Having recently returned in triumph from the bull running in Spain, what better opportunity could there be to test the fitness of my loyal and ancient retainer, than by sending him down to the sales on Black Friday.
I have had my eye on a set of 21 gram diamond encrusted Tatler Tungstens for some time now, and am delighted to learn that they can be obtained (at hefty discount) simply by attending a midnight soiree at our local Aristocrats ‘R Us emporium.
Unfortunately, Fotheringay’s efforts at the sale are pathetic. Not only does he fail to purchase the objects of my desire, he also ends up in the local infirmary after being tipped out of his bath chair and trampled underfoot by a barrage of like minded bargain hunting butlers.
Worst of all, in the darts room of the Rat and Armpit on Sunday afternoon, I am forced to watch the malodorous Earl of Mountford beating all and sundry with his sparkly new Tatlers. Apparently, Kendo Nagasaki, his samurai manservant boasts of wrenching them from the grip of a doddery old chap in a bath chair at the Aristocrats ‘R Us sale on Friday evening.
So it is a Black Friday indeed for all of us back at the ancient pile, as indeed is it for the Collapsibles earlier in the evening upon Upper Lune Street. An opening win for Kenny Harrison and a man of the match performance from last up Gaz Whitehead prove to be the only successes for the outplayed Comrades.
With home skipper Chris Donnelly playing the match card like a Stradivarius, a symphony of ocheological omnipotence by Mark Wilson, top dog Steve Fryer, Les Ivison, Terry Beavers and Steve Stanhope delivers both points for the Biased Boys with something to spare.
The Blyth Spirits continue to trundle along nicely with a 5-3 away win at the Queen’s Hotel. Haidan Hughes is best on the night for the visitors, albeit that a match winning performance from Chris Blyth Junior secures both the victory for the Dockers ‘B’ outfit and a weekend away in the Isle of Man. For the beleaguered Beach Road Boys, it is Andy ‘Bollard Boy’ Johnstone who catches the eye in securing his man of the match nomination.
Not for the first time this year, the Blasted Heathens run out of steam when in sight of the winning post. Erik Dahl is top Taverner on Friday, with Tony Brogden again best for visitors the Royal Oak. A special mention also this week for Graham Roney and Sean Atkin, their victories in the dying embers of the match finally breaking the spirit of the home side for a well deserved 5-3 victory.
Defending champions Dockers ‘A’ ease to a 5-1 winning lead at home to the Fuzzy Ducks, the solitary blot on their escutcheon a memorable 65, 134, 102 nine darter by star straw man Graham Hopkinson. Robert Dagger is effortlessly effective at the outset for the victors as they continue to huff and puff in pursuit on the trail of the leading pack.
Elsewhere, there are many reports of Black Friday misbehaviour; none more so than in deepest Thornton where the sharp elbowed Lowther Lotharios ruthlessly push the peripatetic pensioners aside to the tune of 8-0. Jordan Brooks is best for the rampant retail therapists, with Tony Matthews the only aged one to get his shopping trolley anywhere near the till.
The Femme Fatales are out bright and early in search of a bargain or two down Kemp Street. And although half of them get their purses open and ready for action, too often they are still busy looking for the right change as the Peking Ducks sweep the shelves clean. Phil Lee is a prolific purchaser for the Workingmens, with Trish Hughes the only darting dame with a full carrier bag at the end of a disappointing shopping trip for the girls.
Also returning home empty handed on Friday are the players from Highbury ‘B’. Opponents the Mount are guilty of some crass consumerism upon the esplanade as Andy Parry Jones cruises to the checkout fully laden, as indeed do the twelve darts Brian Bond and 104 finishing Steve Riley. Some say that Cliff Ashby was spotted carrying out a VCR at the end of proceedings.
Finally this week we move across town to the Highbury, where table toppers the ‘A’ team are playing host to bottom team, the Cricket Club. Unsurprisingly, the result goes the way of the Scott Hayton inspired home team by 6-2, a result that keeps the 2012 champions two points clear of the chasing pack.
But after picking up bargains left, right and centre since the start of the campaign, at last averages leader Steve Bond comes up empty handed after eleven successful shopping trips. Unsurprisingly, it is Jimmy Pilling who muscles his way to the counter ahead of Steve on Black Friday, thus bringing to an end the Highbury player’s remarkable winning start to the campaign.
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