The summer league was in town again on Monday night ... the Garfinians were away on holiday and the teams had been allowed to self source. A dangerous precedent was being set ... supposedly grown men were sitting around chatting ... wondering when we start ... mildly interested in locating the match card ... and generally bemused by this devolved responsibility.
Titans Cappo Nev arrived on the stroke of kick off time ... he had decided to cycle to the match and arrived in a bit of a lather ... he was first up against Crusader Murphy ... he settled straight into the routine and won in two straights. One nil to Titans.
Absent Nolan had been replaced by Smiler Whitworth and he was pitted against the Chadster ... a sort of Soucerer versus Soucerer’s Apprentice encounter ... the coaching had worked well ... Gary was victim of his own success as Jacob ran out the winner.
Davie Jones v Kenneth Wolstenholme ... the heatwave had abated so Kenneth was back in winter fleece and long johns ... and Kenneth chose the right strategy to win it for Titans. When Martin beat Sandra the Titans were nudging ahead and then the Patterson/Wolstenholme combo took the doubles and it was 4-1 to Titans ... they were on a roll.
But young Jacob was on fire and he helped the Crusaders cause, quickly followed by a good win for Sandra ... it was soon back to a more realistic score ... we had now arrived at the two pivotal games on the match card ... the number 2’s and number 1’s playing each other. First up the number 2’s ... Steve Murphy breezed through the first against Kenneth Wolstholme ... a quick strategy change by Kenneth and he then breezed through the next two ... a game of two half’s (that was actually played over three thirds).
We were then treated to the match of the summer league season ... Davie Jones v Cappo Nev ... Davie was straight out of the blocks knocking the ball past Nev at great speed and taking the first 11-7 ... he was controlling the play ... only for Nev to regain composure and control ... he took the second by the same score ... this continued into the final set, Nev dominated play and led all the way ... 10-6 ... four match points ... it was such a foregone conclusion that players for the next game were readying themselves with press-ups, stretches and pre-match meditation.
But Davie Jones had a few tricks in his locker ... he unleashed a magical topspin winner to make it 10-7 ... then another ... and another ... he not only got it to 10-all but then held match point at 11-10 ... strains of ‘I’m a Believer‘ rang out from the capacity crowd ... what a come back ... but Nev wasn’t interested in his monkey business ... he saved match point and we then had a right ding-dong exchange of match points.
The finish in sight ... 17-16 to Davie Jones ... whoops! Cappo Nev has made a mistake ... he’s lifted the ball way too high ... Jones thwacked it with such force it was just a blur ... passers-by thought it was a clap of thunder ... he set off to shake Nev’s hand. But wait ... Nev has flailed his long right arm in the direction of the ball ... blink and you missed it ... and the ball plopped back over the net ... it was 17-all. Cappo ‘Stretch Armstrong’ Nev kept it tight for two more points to nick it 19-17. A fabulous game ... hands were shaken ... people were on the pitch ... though strangely not Kenneth Wolstholme.
High drama was followed by comedy ... chuckle brothers Gary and Martin were easily beaten by the Sandra/Jacob combo ... and when Steve beat Martin in the following singles match Crusaders had got themselves back in it ... with just one rubber separating the teams.
The last three matches went with the form book ... Nev and Kenneth both won points for Titans giving them both a 100% record on the night ... whilst Davie Jones won the final match of the night for Crusaders ... final score 8-6 to Titans ... but news came though that Dragons had also won and had knocked Titans off top spot, so celebrations were short lived
In the Five Live phone-in Micky Dolenz called to say “Davie was unlucky tonight” ... and Ken Barlow used the dial phone in the Hall to ring to say how good he’d been on Coronation Street ... strangely nobody had realised that this was an altogether different Davie Jones. This Davie Jones simply put his bat into his locker and trundled off home.