Mini Match Report Princes St A 5 Princes St B 5
After the craziness seen at the Hall of Happiness on Monday (chaperone , spies , zooloogist and heckler ) many thought that the league would be forced to take some action - and they did , closing the arena to all spectators for the game.
Arriving early to supervise the new table being put up this reporter was struck by the eerie atmosphere in Princes Street , not a soul about , no-one queuing to get in.
He was soon joined by Messrs Hibbs & Wilson ( that well known firm of solicitors ) to ready the new table for the match. Thanks to a supply of little blue tablets the erection was soon achieved but what was clear was that the press release given by captain Darren Jose Taylor was correct - Matty was injured having sprained his ankle and was out of the match.
Yet more drama ensued when the reporter got a call from Josiah Nix to explain that he was ill and couldn't play - surely nothing to do with Joe Brolly having a last minute cancellation and being able to fit him in for a "short back and sides" - whatever that is.
Fortunately the reporter had his bat and a pair of trainers 2 sizes too big for him in the car and was able to replace Josiah.
Darren then arrived and it was clear he had been tearing his hair out all week . Clearly upset at last week's performance this was compounded by Michael Stewart being unavailable. However he then pulled a rabbit of massive propotions out of his hat ( it could even have been a hare ) by announcing that the subs were Colin Turner ( of Liverpool division 1 fame ) and Southport league legend Dave Mullan.
Complemented by the in form Dave Noden this gave the A team a mighty fighting focre not seen since the times of B A Baracus ( Mr T to you and me ) and Hannibal Smith.
The newly promoted C team were quaking at the prospect led by the gallant Josh Taylor , debutant "topspin" Mick Winder , the daddy Ray Hibbs and reporter Nick Foss in his oversized trainers.
Indeed the club secretary was visibly concerned whilst he watched the A team knocking up. However this was nothing to do with the impending thrashing , oh no he was worried that Darren might take a chunk out of the new table before he had a go on it.
However what was to happen was incredible and will lead to yet more people doubting the veracity of these reports.
There is a boxing match in London tonight between AJ and some twice convicted Russian drug cheat but that will be nothing to the blows and counter punches landed in this epic tussle.
Josh was confident and called the first match - him v his dad Darren and what a match. Superb table tennis ( which would have been richly enjoyed by the crowd denied the prospect ) ensued and dad Darren eventually won 13-11 in the 5th.
This was rapidly turned into 2-0 to the A team when the debutants Colin and Mick played. Oh dear this was going badly for the C team.
Ray v Dave Noden next and a win in 3 straight for Raymondo.
Next up league legend Dave Mullan v Foss in his non table tennis shoes. What ensued was a huge upset with the reporter taking a 2 game lead. However Dave worked his way back into the game to level at 2-2. Surely Nick who had never beaten Dave would crumble . Amazingly he didn't and with a series of hits , nets and edges prevailed 11-6 in the 5th.
Darren then took out Ray in 4 sets.
But then , in the match of the night , the biggest suprise of the lot. In a game of high drama , skill and intensity Josh took on A team no.1 Colin . He controlled the game beautifully to take a 2 game lead. Back came Colin with a superb mix of 3rd ball attack and an excellent all round game to level at 2-2. In a thrilling final game Josh won 11-9.
Nick could not repeat his earlier performance and lost to Dave Noden in 4.
In the final singles we had 2 wiley old foxes in Dave Mullan and Mick Winder.Foxes have had a lot of bad press this week with them being blamed for the Croyden Cat massacres but no blame to either of these guys. In an absorbing game in which Mick evolved his tactics against the as ever super defending of Dave "topspin Mick" eventually won in 4.
With just the doubles to go we stood at 4-4.
Now for the controversy. The 2 captain Taylors liased to establish the doubes pairings. Josh called 2nd doubles and Darren was left reeling when Josh and Ray lined up against the 2 Daves. Mr Noden was up in arms but Josh was insistent. Had Darren been done over by his son ? Whatever - 5 sets later the C team amazingly were leading 5-4.
The final doubles . The 2 superstars v Mick & Nick. Surely only one outcome. Well maybe not. Through grit and determination Mick & Nick took the first game . After that common sense prevailed and the superstars won in 4 , leaving the match score 5-5.Later everyone adjourned to the Zetland where local royalty Darren had managed to reserve 2 tables.Eveyone agreed it was a great game and that the new table was superb. Dave Noden was however still annoyed and so concerned was he about the shock scoreline that he asked the manageress to call directory enquiries to get the number for WADA.