Wednesday, 26 April 2017

In our League

In our league, in our league,
In this league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Bowled the 8 Taverners.
“Forward, the Wednesday A"
Charge for the lights they said.
Into the valley of Death
Bowled the 8 Taverners.

Okay so i am not Tennyson. I am probably not even a twoyson, but honestly recent travels to The Valley have felt like the charge of the light brigade. Men sent in to battle in hapless fashion, a beautiful but futile struggle against overwhelming odds. While this outing only yielded one winning card there was a litany of losing cards from 15 up that could have all gone either way. Once again its a massive hats off to the Boys and Girls of The Valley who play at what should be the best bowling complex in the country, but instead have to play at a shell of a venue.

Thursday round up

So close and yet so far was the story to Scottys debut as captain of the Thursday night delights. Four winners apiece and falling short by the fingers on one hand, probably my bowling hand :( in my defense my opponent was great and i was walking like walter brennen in rio bravo.

(If you think I'm using another picture of Walter Brennan when Angie Dickinson was in this film you are mistaken!! Ed)

Good wins From Scott, Wiggy, Karen and Cat couldn't overcome my handicap but it was a good start to the season in a new division.


Well what can be said except it was a very strange day indeed. The Olton tavern had a mild on for the first time since Cj got his last one pound note out of the wallet. The juniors bounced back from an epic defeat to register their biggest win since the Falklands War and a horse a horse my kingdom for a horse! Or alternatively for 1 or 2 of the four seniors we have lost from last year.

For the seniors it was a day that had so many positives but a couple of glaring negatives. The effort and team ethic was the probably the best since I returned. Unfortunately we are lacking in experience and depth. Much like last week we got close but never quite got enough of a lead to defend and didn't make the most of a few opportunities. Highlights included Kiff pulling out a lazarus like comeback and Jaymo's fightback should have been by portrayed by Robert Powell on Easter Sunday. Wiggy's brooding intensity was overflowing as he continues his volcanic form with another single figure win. This year Wiggly has been more Charizard when last year he could barely manage a Jigglypuff. The Steve Myatt renaissance continues with Donatello like masterpieces being bowled regularly and Cat has seamlessly segued into life in the seniors.

We arrived back to surprisingly find the mild was still on and the juniors had won with 10 winners. In an even bigger surprise Cat and Killer, the two players with a social life were at a loose end and stayed for the evening. After a good few drinks Cat turned to Chris with love in her eyes and uttered the immortal words "I am sorry I have eaten Raspberries". I love drunk people

Like all clubs we are short on players, we have taken steps to rectify this and have had some success in attracting new bowlers to the game, this however is a shout out to all those lapsed bowlers out there shopping on a weekend, get back out contact your local club or better still contact me and join the tavern your game needs you.

(If lapsed bowlers need any more incentive to play, here's another picture of Angie Dickinson. Ed)

Monday, 17 April 2017

Are Marillion the Worlds most dangerous band?

While searching under my bed in boredom one sleepless night i came
across a half eaten Red Devil gobstopper circa 1984, a spoon with the
likeness of Charles and Di on it and an essay written by my younger
self. A pre blog blog if you will, back in the time my blog writing
actually was just scrawled in crayon on a sheet of paper and doesn't
just read like it. I know you are all sitting there wanting to read
the essay so i have lovingly recreated it below - if you are patient and
read it all the way down there will be some bowls talk somewhere and a
round up of the week, including for all you face book tarts out there,
how the power of someone else's profile pic can get you likes? Oh! and
be kind i was about 10 when i wrote this.

The scariest and most dangerous things are never the overtly
threatening or obvious. The devil holds no fears: you can see him a
mile off with that stupid tache and humongous fork, that guy brandishing
a gun over the road he is no bother unless you are stupid and walk
toward him. The real scary things are insidious. They work their way
into life and are accepted and liked. Fire for example is an obvious
one. Invited in to your home to help heat and cook your food and what
does it do when you try to hug it thank you? It burns you, bend down to
pick something up in front of the fire and it burns your bollocks, its
a hateful thing masquerading as our friend. That is where Marillion
come in. Fishes lyrical content manages to convince you that sitting
in a bar getting smashed on whisky or whatever else is served in these
places i have never been in is romantic and wistful. Cirrhosis of the
liver being a sign of a well lived life, buying one time friends and
confidents with a shouted round. Well no thank you Mr Fish i am never
going to drink or set foot in a public house. A life of sobriety and
success for me.

So there you have it how dull was i going to be before bowls, cans of
heldenbrau and pints mild in the Ring o Bells saved me.

