In the opinion of legendary Hollywood mogul Samuel Goldwyn, the perfect blockbuster begins with an earthquake and then works itself up to a climax a couple of hours later.
I am reminded of Sam’s words whilst studying the match cards from this week’s round of games on a wild and windy night in the port.
Just seven days previously, the Dockers ‘A’ squad celebrated late into the night, this after the Collapsible Comrades had surprisingly sandbagged title contenders Highbury ‘A’ in Annie’s Attic.
Unsurprisingly, the Dockerites gather in high spirits on Friday, keen to consolidate their newly acquired two point advantage at the top of the pile by seeing off early season frontrunners the Mount.
Things seem to be going pretty much to plan for the table toppers, this despite a first leg win for visitor Jimmy Reilly.
Man of the match Lee Shewan soon levels things in game two, an arrow in Little Audrey bringing the curtain down on yet another ten darts masterclass.
Still with a perfect record after eleven weeks, merit leader Adam Blyth makes it 2-1 for the hosts in game three. A shared experience between Mark Shewan and Cavan Thake keeps the pot bubbling nicely, this before a win for Ron Melling takes the Dockers boys to within a leg of victory.
At this point it is worth reminding you of my Halloween encounter with grumpy ghouls Steve Riley and Dave Coulborn from the Mount. Just two weeks ago both of them would have struggled to hit a bovine posterior, never mind a winning double.
But such is the capricious nature of 301, that on Friday Steve produces an emphatic man of the match performance in reducing the deficit to a solitary leg, this before Peter Jackson squares the match in the penultimate leg.
So does the last pairing take to the oche.
It would be cruel of me to name the home player. For, despite focussing furiously through his new glasses, he is unable to finish off the match in style. Becalmed frustratingly on 299, he can only watch in consternation as the aforementioned Dave edges home with the final darts of an epic encounter, a climax that old Sam would have found very much to his liking.
This slip up by the Dockers, allows not just the Mount, but also Highbury ‘A’ and the Cons to clamber back into contention.
The footballers enjoy a relaxing stroll around the oche this week, visitors the Peripatetic Pensioners managing but a solitary success for Geoff Moyle, this despite a fruitless 180 for opponent Eddie Miller. Skipper Chris Job makes his long awaited return to league action for the home side, his demonstration of darting delights the highlight of the night.
The Lowther Lotharios ease past the challenge of hosts the Workingmens, Steve Hadgraft best for the defending champions as Wes Newton hits a maximum in the final leg of the match. Steve Gray once again dodges and weaves to best effect for a home side that pushes their opponents all the way in a splendid match.
Elsewhere, the Blyth Spirits carry on racking up the points, victory away at the Strawberry their sixth of the campaign.
And yet things could so easily have gone the way of the home side when Steve Tonge levels things up at 3-3 with a tsunami of terrific tungstens.
Earlier, Ian Ball gets the home side off to a winning start, this before Steve Dagger and Chris Blyth Senior ease the visitors ahead at 2-1. Both sides reach the halfway point neatly juxtaposed however, this after local ace Andy Gratrix records his ninth win of the campaign.
Back in front go the Spirits at 3-2, man of the match Cliff Blyth effectively efficient at the start of the second period.
But after Mr. Tonge has performed magically in levelling things up in game six, late wins for Gareth Bidder and Mitch Blyth ensure that both points go to the visitors at the end of another excellent encounter.
Another close run thing is also taking place on Friday at the Cricket Club.
Anthony Rhimes is best on the night for Highbury ‘B’, his win in the opening leg a joy to behold. Pretty soon though, the home side all level courtesy of Darrell Moore, this before a brace of wins for John Shaw and Ray White moves the visitors ahead at 3-1.
Mike Gordon further extends the advantage to 4-1, this before Steve Farrand keeps cricket hopes alive in game six. Victory though is not long in arriving for the visitors, skipper Andy Helsby securing both points in the penultimate leg. Home star Phil Schofield reduces the final deficit to 5-3, albeit that he is strangely left on the bench until the match is lost.
Also surrendering a winning position in identical fashion to the Dockers ‘A’ this week are the Blasted Heathens, this after top stick Mark Mizon has eased them to within touching distance of victory. A hat trick of late wins for Phil Stanhope, man of the match Mark Wilson and last man Terry Beavers sees the Bowling Club emerge victorious when all had seemed lost.
Also enjoying a wafer thin victory this week is the Queens Hotel.
A topsy turvey tussle on Beach Road finally goes the way of the home side, this after man of the match Jack Wilson finally ends the resistance of a spirited Royal Oak outfit with victory in the penultimate leg.
These are worrying times for the deflate Deaduns, albeit that a rare Eddie Atkin man mountain of the match performance helps lift the gloom as they remain but two points above bottom team the Femme Fatales.
On Friday, the girls are soundly chastised 8-0 by the Collapsible Comrades. Suddenly, the Comrades seem to have moved up about five gears, a brace of 120 opening throws, plus a 160 flier from man of the match Stan Billington leaving the lasses lagging at the foot of the table.
Thanks for reading.