Darting around town with Roger Bleasdale

Fleetwood Friday Darts League review
Fleetwood Friday Darts League review

Some say that Faye McAdemy’s victory in the inaugural Scottish Women’s Golf Open of 1857 is the single most surprising result in sporting history.

Using only an upturned walking stick, the retired kipper smoker from Arbroath wins the title after a final round of 65 on the wind blasted links of Kirkcudbright.

Then again, there are the infamous African Rugby Cup winners of 1927.

Despite being behind 34-0 at the end of the first half, the Congo Cannibals come back to win 35-34 against the Mozambique Missionaries.

Questions still remain, however, about the unexplained disappearance of the Missionary’s entire back row during the interval.

And who amongst us will ever forget that magnificent night at the 1908 London Olympics, when Archie Longbottom set a new world record in the triple jump.

He never jumped again sadly, this after the IOC banned his spring loaded jockstrap.

But of course I’ve just made up all the aforementioned sporting achievements, each of which is as likely to happen as the Fuzzy Ducks emerging undefeated after consecutive matches against the top two teams in the league.

Seven days on from achieving an unlikely draw away to Dockers ‘A’, this week the Strawberry Slingers take on table toppers Highbury ‘A’.

Proving that captaincy is but one of life’s little mysteries still to be fathomed out, Strawberry skipper John Rowe immediately throws form horse Graham Hopkinson into the fray.

Visitor Robert Job duly wins with plenty to spare.

Second up, Lee Nield fares much better in levelling the match at 1-1.

Things continue to go the way of the home side when Steve Tonge edges the Ducks in front.

However, the natural order of things seems to have resumed, this after Scott Hayton squares the match at the halfway stage.

Into the second half and into the lead go the visitors courtesy of fifth man Mark Thwaites.

But still, the visitors aren’t able to shake off the fruity flechette flingers as Ian Ball makes it 3-3 after edging past visiting skipper John Shaw.

Two games to go and all to play for.

Step forward Johnny Johnstone.

Rarely to be mistaken during a game for a ray of sunshine, Mr. J sets about his opponent with grim determination.

After just six darts, the Highbury hurler requires 144.

Moments later, he turns from the board in triumph, a smile of cherubic benevolence lighting up the room; this after successfully skewering 60, 60 and 24.

This has surely squashed the Strawberries.

At this point I would like issue a bit of a warning to those amongst you of a delicate disposition. For what follows will not be pleasant reading, especially for those amongst you who have been anticipating a gentle stroll up Poulton Road later in the year, there to gather a brace of points at your leisure.

For minutes later, the very foundations of the pub are all a quiver; this after last man Ian Kempson snatches a point from the grasp of the visitors with the final darts of an enthralling encounter.

Meanwhile, the Blyth Spirits and Olympians are locking horns in another nail biter on Preston Street.

A hat trick of wins by Mikey Blyth, Chris Blyth Junior and Craig Gill sees the home side pull clear of their fourth in the table opponents. Indeed, it is only a win on the arrows for Kelvin Dahl that saves the Mount from falling 4-0 behind at the halfway point.

Man of the match Dave Coulborn, Steve Riley and Brian Bond (again on the arrows) make it four wins on the bounce for the visitors, a remarkable turn round and a 4-3 lead.

But still there is to be one final twist in the tale as skipper and man of the match Chris Blyth Senior sails serenely home to secure a point for the Spirits, severely denting the title aspirations of the esplanaders in doing so.

Elsewhere, a high quality encounter is taking place in Annie’s Attic between the Collapsibles and the Cons.

Dean Barker sets the standard with an opening leg of pyrotechnic precision for the visitors, this before Stan Billington, Mark Brook and top banana Gaz Whitehead record sub fifteen dart legs in easing the home side 3-1 ahead.

A rudimentary victory for Dave Smith in game five reduces the deficit to a solitary leg, this before Roy Gaskell takes centre stage with a maximum on his way to making it 3-3.

Now I have watched Steve Cowell throw darts for many years.

Well, not so much throw, as stroke the things into the board.

He is at it again on Friday.

Six darts stroked and just 36 remaining.

However, almost unnoticed, opponent Alan Taylor is picking off high scores with commendable regularity.

And when Steve stutters on his finish, Alan moves to within twenty of a remarkable win.

Sadly for the home side, normal service is resumed at this point, as the silky one finally hits double four to edge the visitors 4-3 ahead.

And that is more or less that, as last man Dale Newton squeezes home to secure both points, a result that moves the victors just a point behind league leaders Highbury ‘A’.

A win on the arrows by last man Erik Dahl saves a point for the Blasted Heathens in the dying embers of their match away to the Cricket Club.

Earlier, teammate Mark Mizon takes centre stage in levelling things at 2-2; this after man of the match Jimmy Pilling has edged the Cricketers in front in game three.

This is another excellent encounter between two sides that always seem to bring the best out of each other, the end result usually being, as on this occasion, a shared experience of the darting kind.

Paul Dagger is the star in the Dockers ‘A’ firmament this week, a 160 opener and a nine darts leg the highlight of their 7-1 victory over the Femme Fatales. With Adam Blyth stretching his unbeaten run to twenty games, it is left to Trish Hughes to save the blushes of the babes with victory in the final leg.

Also cantering home by 7-1 on Friday are Highbury ‘B’, Anthony Rhimes again the cherry on the cake as they steamroller the Peripatetic Pensioners. With skipper Dave Grigg still recuperating, it is left to Dave Yates to provide as little solace for the Sanatogen Sippers.

Mike Tallentire is again best for the Queens Hotel as they continue their remarkable metamorphism. A 6-2 victory over visitors the Workingmens tightens their grip on fifth spot, this despite another splendid performance from outstanding oriental Steve Gray.

Finally, Ian Ivison is adjudged best of breed for the Biased Boys, for whom Mark Wilson continues his relentless pursuit of averages favourite Adam Blyth.

The Pride of Daventry, Dave Hewitt gets the nod from the judges in a 6-2 defeat for Deaduns, a team that would surely benefit from a spring loaded jockstrap or two.

Thanks for reading.