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The names of the Nobel Prize nominees are not revealed until 50 years after the event. This adds a certain fascination to the awards given out. Who did the eventual winner beat? Was he or she up against the cream?

Date: :: Source: Bolton

Max Brooks knows very little about Rocky Balboa yet skips five times a week – outside, near the back gate. Such rhythmic poise augments his low centre of gravity and remarkable balance. He claims to stand 5’ 6” tall although one suspects that underneath the slicked-back, mountainous hair he is actually 5’ 5.

Date: :: Source: Bolton

He has the hard jaw of youth – an almost inert face that gives very little away. After speaking to him, you do not get the sense that he has won anything, but rather lost. There is a bit of the dour Scot in him – a solemn, behind-the-eyes weighing up of events.

Date: :: Source: Bolton

Hard to watch the normal matches, the gentle drift of ping-pong balls, when an evening opens up with such a classic. Usually there is a logical order to things, a slow increase in the Hilton Centre’s voltage by dint of talent: Level Veterans’ (40+) Singles final first, Level Doubles somewhere in the middle, and finally the Level Singles – supposedly the big boys without the creaks.

Date: :: Source: Bolton

Never a big crowd, but then the people of Bolton remain largely unaware of this April feast. One half expects the players to size up the place in their suits beforehand, check out the ‘turf’ and see if their honed abilities are suited to the generous surroundings.

Date: :: Source: Bolton

I can get hold of 5 brand new full size training tables.....

Date: :: Source: Bolton

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