It is Halloween weekend in the port.
At around ten bells on Friday evening I am walking nervously along Lord Street.
Fingers of mist swirl around my aristocratic ankles.
I am careful to avoid the shadows.
For who knows what lurks within their inky darkness?
At last I see my brightly lit destination.
It looks like I’m going to make it.
But then, from around the corner before me, shuffle of a brace of ghoulish characters.
Slack of jaw, sunken of eye and droopy of shoulder they totter towards me.
I am just about to turn and flee for my life when one of the ghouls speaks.
“Battered!” he groans in a voice I immediately recognise.
Peering through the mist, I realise that the terrifying twosome before me are actually Steve Riley and Dave Coulborn from the Mount darts team.
I step aside and leave them to their sorrows.
For earlier in the evening the Olympians have been soundly upended away to Highbury ‘A’, this despite reaching the halfway stage all square at 2-2 thanks to early wins for Cavan Thake and top esplanader Rob Saunders.
But once man of the match Robert Dagger has eased the footballers ahead at the start of the second period, Olympian resolve evaporates like cobwebs in a breeze.
Further wins for John Shaw, Eddie Miller and Robert Job, allied to the first half successes of Scott Hayton and Carl Simey ensure that the champions of 2012 move three points clear of their previously undefeated opponents.
Continuing on my way, I am approaching the corner of Preston Street when I espy a second clutch of the walking dead in the distance. Thankfully, they are heading in the opposite direction.
Upon entering the Dockers, it immediately becomes apparent that the zombie gang I had just eyeballed are the Cons darts team. Having lost three games over the past two years, the defending champions have now suffered as many setbacks in the first nine games of the current campaign.
A quartet of first half wins for Tom Duggan, Lee Shewan, individual frontrunner Adam Blyth and a 110 outshot by man of the match Rob Melling takes the hosts to within touching distance of victory before the arrival of the buffet.
Wes Newton and likeliest Lothario Alan Ashton get the bats in the Dockers belfry fluttering in consternation as they reduce the deficit to 4-2 at the start of the second period.
But when Steve Cowell is pipped at the post by Anthony Hadgraft in the penultimate leg, joy is unconfined amongst the ranks of devilish Dockerites as they secure a priceless victory against their deadliest rivals.
Another bunch of ocheological ogres plodding their way across town this week are the Collapsibles, this after another horrible outing away at the Strawberry.
First half wins for Ian Ball and Andy Gratrix for the hosts are neatly counterbalanced by those by skipper Neil Buston and Steve Bridge for the Comrades. A splendid win for Lee Nield edges the hosts ahead at 3-2 in the second period, an advantage immediately doubled by premier punnet participant Graham Hopkinson.
Victory for Mark Brook keeps visitor hopes alive in game seven, hopes that are emphatically crushed when last man Steve Tonge secures both points in style at 5-3.
Like extras from a Michael Jackson video, the remnants of the Bowling Club squad stagger back to Upper Lune Street on Friday, this after being thoroughly transfused by the vampiric Vorkingmens.
The only reply to first half wins for best bat Brian Vood, Phil ‘Christopher’ Lee and John ‘Jugular’ Gregory, is a solitary one from the man with the spike, Mr. O’Connor.
Mistily shrouding the oche, the aptly named Peter Fogg extends the bloodsuckers advantage to 4-1, this before the garlic munching Les Ivison keeps the biased flame flickering in game six.
However, the game is soon up for the visitors. Simon Callighan it is who receives the fangs of his colleagues in securing another win for the tungsten Transylvanians. But still there is time for Mark Wilson to continue his wondrous unbeaten start to the season for the Bowlers, his last man standing performance reducing the final deficit to 5-3.
Elsewhere, acts of mindless violence are much in evidence and especially upon the Blasted Heath as the home side set about the hapless aged ones with all the gusto of a psychotic chainsaw purchaser somewhere down Texas way. Chris Garton it is who eviscerates his elderly opponent to best effect on Friday, whilst for the woefully under strength Ashley it is Mick Buckingham at least retains all his nether regions as the hosts romp home by 8-0.
Almost going the same way as the pensioners on Friday are the Cricketers, this after visitors the Blyth Spirits run amok down Broadwater by 7-1. James Kilburn alone returns intact from the oche for the hosts as Craig Gill leads the disembowelling with gusto for a rampant Dockers ‘B’.
Similarly slaughtered this week are the Femme Fatales, returning captain Trish Hughes a solitary success story in their tie against Deaduns, for whom Ian Spencer is delighted to take a long awaited stroll around the best of breed enclosure.
Finally on this spookiest of nights let us travel to the haunted mansion that is the Queens Hotel. Opening wins for Brad Ashton and ghoul of the game Ian Rees get the hosts off to a decidedly inhospitable start, this before the monster starts to twitch upon the oche.
With a fizz and a bang, the boys with bolted necks from Highbury ‘B’ lumber into life. Mike ‘The Butcher’ Gordon halves the deficit in game three, before Geoff ‘Emergency” Ward levels things at 2-2.
After slurping down the halftime offal buffet, the visitors continue to spread fear and consternation amongst the villagers. But after top terroriser Anthony Rhymes edges them ahead for the first time at 3-2, the locals decide that enough is enough.
With torches burning, Jamie Spore and Harold Rees drive the monster back to the windmill at 4-3.
Alas for the home side, last man Roy Stephenson isn’t ready to be incinerated. So it is that the Highbury ‘B’ player ends up with the sweetest feeling, this after edging past Jackie Wilson to save a point for the visitors.
Thanks for reading.