As winter continues its relentless miserable progress and the days shrink to the length of a depressive sigh, so a man’s thoughts are apt to become somewhat melancholic in timbre.
Little wonder then that the furrows upon my aristocratic forehead resemble trenches upon a battlefield, as I look sadly out of my boudoir window at Bleasdale Towers.
It being New Year’s Day morning, tradition has it that I would be approaching the green on the eighteenth hole of my private golf course. After relieving Fotheringay of his five pounds stake, I would then retire to the great hall for mulled wine, turkey baps and a few games of piglet spinning.
Sadly, this year’s festivities have had to be cancelled as the golf course and ground floor of the ancient pile are both under water. Bristow’s Brook, normally an inoffensive trickle meandering alongside the eighteenth fairway has become a raging torrent.
Just then, I spot Fotheringay doggy paddling up the main drive. He is swimming back from the newsagents with my morning paper.
Minutes later he squelches up the grand staircase and enters the bedroom.
As he drips upon the carpet, I can see from his wizened features that the news is not good.
“Maybe next year Sir”, he says whilst handing me the soggy newspaper.
“But I was so sure it would happen”, I snivel.
“Well Sir, I did expect to see your name in the paper after hearing that Peggy Mitchell was to become a dame.”
So it is that I will have to wait another year before feeling the gentle caress of the royal sword upon my impeccably tailored shoulder.
Another twelve months until I bow my head and sink slowly to my knees, which is pretty much the position that the Strawberry Gardens darts team find themselves on the first day of 2016, this after being roundly thrashed by the Queens Hotel.
Curtis Sandercock alone returns triumphant down Poulton Road on Friday, this after their Brad Ashton inspired opponents stroll nonchalantly to a comfortable 7-1 victory.
Meanwhile, the Femme Fatales are busy welcoming in the New Year down Broadwater.
After falling behind at the hands of Cricket Club opener Tony Kemp, before long they have taken the lead following a brace of wins for dame of the game Typhoon Tracey and Ellie McCaul. Ere long however, the flannelled frolickers are back level, courtesy of man of the match Darren Rathbone.
Rumour has it that Carol Evans goes down on one knee to hit her winning double in making it 3-2 for the lasses, this before Eddie Fitton secures his first win of the campaign in squaring the game in game six. Alas, that is to be as good as it gets for the home side as Margaret Garner and last lady Trish Hughes secure the victories needed to record win number two of the season for the delighted darting damsels.
Elsewhere, table toppers Dockers ‘A’ are maintaining their slender advantage at the top of the pile with a 6-2 victory over visitors the Blasted Heathens. A quartet of first half wins by Tom Duggan, Lee Shewan, Adam Blyth and top banana Mark Shewan sees the hosts firmly in command at the halfway stage.
And although the Taverners manage to secure a couple of shared experiences at the start of the second period, the points have long been lost when last man Gavin Billington finally secures a win to take back to Rossall.
Still a point adrift in second place are Highbury ‘A’, the highlight of their 7-1 win away to the Workingmens a ten darts masterclass from Scott Hayton. For the overpowered Orientals, it is once again Steve Gray who takes top billing, his eleventh win of the season ensuring that the Kemp Street outfit avoids the ignominy of a New Year whitewash.
Defending champions Fleetwood Cons maintain their pursuit of the top two with a convincing 6-2 win away at the Bowling Club. The Dean Barker inspired visitors are safely home and hosed at 5-0 to the good, this before man of the match Mark Wilson and Chris Donnelly inflict a dent or two to the individual title aspirations of Dale Newton and Steve Hadgraft respectively.
The Royal Oak continue their downward spiral with a 5-3 defeat at the hands of Highbury ‘B’, a solitary point now their margin of safety above the victorious Ladies that Lob. Roy Stephenson is bright eyed and bushy tailed in taking centre stage for the victors, with Billy White best on the night for the deflated Deaduns.
Also going down by 5-3 are the Collapsible Comrades, this despite another splendid man of the match performance from Stan Billington. Everywhere you look, Blyths are chalking up wins in Annie’s Attic, the best of them once again the oft underrated Cliff Blyth.
Finally, as we wait for the flood waters to subside, let us travel along the esplanade to the Mount Hotel.
This particular hostelry has always been a challenging venue for visitors the Peripatetic Pensioners, given the number of steps they have to drag their arthritic limbs up before entering. A plentiful supply of oxygen and Sanatogen compresses are needed to get them through the front door.
Little wonder then that they soon find themselves 2-0 in arrears as outstanding Olympian Steve Riley and Andy Parry Jones ease the hosts ahead at the start of proceedings.
Finally the internal organs of their aged opponents start to function as Joe Lavery and svelte septuagenarian Mick Buckingham pull the visitors level by halftime.
A shared experience between Brian Bond and Harold Davies does little to ease the worries of the home side at the start of the second period, albeit that sighs of relief can be heard when Jimmy Reilly edges the hosts ahead in game six.
But then, Heavens to Murgatroyd! The ancient ones level things up again in the penultimate leg when Geoff Moyle sees off Cavan Thake, who had been third in the league averages until Friday.
Sadly for the elderly eight, waiting to take his place at the oche for the hosts in the final game is the suave and debonair Dave Coulborn. Suffice it to say that Mr C. Looks more like Worzel Gummidge at the end of proceedings; his wafer thin victory over a resilient Dave Yates just about keeping the Mount in contention for this season’s league title.
Thanks for reading.