Friday evening at Bleasdale Towers. I am snivelling and horizontal.
I can’t make it into the port on Friday, as a severe dose of man flu has laid me low. I am confined to my boudoir in the west wing of the ancient pile. Philomena Mandrake is feeding me spoonfuls of hearty peasant soup as I recline beneath my Bobby George embossed eiderdown.
Fotheringay, my loyal and ancient retainer, has removed my dentures and is re-polishing them in the garage. My baldy wig is drying nicely upon a clothesline in the courtyard.
Sunday morning at the Towers. I am refreshed and vertical.
I watch some peasants sweeping leaves from the croquet lawn. I smile benignly at them with my newly burnished teeth before thanking them for the soup. They smile back and touch their forelocks. Fotheringay smiles at the Mandrake. The Mandrake smiles at Fotheringay.
Regular readers will remember my tirade last week about the unacceptable level of smiling currently inflicting the great and good of port society. There was a time when smiling was strictly forbidden upon the oche. Sadly, today everybody seems to be having a high old time as they toss the tungsten.
Thankfully, as I go through this week’s match cards in the library, I am pleased to note that upon a number of them the ink has run, no doubt caused by the tears of their distressed authors.
The home card from the match between Highbury ‘A’ and the Mount is a particularly fine example. In addition, there are what appear to be teeth marks in one corner, a sure sign of angst and frustration I’ll be bound.
And yet things started so well for the home side, as they seek to hang onto the coattails of the table topping Fleetwood Cons. Early wins for man of the match Ray Connolly and Scott Hayton are entered on the card with a firm confident hand.
But then the writing gets progressively shakier, this after a winning 104 finish by Jimmy Reilly is followed in sharp order by a trio of Mount successes courtesy of Rob Saunders, Kelvin Dahl and averages leader Steve Riley. Although victory in the penultimate leg for Carl Simey reduces the deficit to 4-3, there is be no last leg reprieve for the home side as Andy Parry Jones secures both points for the Olympians with panache and precision.
Little wonder that the signature of the home captain looks like a demented tapeworm at this severe setback to their title aspirations, whilst that of the visiting skipper is clear and precise, mirroring the efforts of his charges throughout what could be a season defining encounter.
There are also clear signs of graphological strain upon the card of Dockers ‘A’, as precision and accuracy fall by the wayside as events unfold in their match against lowly visitors the Queens Hotel.
Once again things begin swimmingly for the homesters, a brace of wins for Anthony Hadgraft and Robert Dagger suggesting a long, hard night for the visitors. And although Jamie Spore reduces the deficit in game three, before long the Dockers move 3-1 ahead thanks to a 111 outshot from top banana Adam Blyth.
Into the second period and, without warning, back bounce the bottom feeders with a vengeance. Man of the match Mike Tallentire tightens things up at 3-2, this before Jack Wilson and Jeff Wright record unexpected victories to guarantee the visitors at least a share of the spoils.
Thankfully for the home side, Mark Smith is untroubled in levelling the match at 4-4, a result nonetheless that is a catastrophe for the defending champions, but a wondrous one for the normally beleaguered Beach Road Boys.
Thus do the table toppers move clear of their flailing pursuers on Friday. A 7-1 victory over Highbury ‘B’ extends their advantage at the head of things to four points, a mighty chasm for their pursuers to close during the final weeks of the campaign. Steve Hadgraft equals the best leg of the campaign so far with his eight darts masterclass for the Cons, whilst for their well beaten opponents, it is Geoff Ward who flies a solitary flag of resistance.
Meanwhile, the Bowling Club consolidate their fifth spot in the table with a surprisingly easy 6-2 victory away to the Peking Ducks. Steve “Fifty Shades Of” Grey writhes around to good effect upon the oche for the well beaten Workingmens, with Mike Jackson emphatically efficient on his return to action for the belligerent Biased Boys.
The Femme Fatales fail to finish off a number of close encounters on Friday, the match already lost before a brace of successes late on for dame of the game Tracey Cunningham and Trish Hughes make the outcome appear closer than is the actual case. Earlier, a hat trick of Atkin wins for Richard, Sean and Eddie, along with further triumphs for Billy White and Tony Brogden see the Royal Oak safely home and dry with plenty to spare.
Ashley skipper Dave Grigg and Strawberry skipper Steve Tonge are both down in the dumps on Friday evening after 5-3 home defeats of remarkable similarity.
The former is left bereft as Taverners last man Gavin Billington secures the points for his team in a close encounter of the darting kind in the Land that Cabs Forgot, the latter is as mad as a wet hen after Comrades last man Lenny Billington does exactly the same on Poulton Road.
Keith Higham is adjudged best on the night for the anguished aged ones, with Erik Dahl a hero for the happy heathens.
Steve Bridge is the cherry on the Collapsible cake this week, with Andy Gratrix the pick of a frustrated Strawberry punnet.
A 109 finish and nine darts leg from visiting skipper Chris Blyth is the highlight of our final match this week between bottom outfit the Cricket Club and Dockers ‘B’.
From 3-1 down, the Blyth Spirits square things at 3-3, only for the rarely sighted Paul Sherlock to edge the flannelled flingers ahead once again in the penultimate leg.
Alas, for the home side, last man Mitch Blyth just manages to squeak home to secure a point for the Spirits with the final darts of the match, a result leaves both sides frustrated at the end of a terrific tussle.
So misery returns to the oches of the port.
I’ll get the peasants to empty the septic tank tomorrow.
That’ll teach them not to smile so often
Thanks for reading.