Somewhat perversely, these great thinkers prefer not to spend their time discussing the finer points of obscure philosophical treatises in earnest silence, but rather in some local hostelry watching the darts.
They are of course barred from participating in the sport themselves; this after one amongst them delays a match by twenty minutes, whilst furiously trying to calculate the necessary velocity and lift needed to propel a 23 gram projectile approximately eight feet into double tops. Unfortunately, upon completing his calculations, he puts the decimal point in the wrong place. The resultant injury to the unsuspecting marker’s right nostril leads to immediate disqualification and banishment from the oche.
So it is that these days they spend their Fridays vicariously enjoying events upon the board, whilst exercising their voluminous grey matter in discussing thespianism, athleticism, pugilism, post-modernism and the price of wet fish. Still though, a discussion upon the role of Doris Day in post-modern feminism will be interrupted by a shout of “Good arrers Lad!” from one of the big brains watching events unfold upon the oche.
Recently, having exhausted a discussion about footballers wearing hairnets, the gathered brains have begun to position themselves so that they cannot actually see the dartboard. Rather, they want to watch the faces of the darts players, this after one of them reads a book charmingly entitled “Microexpressionism for Beginners”. So it is that we find them this week in Annie’s Attic, watching intently as the Collapsible Comrades take on visitors the Cricket Club.
“That’ll be 26” says Colin, as a look of intense misery creases the face of the man at the oche.
“That’ll be a ton” says Robin, as a smile spreads across the visage of the tickled tungsten tosser.
“Atishoo” says Eric as he focuses on the player before him.
“That’ll be time for you to go to the bar” chortle Colin and Robin as the player disturbed arrows a malevolent gaze in the direction of their colleague.
With just a couple of weeks of the season remaining, there are smiles and grimaces to be seen all across the oches of the port this week as players strive for glory, or in most cases a crumb of comfort after nine unforgiving months.
Strawberry skipper Steve Tonge looks distinctly like one of Tolstoy’s Russian peasants this week. The sort of peasant who, after putting in a heavy day’s work strangling his father, beating his wife, and dropping the baby into the city reservoir, turns to the cupboard only to find the vodka bottle is empty. For earlier in the evening, visitors the Cons have eviscerated his charges to the tune of 8-0, a ten darts masterclass by Steve Cowell the highlight of this relentlessly ruthless rout.
Still with their noses in front at the top of the table are Dockers ‘A’, this after a comfortable 6-2 victory over visitors the Queens Hotel. Lee Shewan is effortlessly efficient in securing his place in the sun for the ferocious frontrunners, with Mike Lovell as pleased as Punch following his impressive wrist work upon the oche for the browbeaten Beach Road Boys.
Also cruising comfortably along just under the radar are 2012 champions Highbury ‘A’, albeit that things look to be falling apart in disastrous fashion as they reach the halfway point 3-1 in arrears to a resurgent Royal Oak outfit. A ten darter by Dave Spencer, along with wins for new boy Andrew Burman and Tony Brogden pile the pressure on opponents, who are also missing the talismanic presence of Scott Hayton.
Alas for the home side, things fall apart in emphatic fashion during the second period as Mark Thwaites, Eddie Miller, Robert Job and man of the match Chris Job all record victories to secure a priceless 5-3 victory in the dying embers of an enthralling encounter.
Elsewhere, the look upon the face of Mount skipper Jeff Taylor suggests intense melancholy. His aspect is that of one who has been looking for the leak in a gas pipe with a lighted candle, this despite his charges recording a comfortable 6-2 victory over plucky opponents the Femme Fatales. For at last, the sands of time have finally run out for the Olympians, lost points against lowly opposition eventually proving terminal in their pursuit of a first league title since 2009. Martin Parry Jones is best this week for the victors, whilst for the brave belles, it is a finish of 108 by Natasha Eaves that has her colleagues cooing contentedly in appreciation.
Al Morley’s season for the Blasted Heathens has involved more ups and downs than a fiddlers arm. Finally, all the bits come together on Friday as he brings down the curtain on a nine darts blitzkrieg with a marvellous 141 coup de grace. With Dex Decor finally entering the winner’s enclosure this week, one would expect all in the Taverners garden to be sweetness and light, especially as opponents the Peripatetic Pensioners normally travel as successfully as Bulgarian Beaujolais. But once again the Heathens fail to finish the job off as wins by aged ones Harold Davies and Trevor Eaves secure a rare point on the road for the Ashley.
Meanwhile, Workingmens skipper Reb Hogg looks as unhappy as a wet hen in a strange farmyard as the remnants of a disappointing campaign splutter fitfully to a conclusion. Suddenly bereft of players, the Orientals look desperate for summer to arrive. Peter Fogg provides some scant consolation for his beleaguered captain as the Andy Helsby inspired Highbury ‘B’ saunter comfortably to an untroubled 6-2 victory.
Also finishing the season on a decidedly low note are Dockers ‘B’, albeit that Chris Blyth and Elliot Lowe manage to maintain their dignity in the face of a disappointing 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Biased Boys. Les Ivison is best for the victorious bowlers, as they look to finish the campaign nearer the middle than the bottom of the table.
Finally, back in Annie’s Attic, as Lenny Billington and Mike Lovell take centre stage for their respective teams, the big brains finally give up their search for micro expressional fulfilment. Instead they are now trying to see how long they can balance a Budweiser bottle on their foreheads.
As a consequence they fail to see Tony Kane edge past the challenge of Phil Schofield to snatch a wafer thin victory for the Collapsibles with the final arrows of the game. Suffice it to say that the victor wears a smile as shiny as a cabbie’s trouser seat; whilst from the mouth of his thwarted opponent emits the kind of groan normally associated with an elephant that has been denied its morning bun.
Thanks for reading.