In general one doesn’t like to see a leading contender charging ahead of the chasing pack too early in a campaign.
So, it is fair to say that I am well pleased with a league table that shows just two teams with perfect records and especially after only a fortnight of tungsten tossing.
Unsurprisingly, one of the early season frontrunners are the Mount, those perennial purveyors of points during the balmy days of autumn. On Friday they take on defending champions the Lowther Lotharios upon the esplanade.
Olympian performances from man of the match Steve Riley, Pete Jackson, Andy Parry Jones, Brian Bond, Cavan Thake and Rob Saunders, comfortably secure both points for the home side. However, a couple of wins for Dean Barker and Steve Cowell provide scant consolation for the crestfallen Cons.
Not since the days of Arthur Scargill have the Queens Hotel managed to win the first two games of a winter campaign.
Indeed, it was during the Miner’s Strike of 1984 that the Beach Road hostelry collected its only silverware. Perhaps, last season’s bottom feeders should consider sending Jeremy Corbyn a thank you note for their change of fortune?
A sextet of victories for Jake Wilson, Mike Tallentire, Ian and Harold Rees, Jamie Spore and Andy Johnstone ensure that the Queens will be sharing top spot in the table this weekend, this before Carol Evans finally gets the Femme Fatales up and running in the penultimate leg.
A shared experience between top banana Bradley Ashton and Joanna Coultas brings down the curtain on a splendid evening for the victors, who no doubt celebrated their re-emergence from the shadows with a lusty rendition of the Red Flag.
Elsewhere, the Collapsible Comrades remain true to their name on Friday, frittering away a hard earned 3-1 home advantage against a resolute Deaduns.
First half wins for the Bridge Brothers and Stan Billington eventually count for nought, as Matt Bastin, Paul Wood, Richard Atkin and pick of the crop Daniel Atkin all win, the solitary first half win by Keith Douglas proving crucial at the death.
One outfit displaying worrying origami tendencies this week are the Orientals. Folding alarmingly from the outset, the denizens off Kemp Street are swept aside by rampant visitors the Blasted Heathens.
Wins for Al Morley, Pete Hornby, Roy McCabe, Chris Garton and Mark Mizon, see the Taverners safely past the winning post, this before Peter Fogg stabilises things a little in game six. Sadly, man of the match Gav Billington inflicts a little more pain on the home squad in the penultimate leg, this before Simon Callighan reduces the deficit to 6-2 at the close.
Another team adopting a lemming like approach at the oche this week are Highbury ‘B’, as they subside gently to a 7-1 defeat at home to the Blyth Spirits. Anthony Rhimes is a solitary success story for the hammered hosts, with Craig Gill as happy as a chap chasing rainbows at the end of his session at the oche.
Propping up the rest at this early stage in proceedings are the Peripatetic Pensioners, this despite a splendid victory in the opening leg by Joe Lavery.
Thereafter, the Biased Boys run amok on Upper Lune Street, a run of four brushes in five games securing the victory at 5-1 to the good. Terry Beavers is this week’s star in the firmament for the Bowling Club, who take their foot of the gas in the latter stages as the Ashley reduce the final deficit to 5-3.
Meanwhile, a splendid encounter is taking place across town, as the Cricket Club and Strawberry Gardens go toe to toe down Broadwater.
Having at last ditched the responsibilities of captaincy, Steve Tonge ends his long barren run with victory for the visitors in the opening leg. Further wins for Andy Gratrix and top dog Ken Nield ease the visitors into a commanding lead, this before the hosts bounce back, courtesy of Tony Kemp and homme du match Jack Doyle.
A share of the spoils for Dean Stockell and Graham Hopkinson does little to ease the tension, until that is Ian Ball secures both points for the visitors in game seven. A last man stroll for Ian Stewart, although highly laudable, is too little and too late to save the day for the flannelled folk.
Finally this week, a clash of some note takes place on Dock Street, as Dockers ‘A’ and Highbury ‘A’ look to maintain their winning starts to the season.
A win in the opening leg for Scott Hayton gets the visitors off to the best of possible starts, this before Sean Slater’s impressive debut for the hosts levels things at 1-1. Back in front go the Highbury, courtesy of the returning Robert Dagger, an advantage immediately relinquished as Adam Blyth ties up the match at the halfway point.
Into the lead for the first time at 3-2 go the Dockerites, Mark Smith a proverbial man on a mission. But still, there are to be more twists to be had here than on a scenic railway when Eddie Miller squares things up again in game six. But then, when man of the match John Shaw makes it 4-3 to the visitors in the penultimate leg, things seem to be up for the hosts.
For stepping forward as last man for the Dockers is Dave Windle, often seen upon the green baize but rarely at the oche. And yet, after a deal of huffing and puffing, we see that the moustachioed troubadour has manoeuvred himself into a winning position.
Requiring 83 to win, Dave rattles in treble nineteen.
All eyes turn to double thirteen.
All eyes that is but those of our hero, who is staring intently at double twelve.
Thud, thud, go his darts, each just outside the erroneous two dozen bed.
“Whoa!, whoa!, whoa!” implores his captain.
“Oh! Oh! Oh!” groans the woebegone Windle.
I’ll leave you to guess where his next dart ended up.
Thanks for reading.