And now the round up of the week

Saturday away at the broomfield could be summed up in haiku form

nice weather, good start
couldn't punish middle four
lost tamely in end

A good start led to a chance to exert pressure on the broomies but we
couldn't get winners off when needed and instead of going into the
last four 25 up we went in 6 down and were from then on never really
in it. It was my first visit since the club was knocked down and its a
pretty neat set up. I enjoyed a good conversation about the lack of
quality on show while looking out over the cricket pitch. It was such
an idyllic setting you could almost hear the leather on willow. Or
maybe it was leather on an old mans arse being carried on the wind
from one of the sex dungeons on the Portland Road.

This week I was insulted at work by being likened to Al from Toy Story Two. It was
bubbling along getting no interest on face book until an ex co worker
commented. As her profile pic features her and very little clothing
I was suddenly the most popular guy in the world, drowning in friend
requests from hormonal teens impressed buy the nature of my facebook
friends. Relax boys its a fake pic - she is actually a 50 year trucker
named Keith.

The teams for next weeks midweek games are up. Please show up as we
have pretty much picked everyone left at the club.

On our free Saturday we played "the winner gets to pick a trophy round
robin competition" which was won by an aflame Dave Hosgood. Looking
at the honours board we gave Dave the choice of the cups we hadn't
played for in a while and a worrying trend appeared. Presidents Cup
last played in 2006 winner Dave Hosgood, the Gary Stokes Comedy Cup
last played for in 2007 winner Dave Hosgood, The Albert Finney was the
Best Scrooge Cup last played for in 1999 winner Dave Hosgood. It would
appear when a cup is won by the Wiz it loses all value and is no
longer played for. Thank god he has never won the senior averages as the
club would just fold on the spot. Maybe his place atop the averages
will have people running for the lifeboats, certainly Lowey had nearer
my god to thee playing during the friday morning game but that may have had
more to do with his recent and over 9000th hospitalisation. As an aside,
the Friday over sixties lost having two winners but did seem to
really enjoy their morning even if they did have to put up with the
Old man.

The wrestling. OMG the wrestling. As well as being Scotties
Birthday good friday was Fightclub pro friday. We arrived early and
found a lucky spot in the queue under a butchers hoarding that at
least kept us out of the rain for twenty minutes of the one and half hours we were kept
waiting outside in the rain. The good proprieter of the Bodrun Delight
Turkish restaurant came out to take pity on us, providing the cold wet
and hungry crowd some grub and stave of a riot. Eventually we got in
and were seated and after a further delay while the promoter and
recent WWE performer Trent Seven tried to get everyone the seats they
had booked the show began. The wrestling was amazing and thank god for
Nixon Newell and the cutest smile in wrestlng for reminding me i am
straight. That one simple thing averted the inate charisma, charm,
talent and pert buttocks of Kenny Omega from turning me. I know
wrestling isn't everyones cup of tea and people will look oddly at me
when i say this is nothing like what you see on Sky, but live this
group of amazing performers is incredible entertainment. It's rough,
athletic funny and if you sit as close as we did you have to move
every 30 seconds or be crushed by a space flying tiger drop. Oh, and i
have bought the shirt of all shirts.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Sod it dude, let's go bowling!!

The first shots of the season were fired in front of a backdrop of
April fools day, weather they sang about in bambi and everyone being
as criminally undercooked as the omelletes on that insidious, insipid
and inadequate Saturday Kitchen. Christ, the Egg jokes on there make
even my most hackneyed of efforts look cutting edge. Compared to that show I'm like
one of those new comedians like Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Bill
Hicks or even Colin taylor with a wood in his hand.

It was a big day for the Olton. We had a terrible start to last
season and with the Broomfield being a strong, experienced side and the
dreaded first game at home draw it was looking like a tricky afternoon. In
truth the game never really got going and despite a really good win
for us the atmosphere, whilst happy like Russ Abbotts masterpiece
was also decidedly flat like Russ Abbots singing. There were a lot of
good bowlers on show for both sides but save for a few standouts for
both teams most of the bowling ranged from meh to terrible. With six of the
first nine winners including two 7’s and an 8 the game was done but
the Broomfield's excellent last 3 performances brought a hint of
tension into things. Standing out for the Olton was a spell of leading
from Richie that echoed his glory days and Cat played out Game of the
Day against Helen Williams. The result has made it easier for me to
say what a pleasure it was to get reacquainted with the Broomfield
boys, many of whom I have known for nearly 20 years now but hadn’t
played against for 6 or 7 years. The day was so friendly and
enjoyable I think even Dan Chilton smiled.

