The politest of Pirates from the Parish of Poolstock entertained Rainford Smash on Monday night in a close Division 1 battle. Pirates were Carl Murphy and Keith Dootson ... all-round buccaneer Brian Cantlie was away plundering in the Mediterranean ... so playing up for the Pirate Plunderer in the Parish of Poolstock was Popular Player Mark Hunter (it would have worked so much better if he was called Pete Postlethwaite or Penelope Pitstop).
Ex-Pirate Ian ‘Pimps Out’ Taylor was in the Smash line up, he had been snaffled by Smash in the summer transfer window ... although he is more commonly known as Judas Taylor round these parts ... it sounded more like Judith Taylor to be honest, but that’s the Wigan accent for you. He was joined by Scamperer and Kraftwerk Nick.
Just as we were about to start in walked Walter Green. For those that don’t know Walter he is the chief strategist behind the Pirates Project ... he is in charge of player recruitment, team selection and match tactics ... AKA Walter Guardiola.
Carl v Pimps Out was a cagey opening game ... they won a set each, then Pimps Out won a close third set 15-13 and went on to win the next 13-11 ... it literally could have gone either way. Scamperer then beat Keith in three to give Smash the early momentum.
Next up it was ‘top of the divisional averages three years ago’ Hunter, versus ‘not even playing table tennis three years ago’ Kraftwerk ... when Kraftwerk got it back to 2-1 hopes were high for the new kid on the block but Hunter’s guile took it 3-1 for Pirates.
Pimps Out deployed his deadly pimps to beat Keith and stretch the Smash lead ... then Cool Carl beat Kraftwerk to reel in the the lead. The doubles a was nip and tuck affair that was won 3-2 by Pirates ... the electronic scoreboard at The Hey Jude Stadium flashed up the score ... Pirates 10 v 13 Smash.
Hunter and Scamperer played out a game of starkly contrasting styles ... chop versus lob ... lob won 3-1. It was fast approaching Walter Green’s bed time so it didn’t help when all of the last three games went to five sets, everyone a belter.
Kraftwerk Nick was up against Keith ... at least that’s who he’d been all night, plain old Keith ... but he turned into rootin-tootin sharp-shootin Dootson in this game ... Kraftwerk was knocking them past him but Keith kept returning the favour ... they went for everything and at 9-9 in the fifth it was sharp-shooter Keith (courtesy of two winners via the net) that won it.
In the penultimate game Mark Hunter coped really well with the Pimps Out game and he took a deserved 2-1 lead ... but Pimps Out regained his cool (having lost it in the previous set) and he kept his 100% winning record in tact by taking the last two sets.
Final match ... Carl v Scamperer ... if they were a double act they would be called Smashy & Missy ... plenty of shots landed with full velocity ... but just as many hit the back wall. Carl took the fifth with relative ease making the final score on the night 23-19 to Smash (or a five-all draw in old money). Pimps Out Taylor popped his third man of the match trophy of the season into his bag.
After the match Walter Green was interviewed by Sky Sports and had this to say “rumours that I will be playing again soon are true ... I’ve been in the loft and dug out my old Dunlop Green Flash, my Barna Bat and my Surgical Truss”. The shock waves from this announcement are still reverberating up Poolstock Lane, all the way from the St Judes Club up to the Tesco Express.