It is Friday morning and breakfast time in my boudoir at Bleasdale Towers.
Fotheringay is massaging my hands.
“All the media attention over the last week has been quite exhausting, Fotheringay.”
“Such is the life of a sporting superstar, Sir.”
“Have you seen the photograph in today’s Dominoes Weekly?”
“A splendid likeness, Sir.”
“I’m thinking of joining the PDC.”
“The Professional Domino Council? Not a good idea, Sir.”
“You think not?”
“Not with your delicate knuckles, Sir.”
“All that knocking, eh?”
“They are a bit sore.”
“Stick to what you know best, Sir.”
“Darts eh, Fotheringay?”
“That’s correct, Sir.”
“Best dig out the old typewriter then.”
“It awaits you in the study, Sir.”
So, instead of taking my first tentative steps in pursuit of domino fame and fortune at some distant PDC qualifier, I can be found tapping away at the old Garibaldi Mach II in my garret at the ancient pile.
And where better to start another winter ocheological odyssey than at the home of defending champions Fleetwood Cons? On Friday the Lotharios begin the defence of their title with a home game against the Biased Boys of Upper Lune Street.
A wondrous opening leg by man of the match Dale Newton gets the hosts off to a flyer, this before further successes for Steve Hadgraft, Stave Cowell and Dave Smith take the Cons to within touching distance of victory at the interval.
A splendid effort by Mark Wilson saves the blushes of the Bowling Club at the start of the second period, albeit that this proves to be but a temporary revival as Dean Barker duly records the win than assures the champs of both points in making it 5-1. Memories of the Mount Vaults are stirred in the dying embers of the match, as Arthur Armstrong and Alan Jackson roll back the years as they reduce the final deficit to 5-3.
One man determined to set his stall out early is Mount star Andy Parry Jones. An emphatic 106 outshot brings down the curtain on his nine dart opening night extravaganza. Hosts, the Peripatetic Pensioners look, as forlorn as a flamenco dancing troop with malfunctioning castanets as the rampant visitors run amok in the Land That Cabs Forgot. A solitary shared experience for Mick Buckingham is the only thing that saves the aged ones from beginning the campaign with a dreaded whitewash.
Dockers ‘A’ get an early win under their belt upon the Blasted Heath, victories for man of the match Adam Blyth, the brothers Shewan, Brett Dawson and Tom Duggan, enough to ensure the return of the points to Preston Street. Although the Taverners have a brace of victors in their camp, they being Ian Barron and Erik Dahl, it is a shared experience between Gav Billington and Mark Smith that sees the home player get the nod from those watching in the cheap seats.
Meanwhile, along Poulton Road, last year’s wooden spoonists are getting their campaign off to a winning start. A hat-trick of victories for Jeff Wright, top banana Ian Rees and Brad Ashton see the Queens Hotel storm into an emphatic early lead, this before Andy Ingham gets the Strawberry season underway in game four. The 115 finish by man of the match Ian remains at the top of the pile for just around twenty minutes before teammate Jamie Spore bangs in a 117 to extend the visitors advantage to 4-1.
A neat cameo from Lee Nield brief keeps hopes flickering in the hearts of the homesters, hopes that are finally extinguished as Andy Johnstone and Harold Rees return triumphantly from the oche in making the final score 6-2.
Meanwhile, debutant Rob Dagger is the pick of the Highbury ‘A’ crop, as they begin their season with a close run victory over resilient opponents the Workingmens. Brian Wood is best on the night for the Orientals who, with a little more inscrutability on their doubles, could have been returning to Kemp Street with more than a tale of missed opportunities.
A feisty encounter is taking place along Lord Street, as Deaduns take on Highbury ‘B’ in an opening night thriller. New signing Mick Gordon gets the visitors off to a winning start, this before Dave Hewitt levels things up in game two. A shared experience between Dave Spencer and the returning Michael Shaw gets the pot bubbling nicely, this before Paul Wood edges the home side ahead at the interval.
Into the second half and another draw, this between Keith Douglas and visitors skipper Andy Helsby, does little to clarify matters, albeit that things definitely looking to be going the way of the home side after Richard Atkin’s man of the match performance in game six. However, 4-2 soon becomes 4-4 when final duo Ray White and Steve Hayton edge home to secure a point for the visitors in a hectic finale.
Also unable to be separated at the end of a tasty tussle on Preston Street are the Blyth Spirits and the Collapsible Comrades. Having fallen behind following Gareth Bidder’s opening leg victory, the visitors ease in front courtesy of Tony Kane and Mark Brooks. However, things are soon neatly juxtaposed as man of the match Mitch Blyth levels things up at 2-2.
Back ahead go the home side at the start of the second period through Chris Blyth Junior, an advantage immediately relinquished after a splendid performance by Commendable Comrade Alan Taylor. Once again the hosts edge in front through Craig Gill, this before Stan Billington secures a point for the visitors in taking the final leg with something to spare.
The Cricket Club records an opening win on the road this week, thanks to yet another Pilling performance of pyrotechnical precision. But, on this occasion, it is not Jimmy in the spotlight. Rather, it is Dave “I’ll just underline my name to make sure you don’t think it is my Dad” Pilling who takes all the plaudits in a 5-3 victory over the Femme Fatales, for whom Margaret Gardner is the hostess with the mostest.
Finally, many congratulations to Lee Shewan and Trish Hughes, this after both recorded victories for Lancashire at the weekend.
Thanks for reading.