With all due respect to the teams we have already faced, The Pheasant lined up as the first potential banana skin at home. Last year we won by 40 odd shots on a green that was fairly rapid. The weather had been mixed all week and the green had been variable in the last few days with a return of our Cringer/Battlecat type mottling. With all this and my boys fixating on historical worries meaning they are yet to be completely convinced they can come good at this level, surely I could be forgiven for a few Friday night nerves.
The clement Saturday weather managed to convince some of our less leggy members to show off their short fat hairy legs, Morecambe and wise sand boy style. Both Killer and Rotherham Ian unfortunately came as Ernie Wise leaving Scotty to fill in for Eric with his Invisible man and paper bag tricks. Thankfully the sun went in and Killer Wise and Ernie Jackson covered up just in time for the sun to burn down on the hallowed turf causing a mini heatwave and speeding the green up a few yards.
About twelve from the pheasant arrived about ten past two and then another twelve and finally just before roll up the rest of the squad arrived. A record number of 14 took to the green to practice with at least one playing member not getting on. With Tom telling us hthat the recent assault in the pub had made the newspapers over in Warley world maybe they had come en masse for protection? Or maybe it is just such a great place to be they couldn’t resist a visit and the chance to send a few woods at the home of Craggers.
As I did the draw I started to think today would be our day as I was very happy with the way the games were falling and to see several good players on the side lines. With the draw done I handed the cards out and JP was the last one to recieve his marking assignment and had the ill fortune of it being mine. As it handed to him he said “thanks Craig I always like marking your card Scott” I always say if my mom can get it wrong so can everyone else they just don’t usually get it wrong in the same sentence they got it right in. I guess you can’t blame a man for covering all bases, and at least he didn’t call me Colin.
With Larry away I needed a new number one and felt the extra responsibility would help Jack in his development into a half competent player. This also presented Jack with a chance for revenge Over Alan who had metaphorically spanked his bottom red raw last week. Jack was pumped up and pimped up by his own admission his clothes may look like rags but they cost him a fortune. From what I saw which was quite a lot and what my minions had reported to me this was a high Quality game. Certainly it was the best I had seen Jack play. He was controlled, consistent and confident he was playing the right shots at the right times and was very impressive in his win to 15. Alan must also take the praise and bowls out green very well.
Dave Hosgood Got back to winning ways on his return to the side with a hard fought victory over the tenacious Steve Devonport 21-19.
Steve Myatt was up next and he has proved a conundrum this season. Up until this point the Club Champion hadn’t put a bowl right at home but had an exemplary and lauded away record. Well it was nearly exemplary but we had all forgotten about the Horror of his 1 in the cup when discussing it midweek. The game started in familiar fashion for Steve but to his great credit Steve dug deep refusing to be beaten again at home to secure and excellent win to 18.
With the San Miguel 2 for £5 I had decided I would have a drink for once and get the bus home but a drink before the game may have been a miscalculation. After years of driving everywhere and barely drinking my resistance to the effects of strong larger is pretty much non-existent. The combination of this strange Yellow stuff and an unseasonable blast of warm air had led me to be a little wobbly. Thankfully though I ran off the effects and hit a purple patch of form to race into a 16-4 lead. I managed to survive a late rally from the dangerous Rob Thacker finishing 21-9.
After 4 we were 23 up
Gwigg was up at five and wasn’t himself all day as the stress and strain of another week of my trying to rid the Olton of him had begun to show. Despite this,however and his long journey Saturday he managed to claw his way to 17 against Jon Saunders who it has to be said bowled the green as well as anyone I have seen in a long time.
After last Saturdays game I decided the best way I could rid us of Wiggy would be to intern him in a prison on an Island, preferably a series of three small islands in French Guyana that serve as high security prisons. I decided on such a hell hole not because of the poor food, baking heat and cruel guards, but because the uniform is red and white stripes and Wiggilon (as he would become known) looks bloody awful in red and white stripes. Honestly he looked like a large tube of Colgate being squeezed. I had paid a crooked screw 2 francs and some camembert to smuggle wiggilon into the jail.
Once there he was warned that escaping would mean a day in solitary. A second attempt would be 3 days and a third attempt would be the guillotine. Young Wigggilon was blasé about that until he realised he that not only would he be cutting paper with it, he wouldn’t get protective gloves and could easily get a paper cut.
Wiggilon was shocked by the horror that surrounded him: one man skinned his knee in an attempt to get taken to hospital but the guards just used a mediprep with no anaesthesia and threw him back into his squalid beach hut while another young prisoner was taken into the sea and pushed over while being mocked.
While being put to work catching butterflies, Wiggilon was attacked by a vicious gerbil. The guards laughed, put their Styrofoam bats away and forced Wiggilon to fight off and subdue the beast. After a long tiring battle Wiggilon eventually forced the gerbil back after kicking sand in its face. It was at this time he declared he would escape.
After making a deal with the guy who buys the butterflies from the camp, Wiggilon catches a butterfly then lets it go causing such a commotion it allowed his to escape. The butterfly collector betrayed our brave hero, however, keeeping his scratchings and 2 bob that had been used to buy freedom and had duly turned Wiggilon back over to the prison.
He is placed in a small cell with only an Xbox 360 and 4 games to play and a whole day to kill. His food was pushed through a gap in the door but Wiggilon threw his milk chocolate bounty back at the guard, as he prefers dark chocolate. As punishment he was put on half rations and Netflix was taken off the Xbox. Towards the end of the 24 hours wiggilon had become very weak and started hallucinating about his triumphant return to the Olton. He was reduced to the green chocolates in the quality street tub when suddenly he is released.
