Piethons were unchanged ... Gary Chambers, Daniel Watkinson and Frankie McConville was their running order ... McConville Snr was there for tactical guidance and general encouragement ... the Rainford line up was Nick ‘the Knife’ Foss, Martin ‘Smash Scamperer’ Machin and Ray ‘doesn’t yet have a nickname‘ Hibbs. There was controversy about the non selection of Lawrenson ... the pre match question in the Sky Sports studio was about the Smash subs bench “obviously Smash like a strong bench” ... the pre match answer was ”yes, Darren has eaten too many pies recently so we have reinforced the bench”.
Pre match nonsense over and the game began in earnest ... first up on the stroke of 7.30 was the Smash numero uno, Nick the Knife, against the Division Two numero uno Daniel Watkinson ... experience versus youth ... youth had the match won by the time the clock struck 7.40. Machin returned the favour beating Chambers in straights sets ... a nicely balanced start to proceedings.
Frankie started well against Ray winning the first 11-5 ... then Ray won the next by the same margin and we found ourselves in a fifth set at ten all ... Ray squandered three match points ... then at 13-12 it was match point Frankie ... but somehow Ray dipped deep into his bag of tricks and conjured up a 15-13 win.
The Piethons travelling support had all gone quiet ... or was he just on his phone sending a text?
Demolition Daniel v the Smash Scamperer ... and the first goes to the Rainford lad ... this only served to annoy Demolition Dan and he splattered Machin 11-2 in the next ... after much smashing and much chasing of lost causes it was 2-2 ... Demolition Dan was on the ropes ... it turns out he quite likes it on the ropes and he won in the fifth ... eight all on the night.
Fun Time Frankie beat Nick the Knife 3-1 and then in the doubles the Smash combo didn’t really perform and went down in straight sets. There was a bat incident when Demolition Dan took a big chunk out of his rubber ... this infuriated him so much that he played even better.
Ray (still no nickname, suggestions on a post card please) versus Gary ... 2-1 to Ray ... and Gary was down six match points in the fourth at 10-4 ... 10-6 (a spirited fight) ... 10-8 ( surely not) ... 10-9 (he couldn’t possibly) ... 10-10 (what a comeback) ... it was like watching a man climb Everest ... and then when he goes to plant the flag he falls off ... 12-10 to Ray.
Piethons led 15-12 with three to play ... and each of the final three games were done and dusted in straight sets ... Fun Time Frankie walloped the Smash Scamperer ... Demolition Dan walloped the man with no nickname ... and Nick the knife had a return to form beating Gary in the last match. Final score 21-15 to Piethons and Demolition Dan was the man on the match ... Fun Time Frankie was a close second. Both winners and losers had enjoyed a night of high octane table tennis.
In order to appeal to the teenage audience Sky Sports had Justin Bieber as the guest pundit ... “BTW that was bad ... and FYI that means good ... some of the shots were totes amazeballs, TBH I didn’t know old guys played table tennis”. Thanks for that Justin.
Mighty Joe had been watching the match on the big tele in the Sports Room ... he looked a tad confused by the Bieber text speak, he said “Does BTW mean Bring The Wheelchair? If it does then tell my nurse to BTW” ... and whilst his nurse went looking for the wheelchair Mighty Joe made his way home on Shanks’s pony ... you literally couldn’t make this stuff up.