I have had many email enquiries from members, fans and the general
public who are all slavering over titbits of info I drop from the
table. Both of them have asked; "Mr Craig, would you like to help an
african prince store his money offshore" my answer is always yes, yes
i would. I then ask if they would like regular updates about the Olton Tavern? They
never respond but just in case they are reading here is the news, film
at 11. Wiggy has a new beard. Well we thought it was a beard but some
strange things have been happening with Wiggy recently. Previously,
Wiggy had an IQ akin to Fry from Futurama or Stan Laural but recently
he has made a tremendous leap. He can work out how much change he gets
from a fiver for a beer and he can even now mark a card on his own
without taking his shoes and socks off. He has gone from a 20 watt
super energy efficient bulb to a 40 watt bulb. What is behind this
wonderful explosion of intelligence quotient? It turns out the beard
isn’t a beard but a parasitic life form from another planet that
attaches it self to your chin and controls its host. The only downside
is it happens to look like a 14 year olds attempt at facial hair. The
parasite is called Pruik and is reasonably charming, he may well be
sucking Wiggys lifeforce but hey ho! the parasite can bowl and as long
as we keep him away from the barley wine he is much less argumentative
so it's a win win.

In quick news from around the club, Donald trump has tweeted his belief that stories of my receeding hairline are fake news, its not
receding or retreating just beating a tactical withdrawal.

Miffed he never gets to hear the words “well bowled Chris”, killer has
persuaded Chris downes to bowl again and will only be on the green
when Chris james and Chris downes are also bowling. Reports he applied
for deedpoll name changes for Cat and kiff are unsubstantiated.

Our local Lancashire lad Ian "two sheds" Jackson has promised to stay
longer than an hour at a bowls game at least once this season. Of
bigger concern to me right now is his inability to bowl for more than
30 minutes before losing. if only he was from Yorkshire and could show
some Bob Horn style grit and downright rudeness. And yes, Ian does have two sheds.

The club have slowly, painfully clawed its way in to the 20th century
at a pace akin to that of sadako from the Ring climbing from a well to induce the
releasing of your bowels. We now have a whatsapp group to go with the
facebook, twitter and this blog. We have also purchased a verticutter
to replace the 3 goats and a sheep we used to graze the on the green
last year. If you would like to join the whatsapp group, download the
app and send me your number and I will add you. Please join the Olton
bc facebook group and follow @OTBC21 on twitter. If you can share the
blog the more readers we get the more jokes about you I can make. I
will make you famous.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

A resurrection Nabakov would be proud of.

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins” is a very famous first
line to a book and can be easily spoiled by the transposing of a
couple of letters. I was searching for a great opening to this, the
first blog post of a new season but failed miserably so you get this.

Of course Lolita happened to be forbidden fruit - a young girl nowhere
near legal that was stirring passions of all around her. This is a
stretch so stay with me but Bowls is my Forbidden fruit. A game so un
cool, so universally unpopular and frowned upon, a game that spreads such
disgust among the general populous that I hide my love for it. I walk
the streets hiding my shame as every patch of grass cut to 5mm stirs
something in my special area. My heart beats faster, perspiration
gathers in the crevice of my upper lip and my limbs shake
uncontrollably, which at least explains my errant woods. The time, however, has come to break away from my Humbert Humbert-esque machinations. Bowling
greens float my boat! There, I have said it and its out in the open.

The one thing that gets me going more than a freshly cut bowling green are woods. Lovely
beautiful spherical woods. Tactile, shiny, smooth woods. The way their
curves fill your hand, their hard cold sheen teasing my finger tips.
Whenever anyone comes toward my bag my eyes narrow Lee Van Cleef like
as i glare intently, my brain working overtime to convince me they are
after my bowls, after my lucky charms themselves. Everyone is a
thieving magpie, a Clare Quilty looking to cuckold my woods,steal my
precious and part me with my beloveds.

Explaining my fixation, my beguilement with this stupid bloody game to
the general unwashed public is a tricky thing. People look at you
reaching for some unattainable understanding, they gawp perplexed as if they are trying to
follow a science or maths documentary on BBC 4. Their eyes droop as
the conversations length verges on Heavens Gates running time (this is
something you should avoid with apostrophes) and they struggle to
understand the complexity of large marbles. The conversation always
includes pearls of wisdom like, do you wear white? And is that where
you have to get close to the little white one? Or the instant classic,
is everyone you play with dead? I am fed up of having this
conversation, so through the power of this blog I am putting out an
open challenge to everyone, to not only come and watch a game but come
and try it. There might even be a drink in it for you.