I have been struggling to reach the board with my darts recently.
Well, since 1995 to be exact.
That was the year I became Head of Clipboards for the local council.
As a result, my arms are now ridiculously weedy.
A few visits to the gym would probably help.
But sadly I have a natural aversion to sweat.
I had all but given up hopes of a return to the oche.
Until, that is, I stumbled across a slim volume in the local charity shop.
“Isometrics for the Weedy” is its snappy title.
Its author claims that, if you strain every muscle when carrying out mundane tasks, your body will eventually become a rippling powerhouse.
I now lift the telephone as though it weighs a ton.
My knuckles turn white as I grip the cutlery during breakfast in bed.
The sinews in my neck bulge alarmingly when I read the morning paper.
It seems to be working.
Throwing from four feet away, today I managed to stick three darts in the board.
I feel I am well on the way to becoming muscle-bound.
Unfortunately, I will never be as muscular as Adam Blyth, a man who probably tears telephone directories to shreds with his teeth each morning.
On Friday, the Dockers ‘A’ star claims his nineteenth consecutive victory of the campaign, opening up a seven point lead over an increasingly forlorn chasing pack.
And aren’t the Preston Street outfit glad to have him in their ranks, this after visitors the Strawberry Gardens give their hosts an almighty scare.
Having moved smoothly ahead courtesy of Tommy Duggan, the home side soon find themselves in arrears after Ken Nield and Curtis Sandercock record splendid wins for the Strawberry.
However, the natural order of things seem to have been restored as man of the match Paul Dagger, the aforementioned Adam and skipper Paul McCann all win to leave the homesters within a whisker of victory at 4-2 to the good.
But a point is all the second in the table Dockers are to get this time out, as pick of the punnet Graham Hopkinson and last man Steve Tonge snatch an unexpected draw in the dying embers of the match.
Little wonder the darts room at the Dockers is deserted when I enter around ten bells, keen to take on all comers from four feet.
Defending champions the Cons move into a share of second spot on Friday, Wesley Newton hitting a maximum in their close run 5-3 victory over a Chris Blyth Junior inspired Dockers ‘B’ outfit.
Also recording a narrow 5-3 win this week are the fourth placed Olympians. Cavan Thake is best on the night for the victorious Mount, with Anthony Rhimes again at the top of his game for the frustrated flingers from Highbury ‘B’.
Highbury ‘B’ ease into a two point lead at the top of the table, this after seeing off the challenge of an under strength Cricket Club. Robert Gagger is effortlessly efficient in securing another man of the man nomination for the 6-2 victors, with Matty Kilburn best on the night for the frustrated flannelled fellows.
A splendid bun-fight takes place upon the Blasted Heath this week, as the Taverners go at it toe to toe with visitors the Beach Road Boys.
A brace of pleasing performances by Head Heathen Gav Billington and Chris Garton get the home side off to the very best of starts.
Pretty soon though, things are beautifully juxtaposed after man of the match Mike Tallentire and Jack Wilson reply in kind for 2-2.
A debut win for Chris Proud edges the home side in front at the start of the second period, this before Lee Howell and Jamie Spore both win and in doing so ensure that the Queens move up into fifth spot in the table.
Happily for the homesters, they have a second debutante waiting in the wings.
As yet untrammelled by the bitter taste of defeat, last man Paul Goodfellow eventually makes it across the winning line, serenely oblivious to the fact that his efforts have saved the Face of Sleepy Time Pillows from another sleepless night.
Meanwhile in deepest Thornton, the match between bottom feeders the Peripatetic Pensioners and Deaduns is spluttering to an inconclusive conclusion. Keith Higham extends his unbeaten run to two matches for the aged ones, this before Eddie Atkin stars in helping the visitors take a 4-2 lead.
But when Mick Buckingham reduces the deficit to a solitary leg in the penultimate game, try as they might the visitors cannot find an eighth man.
Agent 301 (disguised as a coat stand) was asked to participate but claimed diplomatic immunity.
So 4-4 it ends; a result that does little for the title aspirations of either side.
Still though, they remain above the Femme Fatales.
A 6-2 home defeat at the hands of the Workingmens leaves the ladies firmly entrenched at the bottom of the table.
Sheila Clarke is dame of the game for the losers, with Phil Lee best on the night for the untroubled Orientals.
Finally this week, a peculiar encounter is unfolding upon Upper Lune Street.
At times the home side are ridiculously good, none more so than in the opening stages when Ian Ivison, top stick Alan Jackson and Mark Wilson all win to leave the Collapsible Comrades floundering like a gaffed halibut.
A win for Kevin Morris finally gets the visitors off and running in game four, a temporary setback for the belligerent biased boys however as Terry Beavers soon has them back in charge at 4-1.
Lenny Billington reduces the deficit in game six and things seem to be moving nicely in the direction of the visitors when sibling Stan soars ahead in the penultimate leg. But then, an exuberant finish by Phil Stanhope takes the tie away for the Comrades, just when salvation seems imminent.
With the match lost, a splendid performance by Gaz Whitehead at least gives the visiting contingent something to smile about, as they head off dejectedly into the night.
When they are gone, I head to the oche to throw a few darts into the Axminster from 7’9”.
Thanks for reading.