Hello again from the luxurious splendour of my boudoir at Bleasdale Towers. Can I apologise at the outset to all those local players who were denied a mention in the local paper last week?
You may have heard that I was leading a BDO expeditionary force to Outer Mongolia over the weekend, this after a spate of oche desecrations in Ulan Bator. Unfortunately, in that most combustible of regions, it takes very little to get the local darts fraternity hot under the collar, which proves to be the case this time round.
Apparently, it all kicks off when a player from the local Yak Herders Institute is barred from playing against their arch rivals the Ulan Bator Workingmens Club. It appears that the player in question doesn’t actually own any yaks, but instead herds cows for a living. As a result he is not allowed to take part in a crucial league encounter between the two teams.
Sadly, one thing leads to another and before long the local league is brought to a shuddering halt as striking tungsten miners and chalk weavers take to the streets, brandishing upon poles burning effigies of the local league secretary.
However, years of service in the farthest outposts of the empire have taught me that few can resist the ministrations of a peace party from the BDO, especially when copious amounts of free shafts and flights are placed upon the negotiating table. And so it is that, after a few days of tension, peace at last returns to the hostelries of that most miserable of ocheological conurbations.
Anyway, whilst I have been away it appears that certain members of port society have been performing rather well in the latest round of league fixtures and none more so than Andy Parry Jones and Andy Parry Jones. Father and son both picked up man of the match awards for their respective teams in a thrilling encounter between the Olympians and the Blyth Spirits. Similarly well endowed are Ray Connolly and Steve Bridge, each recording 106 outshots for Highbury ‘A’ and the Kings Own in an entertaining encounter in Annie’s Attic, whilst across town Bobby Walker from the Queens is almost as clever when hitting a splendid 105 finish of his own.
And so to this week, where we begin with a remarkable burst of surreal finishing during the opening exchanges of the match between Dockers ‘B’ and the Collapsible Comrades. After skipper Neil Buston has secured an excellent win for the visitors in the opening game, up to the board steps Jonathan Bridge. Requiring 62 for victory, the pyrotechnic postman bangs in treble twenty and double one, much to the surprise of his perplexed colleagues.
A splendid two darts 79 finish from man of the match Lenny Billington further extends the lead, which brings Mark Brook to the oche for game four. Faced with 64, to complete a first half whitewash, the garrulous glazer hits double sixteen twice, leaving his disbelieving opponent gasping haplessly like a beached halibut. Thankfully, the second half proceeds at a more sedentary pace, that is until home star Elliot Lowe demolishes Stan Billington with a blizzard of terrific tungstens to restore a little pride for the hosts in the final leg of the match.
Elsewhere, Tracey Cunningham requires only nine scoring darts in securing her eighteenth victory of the campaign. Sadly, hers is to be the only victory mustered by the Femme Fatales on Friday, as the Gaz Whitehead inspired Blasted Heathens run amok on Upper Lune Street.
This defeat for the ladies further cuts them adrift at the bottom of the table, this after the Peripatetic Pensioners secure a laudable victory over the Fuzzy Ducks in the Land That Cabs Forgot. Mick Buckingham is best on the night for the victorious Ashley, with Graham Hopkinson precision personified as he skewers the bull first dart to snatch victory from the grasp of a mightily frustrated George Housecroft.
Bobby Walker continues his winning run in the opening leg of the match between the Queens Hotel and the Royal Oak, albeit that pretty soon the home side find themselves 2-1 in arrears, this after wins for Graham Roney and Dave “How long can you keep a chicken in a freezer” Spencer. Alas and alack, things then go downhill in dramatic fashion for Deaduns, as Mike Tallentire, Ian Rees, Mike Lovell and Jamie Spore all win to give the Beach Road Boys an unassailable 5-2 advantage. Mod in the squad, Matty Chorlton duly completes the demolition of the Juggernaut in the final leg, his performance against old rocker Paul Wood sufficiently exciting to get the manufacturers of crombie jackets interested in a possible sponsorship deal.
Meanwhile, at the top of the table, the Cons are not having it all their own way against a resilient Highbury ‘B’ outfit. Reaching the halfway point all square, wins by Jeff Walkington and Jordan Brooks cancelled out by those of homesters John Shaw and Andy Helsby, the defending champions soon find themselves 3-2 in arrears, this after top banana Geoff Ward takes the opening leg of the second period. But then a flurry of titanic tungstens from man of the match Dale Newton, Dave Smith and Steve Cowell turns the match on its head, securing a breathless 5-3 victory for the relieved Lotharios in the dying embers of the match.
Things are a deal more comfortable for the other teams still in with a shout of the league pennant on Friday, none more so than for Dockers ‘A’, as they maintain their slender advantage with a 7-1 demolition of the Chinese Telephone Directory. Brian Wilson is a solitary success story for the Workingmens, with Mark Shewan powerfully precise in taking centre stage for the table toppers. Adam Blyth maintains his pursuit of the individual title with his 24th victory of the campaign for the Dockerites.
Also cruising to a 7-1 victory on Friday are 2012 champions Highbury ‘A’, the highlight of their evisceration of the Bowling Club a performance of outstanding ocheological omnipotence by the in-form Carl Simey. For the befuddled biased boys, it is a solitary flag of resistance from Steve Stanhope that saves the day, albeit that an experienced undertaker would probably have started embalming his colleagues on sight, so lifeless had been their efforts on the night.
Like a troupe of leprechauns looking over a wall, the Cricket Club know they will have to be on their toes on Friday, as they take on a Mount side just seven days after the esplanaders dropped a crucial point in their pursuit of the league title.
Alas, the game is already lost when Phil Schofield finally secures a win for the cricketers; this after Dave Coulborn gets the rampant Olympians off to a winning start with a crucial victory on the arrows against the talismanic Jimmy Pilling. Time and again the home side are left grinding their teeth in frustration as the visitors pinch leg after leg from their grasp to run out 7-1 winners of a match that could so easily gone the way of the home side.