With his strength returning, Wiggilon arranges via a prison doctor to escape during the One Direction concert that was on that evening (starring John Price, subbing for Zayn). While Harry wiggled his hips seductively Wiggilon got a wiggle on and stole out of the camp and headed for the boat he had bought. Once there he realised he had one again been betrayed (it’s a bit of a theme for Wiggly)! The boat was useless but his luck was in when a strange man, who may have been Gilly, announced he had given two guards waiting for him a Chinese burn and helped Wiggy of down river in a pedalo. Downstream Wiggilon met a tribe of Flu sufferers who tested him by having him drink out of the same bottle of pop as the leader. Thankfully he wasn’t at a contagious stage and Wiggilon continued his Journey to Honduras.
Wiggilon lands his boat on a beach but is chased by a bunch of locals who probably drink in The Raven and was shot with a blowpipe. He awoke being tended to and nursed back to fitness by a large naked man. After a good sleep Wiggilon wakes up to see the natives have gone and all that is left behind is a bag of Haribo. Finding some new clothes on a handily placed washing line Wiggilon finds refuge in the nearest Church. What a surprise though that after 15 minutes they got shot of him and turned him into the prison guards.
3 more harrowing days with no Netflix and an amazon stream that wouldn’t play at the full 1080p and Wiggilon was eventually released from solitary looking a full week older for his ordeal. Wiggilon made one last attempt to escape the god forsaken butlins after finding a bunch of flotation devices from the swimming pool and launching himself of a cliff into the sea. Miraculously, the tide swept him up the canal and out by the Rover, just in time for this week’s game.
JP was up against Adrian Tudor whom has played two very good games against us. Adrian bowled very well to take an imposing lead against the cob. JP however had practised this on Wednesday when he fell just short of a miraculous comeback, today though John made no mistake timing his run to perfection dipping for the line at the perfect time and winning 21-20
Richie was enjoying playing against someone other than Eddie Lowe and won another fine game, this time against Tony Abbey 21-15
Action Jackson stepped into the breach against Eddie and won in a game that didn’t turn out to be a thriller, but definitely featured two off the wall competitors. The people of Rotherham I believe were suitably impressed when they took the result of the pigeon’s leg and rushed it round to the town reader who duly revealed the result. Rotherham haven’t had call to be this proud of one of their own since Jive Bunny topped the charts.
After 8 7 winners and we were up by 39
Savo made his season debut and after a slow start showed the kind of game that drives his opponents crazy. Invariably Sav would put the jack in the hardest position teasing the opposition with what they think is room before the rug gets pulled beneath them when they find you simply can’t get your wood near the block. It didn’t Help Mick that he didn’t get a roll up and must have been as confused as we were to as what had gone on. Savo though bowled well and gave me a selection headache in the future as he wins to 13.
Chris Greenhill would be the major suspect in the assault enquiry - if the assaulted were a fence or fish and chips or even the sensibilities of an innocent soul who happened to watch him bowl. Chris seemed agitated from the start, no doubt he had missed a meal or two this morning and calculating the amount of Pheasant supporters may mean less food for him had sent him into shock. At 7 Across I put on my Dog handling suit and riot gear before approaching to ask what was wrong. A string of expletives informed me he was getting hammered on his own green. Either the boy has sky high standards (we know that’s not the case) or he can’t count. Then it happened. It was like witnessing a live action version of the Bisto advert. The smell of cooking from a nearby house wafted under his nostrils, he floated above the ground as he filled his lungs with the smell of roast beef parsnips and roasties. Chris, refuelled by the fumes, was becalmed and his bowls did the talking as he finally got home against tom 21-19.
Chris James was meanwhile enjoying a game against Darren Hamblett, to be honest I haven’t a clue what was going on but there seemed to be hilarity and bemusement in equal measures for the most part. Chris Winning handily 21-12
Scotty was up last against Alan Griffin. This draw always looked favourable and although Alan gave it his best Scotty was running away with the game and looked set to win the 21-4 pot. One brain fart of an end though Gave Alan the block but Scotty closed down the comeback as soon as it started though to win to six and leave us with 11 winners and a win by 72.
Despite the pheasant having several good players on the sides it was still a strong performance from the team with players refusing to lose and even with the game won still fighting hard for every shot. It’s another milestone in the side’s development that a side as strong as The Pheasant can be dispatched in that fashion. Next week we travel to the champions elect for an adventure of an altogether different shape.
The teas under the new gaffer have featured and amazing array of cake matched only by the ornate, elaborate and in your face cake stands they are perched upon. With room at a premium we stood on the balcony chatting with Tony Rowley and hurling abuse at those still around the green. Someone had secured Tony a plate of grub including sarnies, nuts chips and a peculiar looking curry dipping sauce. Tony thought he'd give it a go and heaped a whole load of this sauce on his chip. Seconds later there was a gagging noise as Tony spluttered chip everywhere. The strange dipping sauce turned out to be Black Forest Gateaux. Tony tried again just to check he hadn’t stumbled across a new gastronomic delight but from the retching noises it was clear he hadn’t.
After watching Nee And Rotherham’s funniest man since Paul Shane bodge a watering system with a house brick and a hose it was into the pub to settle in for a long night of cheap san Miguel’s and outrageous stories about games CJ claims to have won. Lord Lowe got confused by the crowd and thinking it was the AGM followed us in. I didn’t mind until he voted against me for club captain.
Overall a really good day. A big thank you to the Pheasant forty who came and to my team for their performance and support. A big thumbs down though to West Midlands Travel who charge £2.20 to get me home and don’t even supply a roof.
In other, unreported and uncelebrated news, the Alliance team lost in a tight match away at Boldmere Sports. Its uncelebrated and unreported because once again no-one in the alliance side can be arsed to take a picture!!