British Sugar 9-1 Thurston Vulcans
12/12/2016 - Bob Harman
Meet Dom ‘Wrecking Ball’ Melero, Deadly Demolition Man
HEY MR TAMBOURINE MAN…
A case of switched venues due to non-availability of the Sugar Hall, due to a cult-style multiple Zumba wedding reception, was the order of the night, with the availability of floor space of sorts in the main hall at Thurston Community Centre. So it was game on, and two days early! Plus we were graced with the presence of an even bigger than usual Christmas tree, donated by those kind people of Oslo, which for some unknown reason ended up this year in sleepy old Thurston instead of London’s teeming Trafalgar Square. Who switched the lights on this year you might be wondering? Of course none other than that renowned master of disguise, the genial Gordon Meadows, who got the gig I hear dressed as Bob Dylan, proper rock Royalty indeed. The times they are a changing…
YOU SHAKE IT TO THE LEFT…
On a similar theme, we did have unconfirmed sightings on the night of other ’famous’ beings, none other than Jeremy Corbyn, appeared to be sitting between our table and the next, presumably waiting for his chance to introduce his own peculiar brand of spin to a very ordinary looking game. When was asked politely to move for his own safety from his current seat, he flatly refused to budge to the right despite heavily encroaching on our sardine-tin-narrow space and risking getting a whack from a forehand on the back of his head! It was only some time later in the evening that I was told that it was actually Thurston's Ian Freeman and not the revered Labour Party leader at all - in my defence, they do say everyone has a doppelganger…and Ian's is surely the immovable Mr. Corbyn. There were also a number of unconfirmed sightings of Jesus Christ through the evening, or at least someone dressed like and I gather purporting to be Him, interrupting both matches walking serenely through from the vast practice area to the exit door without warning, often gliding across mid point. He’s visiting the loo far too many times for a relatively young chap with lengthy locks I thought, an act which clearly met with much annoyance and bluster from the usually ultra-calm-seen-it-all-before Colin Davies playing on the end table by the door. Hang on, have I got the wrong guy there again? Oh well, must have caught him on a bad night eh!
WILL ON THE CLOCK?
Sean Gridley and Bob Harman kicked off proceedings, with Sean struggling to match Bob in the first two legs, but he dug deep and showed real fighting qualities in the third and fourth legs to level up the match after landing both games by a whisker, saving numerous match points in the process. Fortunately for the League leaders, Bob got off to a flier in the decider, fluking no less than five consecutive nets and edges in the first six points, which effectively ended Sean’s brave challenge. Meanwhile, even at this point, Will Hall was looking at his watch, just itching to get on with things as he often is when playing away at Thurston on a Monday night….more will be revealed shortly.
ENTER THE DRAGON
Coping with frustration is something most seasoned or even unseasoned sportsmen and women have to manage at all levels, and in recent weeks on my travels, I have seen the Full Monty of ping player reaction to underperforming or as a direct result of the rub of the green going against them. Some remedies work for some, but not for others. These have ranged from the truly bizarre, involving banging a wrist, then an arm and then a head with some force on a wooden floor (their own wrist, arm and head fortunately, but even so definitely not to be recommended) through to everyday Anglo-Saxon utterances you might expect at Billingsgate fish market. Also smashing some equipment too works as a release of pressure for some, more often than not involving the long suffering ball.
Enter the dragon, a much miffed Dom Melero, choosing to demolish the match ball at 0-2 down in sets against an admittedly rejuvenated Andy Janes, who was playing out of his skin. Dom unleashed the sort of raw power that only Bruce Lee could have matched, not even three pumped pandas working in tandem can even dent these new balls, but our own ‘Wrecking Ball’ managed it effortlessly with one swinging blow. It was actually a sign of things to come as the week progressed, which added a bit of excitement to our team’s Christmas outing later in the week, more about that shortly…to his credit, our Wrecking Ball did turn it around to beat Andy 3-2, despite a near monumental wobble in the third set from 10-3 up, narrowing avoiding a deuce situation with an edge ball. Fine margins indeed…
WILL WINGS IT!
As the evening moved on, the Sugar boys started to shift up a gear, with Will Hall as mentioned particularly keen to speed up proceedings, winning his matches and the doubles in double quick time and in fairly effortless fashion, with a view to taking up his usual Monday night seat inside the local hostelry snug, checking out the curves of the young barmaid there, who clearly likes him and attends to his every need, mostly pulling his pint and reaching for his preferred snack, a bag of dry-roasted Nobby’s nuts.
It wasn’t to be Sean’s or Andy’s night, but in-form Sonja Talbot, despite not taking a leg against either Bob or Will who both clearly give her trouble in terms of styles, nevertheless tamed the Wrecking Ball in four hotly-contested sets, with a series of attacking leftie smacks that Jez Corbyn would have applauded had he indeed shown up. So at 10.15pm, Will got his wish and took up his usual posi in the pub afterwards, going through his usual routine. All sat down pint in hand, we agreed it was an enjoyable match as ever against Sean’s team and that evergreen Andy Janes is undoubtedly the most improved player in Division 1 this season - his backhand has always been a serious weapon and he has worked hard recently on getting the forehand up to scratch too.
WRECKING BALL STRIKES AGAIN!! WILL DOES NOT…
Moving forward a couple of evenings, fresh from a flying visit to Texas where he managed a night of tenpin bowling which obviously did him the power of good, Wrecking Ball kept the demolition theme going at Bury Bowl on our pre Christmas bowling/curry outing – skittles violated, smashed in all directions in true Wrecking Ball style as he hit an impressive 6 strikes for a superb game total of 190, more than 50 clear of the other hapless Sugar boys, which included the ever popular but currently sidelined Pete ‘Best’ Kemp, the fifth Beatle in our line-up.
Mark James came out an honourable second overall, with an action so silky smooth it had to be seen to be believed, coupled with a run up longer than Jimmy Anderson’s - silent and almost deadly, with a hint of reverse swing, a velvet touch clearly honed from his summer bowls prowess, which I understand he is pretty useful at too. Will was, as in the pub three days earlier, unsurprisingly struggling for focus, far more interested in the considerable female talent on parade in Bury Bowl than bothering about hitting a strike, which he failed to achieve in no less than 40 attempts! I do wonder if a set of blinkers are needed for our youngest team member, gelding would be a tad drastic at this stage!