Rainford Sandgrounders 25 v 19 LSG Titans
The word was out and said in hushed tones around the pubs and shops of Rainford ... “the Titans are coming, better beware”. So on a rainy Tuesday evening it was deathly quiet in the village and not a soul was around – hardly unusual for Rainford really .
Hesiod tells us that Gaia and Uranus produced 12 original Titans but as Oceanus , Coeus , Crius , Hyperion , Lapetus , and Cronus were up the M6 watching City v Preston and their sisters didn't fancy a game Uranus sent their mates Ian Wolstenholme, Minh Lee and Captain Wayne Nolan to do battle.
No longer quaking in their ping pong shoes were the gallant troop of Sandgrounders ... Ray Hibbs, Colin Fyles and Nick Wilson.
Sadly the good folk of Rainford were intimidated by the reputation of the mighty Titans and only two spectators turned up. What a match and spectacle they missed.
The mighty Titans opened up with two 5 set wins – Ian beating Ray and Minh taking out Colin.
The 3rd match produced further drama. With Nick Wilson 2-1 up against Wayne ... Wayne jammed his hand between bat and table and collapsed in agony. Blood was drawn, shrieks were heard. Could Wayne carry on?
Such was the drama it was more likely that Wayne would be in the next Carry On. Wayne lay prostrate on the floor and in walked the Sandgrounder's resident nurse Hattie Jacques. That seemed to do the trick and Wayne jumped up and declared himself fit to play as the distant echoes of “you shoot me down but I won't fall I am Titanium “ (David Guetta/Rhiannon for you non mucical hipsters) were heard from the jukebox (do they still have them?) in the adjoining bar.
Wayne valiantly played on ... but lost 3-1. Colin then lost to Ian in another 5 setter continuing the evening's theme. Injured Wayne returned ... only to lose 3-0 to Raymondo. At half time it was 13-9 to the Sandgrounders
The doubles saw the home team surge ahead with a 3-1 win courtesy of Colin and Nick playing Ian and Minh. Minh and Nick stayed on the table to play their singles and Minh produced a great performance to beat young Nick whose meteoric improvement has seen him selected for Lancashire.
Onto the final 3 singles matches. Wayne displayed bravery beyond the cause to win 2 points for his team in a 3-2 defeat to Colin. Then in a sensational match of high quality, great serving and big hitting Nick took out Ian 3-2.
Could the excitement get any greater? Well yes actually, it could.
The two No1's Ray and Minh faced off with everything to play for in the final match. Minh raced into a two set lead and Ray looked done in – literally. Ray then changed his usual defensive game and hit everything that came in range. Winning the last three sets 11-8, 11-3, 11-1 ... Minh was put to the sword.
Talksport commentator Jo Swinson making her way back to Parliament from her Scottish constituency popped in to cover the match and interviewed Ray ... JS “ Great change of tactics there Ray “ ... RH “ What do you mean – I couldn't bloody move I was so knackered “
And there you have it ... but the drama didn't end there. Poor Wayne was so badly injured that when he signed the card he bled all over the original . Colin had to rewrite it which he did beautifully ... but left out the names of the teams, venue, date, division and crucially the identity of the doubles players – oh well!
Great game, brilliant spirit between the teams as always ... and Wayne went away to lick his wounds … literally.
Match Report written by Nick Foss