Another of the pre-season favourites ventured into old Rainford town on Tuesday night to play Smash ... LSG Titans had a squad of ex-Div1 players (ex-Prem players in new money) but strangely had a mid-table league position. This is surely a temporary position.
‘Pimps Out’ Taylor, Kraftwerk Nick and Smash Scamperer were the Rainford trio ... whilst Ian ‘Kenneth’ Wolstenholme, Minh Le and Umpire Goulden represented Titans. Wayne Nolan was away having eye surgery (on both eyes) ... let’s hope it goes well and that he enjoys waking up after the operation and looking in the mirror to see just how much he has aged since he last had 20:20 vision.
In the crowd we had Heinz legend Dave Bennett and Ron ‘I have more fun at table tennis but don’t tell my tennis mates’ Hamilton popped in to watch a few games as well.
Pimps Out v Kenneth Wolstenholme in a cracking five set opener ... Kenneth had the better of Pimps Out in the early exchanges but Pimps Out rallied (literally) and took the fifth. Minh and Kraftwerk played some terrific points and some tight deuce finishes ... some good thwackery was exchanged before Minh took it 3-1.
Scamperer beat Umpire Dave in straights giving Smash a 7-5 lead, it would stay this tight for the rest of the evening. It was win one, lose one right down the card. After Titans won the doubles it was 11-all on the night and it was anybody’s game.
Minh and Scamperer had five sets of fun, the balls lobbed up extra high with the diminutive Minh leaping to smash them with full force (the option of using a step ladder was considered). His smashes landed consistently ... at 8-4 to Minh in the fifth it was all but done ... somehow we got to 9-9 ... and then one almighty smash from Minh to give him match point ... but the ball was returned and it careered up towards the lights and then cruelly curled its way down onto the edge of the table to get the faintest of touches. Smash nicked it 11-9.
The final three were the most straightforward encounters of the night ... Kraftwerk disposed of Umpire Goulden and in so doing showed his increasing ping pong maturity ... then Kenneth thumped Scamperer 3-0 making the game nicely poised at 18-17 with one to play. At 2-0 to Pimps Out in the final match Minh was fighting for survival, it was 13-12 and match point to Pimps Out when the ball nipped over the net and clipped the edge ... Minh had be done over by two lucky edges from the Smash boys ... ‘swings and roundabouts’ was no consolation.
The Man of the Match trophy went home with Pimps Out and the scoreline of 21-17 to Smash could easily have been the other way around.
We packed up and spectator Dave Bennet had these wise words ... “I didn’t recognise any of the Heinz players tonight, Jimmy Brookes and Allan Pickford looked much younger ... and much taller actually ... is my nurse here yet?”.