Darting around town with Roger Bleasdale

Fleetwood Friday Darts League review
Fleetwood Friday Darts League review

Seventeen years have passed since my first feuilleton appeared in the Weekly News.

Seventeen years have passed since my first feuilleton appeared in the Weekly News.

Naively, I thought I had been asked by the editor to write about life as a gentleman farmer.

How was I to know that the paper had learned of my ocheological obsession?

Ken Hardly-Reed, the scurrilous editor, cared not a jot for matters agricultural.

What he wanted was a darts column.

So it is, dear reader, that you will be forever ignorant about the latest sheep worming techniques.

Never, will you learn how to make a bathing cap from a pig’s lower intestine.

Instead, I have to tell you that middle-aged Cons star Wesley Newton finished on 128 this week.

Darts, you see, doesn’t really change, unlike sheep worming.

For back in September 1999, I reported in my very first column that young Cutty Sark star Wesley Newton finished on 128.

Back in the day, he did it against the Cricket Club.

This time it is against the Royal Oak, for whom skipper Tony Brogden flies a solitary flag of resistance.

This crushing win for the defending champs keeps up the pressure on both Highbury ‘A’ and Dockers ‘A’, albeit that this week they also recorded 7-1 victories over the Femme Fatales and Beach Road Boys respectively.

Scott Hayton is best on the night for the Highbury, with Typhoon Tracey emphatically efficient for the lugubrious lasses.

Similarly, Mark Shewan is pyrotechnically precise in taking centre stage for the Dockers, whilst Harold Rees alone retains his savoir faire for the querulous Queens.

Hanging onto the coat tails of the top three are the Mount, this after a second half clean sweep over the discombobulated Comrades.

Rob Saunders delivers eleven tremendous tungstens in sweeping his way to victory for the Olympians, with Stan Billington unsurprisingly best for the 6-2 losers.

Elsewhere, the Biased Boys go nap against visitors Highbury ‘B’.

Steve Stanhope is ruthlessly rigorous for the belligerent Bowling Club as they sweep aside the opposition by 8-0.

The Workingmens ease past the challenge of the Cricket Club by 5-3, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Reb Hogg.

Jimmy Pilling is again the favourite flannelled fool, as he pulls clear of the local opposition in the race for a Champion of Champions spot.

The Blasted Heathens continue to be upwardly mobile, this week emerging triumphant by 6-2 against visitors the Fuzzy Ducks.

Al Morley is head heathen this time around, with the returning Andy Gratrix best for the squashed strawberries.

Our final league encounter this week takes place in the Land That Cabs Forgot.

From 3-0 down, the Blyth Spirits scrabble back into the match before eventually settling for a share of the spoils at 4-4.

Dave Yates books his place in the big slipper for the peripatetics, with Craig Gill best on the night for a resilient Dockers ‘B’ outfit.

That would be the same Craig Gill who won the match for the Mount at the Kings Arms nineteen years ago.

The quarter finals of the Team Knockout trundled by without upset earlier in the week, although Dockers ‘A’ had last man Mark Shewan to thank for a wafer thin 5-3 victory over obdurate opponents the Bowling Club.

Similarly relieved are Highbury ‘A’, this after a brace of late wins for Scott Hayton and John Shaw see them through by the same scoreline against Dockers ‘B’.

No problems though for the Cons and the Mount as they ease comfortably through to the semi finals against the Collapsibles and Cricket Club respectively.

As usual, all the fun is taking place in the Plate and nowhere more so than on Kemp Street, as the Workingmens and Strawberry go at it toe to toe.

The home side take an early lead through Reb Hogg, this before Andy Gratrix levels things up at 1-1.

Back ahead go the home side through Steve Gray, only for Graham Hopkinson to square things at 2-2.

Things seem to be going the way of the 2013 and 2014 winners, as Ian Ball and Lee Nield take the Strawberry to within touching distance of victory at 4-2.

But back bounce the Orientals through Brian Woods and Brian Wilson.

Extra time needed.

5-4 to the Fuzzy Ducks courtesy of Graham Hopkinson soon becomes 5-5 as homester Brian Woods replies in kind.

And a tremendous match finally goes the way of the Workies as Reb Hogg chalks up his third win of the week.

Also going all the way are the Blasted Heathens and Peripatetic Pensioners.

Home wins for Gav Billington, Chris Garton, Tony Ashburn and Al Morley ease the hosts ahead at 4-2.

But the ocheological octogenarians refuse to buckle, a share of the spoils snatched at the death by Harold Davies and last man Dave Yates.

Alas for the aged ones, Gav Billington and Al Morley prove too strong in the play offs, a 6-4 win ensuring a semi final spot on Good Friday.

The Queens scrabble across the winning line in regulation time against the Darting Dames, a draw on the arrows for last man Ian Rees just enough to see them through by the very narrowest of margins.

Finally, a comfortable 6-2 victory for Highbury ‘B’ over the Royal Oak books their place in the last four.

Amongst their winners are John Shaw, Andy Helsby and Geoff Ward, who by coincidence also won in an 8-0 thrashing of Fleetwood Gym nineteen years ago.

Now while all that has been very interesting, I’m sure you would much rather have learned something about bovine castration.

First you get the creature by the throat.

Then you get a pair of pliers.


Which reminds me.

Andy Blyth is still unbeaten with just nine league matches remaining.

Thanks for reading.