Just prior to kick off the talk was all about Heinz. Had the team really bathed in the magic bean pool for most of the week ... were they rejuvenated? As cup holders they were favourites ... and as if that wasn’t enough they had been promised a new 58th variety in their honour if they retained the cup.
The rumour mill was in full flow ... was it true that a limited edition of Gentleman Jim’s Sauce was already on the production line? Had production really been hampered by a glass shortage ... which begged the question had Heinz lost their bottle? In the pre match interview Dave Bennett had said “we are under great pressure to win and get a celebratory sauce ... but lose and we are all just has beans”.
There were rumours in old Rainford Town as well ... a man on a bike had been seen at The Hut of Dreams dropping off a Jiffy Bag ... was it Geoff Pye’s lunchtime Big Mac Meal or was it a Bradley Wiggins potion?
It was Brookes, Bennett & Moss versus Hibbs, Foss & Machin ... one sounded like a ‘no win no fee’ firm of solicitors ... whilst the other sounded like your local funeral directors. The clock struck 7.30 ... the noise in the room was at fever pitch ... it was time to get the game face on ... first up Gentleman Jim v Nick ‘the Knife’ Foss .. and Heinz made up a dozen points to add to their 10 point start.
Ray v Sandra and much of the lead was recouped by an ultra defensive performance from Ray ... so when Scamperer won the first two against Bennett things were going Smash’s way ... until Bennett reversed this and made some profit by taking the final two sets.
Nick the Knife was still smarting from his opening game but he more than made up for it by taking all four sets against Sandra ... a great turnaround ... and Smash were in pole position. Gentleman Jim entered the arena to play Smash Scamperer ... this was a pivotal game in the cause of the Heinz fight back ... a 58th Variety was at stake ... so when Scamperer took the first 16-14 the new recipe looked in doubt. Smash ended up five points to the good from this encounter and were now in the driving seat.
All remaining games were close but Heinz couldn’t make a dent in the Smash lead ... the Foss/Bennett match was probably the best of the evening ... smash, bang, wallop for all four sets ... and then in the last match Gentleman Jim took the final two sets of the night with two great comebacks against Ray, winning both 12-10. Alas it was too little too late ... the writing was on the wall ... the horse had already bolted ... the deal was done ... it was already goodnight Vienna ... the fat lady had already sang ... and the engraver had already started writing Rainford on the trophy ... sadly there won’t be a 58th Variety (said an anonymous sauce!).
In the Radio Five Live phone-in Mighty Joe had this to say ... “I would like to put an end to the rumour that I have a nurse. I am of sound mind and I have instructed the solicitors of Brookes, Bennett & Moss to seek a formal apology” ... sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.
Report by Smash scamperer