Ralfs had a 161 point start ... they had home advantage ... they didn’t answer the knock on the door ... and they provided only two chairs for the away team ... was this a Mourinho-esque mind game to unsettle Smash or was it just normal Wigan hospitality?
The run rate for Smash was 18 points per match ... so when No Nickname Ray went 5-1 down against Harry Walls in the opener it was a wake up call ... the Ralfs boys were in it to win it ... it took a last ditch rescue act by Ray followed by some smart play in the following sets to get Smash back on track.
Nick the Knife improved on this in his game with David Braithwaite and then Smash Scamperer did the same in the third against Phil Oakes ... Smash were ahead of run rate by a couple of points and this was to be the trend for the night.
Ralfs did their level best to frustrate the Smash strategy ... but the game plan was working ... and it was all but won with a game to spare ... Harry Walls put on a fine display for Ralfs and won the final set of the night but it was all over by then ... Smash were in their first final.
In the post match interview an excited Nick Foss said ... “as you get older you don’t know if this will be your last semi so you have to make the most of it”. No Nickname Ray said “I echo what a Nick said, my last semi didn’t end well but tonight I feel like we have one hand on the cup”.
Mighty Joe was on the subs bench tonight so was dressed in civvies ... he had combed his hair and generally scrubbed up well ... his nurse arrived and was looking for someone that had a faint whiff of staleness about them ... and Joe simply didn’t fit the bill ... so he was home free ... but Darren wasn’t so lucky.