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|11-5 8-11 9-11 2-11||0-1|
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|11-6 8-11 11-6 6-11 11-8||1-0|
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|Recorded By: David Unwin||8 - 2|
Sugar Puffs 8-2 Bury Vikings -
10/01/2018 - Bob Harman -
THE LAWSHALL LADS
Welcome, I am the Silver Surfer, born to observe and relay information, and while some things I see go unsaid, not many I will grant you that, I witness all manner of behaviour on display in the headlong rush to reach the magic figure of 11 in our great sport - a kaleidoscope of emotions and utterances by all and sundry, while some stay sagely silent whatever befalls them in the course of a good, bad or even ugly game. And friendships – I bear witness to some great ones within teams, many which have been together for far too long to admit to, some that split asunder and go their own way usually for good reason. Pop the kettle on or maybe grab a stronger drink, whatever suits, while I recall the first of some of the memorable double acts who have graced our top division and see what makes them tick, and sometimes even explode!
Firstly and quite appropriately since we played the Vikings last night, meet Clive ‘The Viking’ Grimwood and his trusty now former sidekick Dennis ‘The Saxon’ Morgan, both formerly of Lawshall TTC – their home base for many a year before the great flood of 2014, which devastated their village hall and the venerable old ping table with its even older net, which floated together down the village high street with Harry the heron on board for the ride, clearly enjoying his new elevated position looking for fish while balancing nimbly on the bobbing net – a net which had seen any amount of action over many decades judged by her distressed look, the loose Lady Alice of Lawshall as we dubbed her.
This image of Harry’s white knuckle ride clearly shocked many gawping villagers, all as high as kites perched on sandbags on their muddy doorsteps, all believing that Harry had his spindly legs caught in some gruesome looking landing net sprawled right across the table, clearly hitching a high speed lift downstream to the local vet for some much needed medicinal compound and extrication.
I am happy to report that Harry unsurprisingly survived the apparent trauma unscathed, but not so Lady Alice, who disappeared like an eel down a drain never to be seen again, just before the table was totally wrecked as it smashed into the village bobby’s Morris Minor parked outside his house. This shocking development was all too much for Clive and Dennis, who have yet to step foot back in the village hall to this day since her ladyship’s sad demise, and as I understand it, it was they who arranged for a blue plaque to be placed on the side of the new village hall, in memory of their beloved Lady Alice, who had been there for them since they were both in short trousers and knee high to a grasshopper.
The duo then had a brief spell together playing their home games at British Sugar for just the one season, but even when the village hall was finally rebuilt, it was to be a journey to Kegs in Bury from now on for their weekly ping activity. I still can't get used to the Lawshall lads not actually playing in the same team together any more - quite why they have decided to play in different teams in their new club since Clive’s return to the top flight following a bad knee injury, I’m not really sure. But I and many others miss their combined dry wit and banter off court, it must be purely circumstantial that they are no longer a double act, as we all know they will always be great pals.
Both are well respected by their peers too, both deemed quality opponents with few if any apparent flaws to their game, well ok perhaps Clive’s forehand kill needs a bit of work on it, but to his eternal credit, he has recently changed the whole look of his forehand and backhand drives as he proudly announced and then demonstrated in the first knock-up of the evening. But some things never change, like Clive’s rocking back and forth like a metronome when either pushing or chopping the ball, which seems to have a distinctly mesmeric effect on any number of his opponents, who seem to crumble under the intense pressure and quality of the shots they face. All I can relay is that he has to be one of the hardest players to hit through in the local League – and if he ever gets that errant forehand kill sorted out, it’ll be like playing the Devil himself!
I will hold back for now on discussing Dennis’ current form until I see him in the flesh on the table so to speak, as we have only crossed paths out walking our hounds of late. But his results since his return from a recent gardening accident have been very good, including a superb straight sets win this very week over none other than the very talented but equally very landlocked Sean Gridley, a good friend of the Puffs and a most welcome addition to our Christmas bowling and curry jamboree last month.
The match itself? It would quite possibly have been another 10-0 for the Puffs if Will Hall had been operating at anything like his best, but it wasn’t to be, and a recent dip in form on the practice table reared its head here, with both Clive and Terry Thompson rightly taking full advantage of the golden ticket offered to them by a very lacklustre Will. Nevertheless, I have a feeling that a visit to Kegs next week taking on our main opposition in their own backyard will be enough to inspire Will to a return to something like his best form.
All in all, a very enjoyable evening, with Alan Brafield’s famed forehand swipes probably the most discussed topic in the cheap seats - he is one player you cannot afford to drop the ball short to, as he’s all over it like a rash. Good luck to anyone in the division when Alan is on the money, as the man doesn’t know the meaning of taking a backward step and crucially rushes you in the process.