Leigh Dragons were on their way down the East Lancs ... the Three Bexiteers as they are more commonly known ... Chris ‘Galeforce’ Garfin, Lee ‘Pugwash’ Smith and David ‘Owdmon’ Mawdesley. But hang on a minute ... Pugwash wasn’t playing because he was injured/in the pub/couldn’t be bothered* (delete where not applicable).
In stepped Young Adam, who had brought his homework with him (Chemistry, my favourite) ... so instead of The Three Brexiteers it was the Three Ages of Leigh ... a teenager, a middle aged man and a pensioner. What could possibly go wrong?
Scamperer, Dazla and No Nickname Hibbs lined up for Smash. Both teams had the same league record so far ... won one, lost one ... neither was surfing the wave of success ... they were sort of riding the inconsistent ripples in the early season shallows ... ok, let's get started.
Hibbs v Mawdesley ... and after two close 11-9 sets it was 2-0 to Owdmon ... but Hibbs then mauled Mawdesley 11-3 to get it back on track ... only for the wiley Owdmon to take the fourth and win 3-1 ... strangely Hibbs had a higher aggregate score but Mawdesley won the important points and games.
When Dazla had worked out which end of the bat to hold (having not played since March) he set about Galeforce, taking the first ... and then led 2-1 ... but it had five sets written all over it and at 9-9 in the fifth it was Galeforce Garfin that conjured up some last ditch trickery to win it for Dragons.
Young Adam set aside his Chemistry homework to take on Scamperer ... it was tight, just a rizla skin between them ... we had another five setter on our hands ... at 8-8 in the fifth it was nicely poised... but Scamperer did his scampering thing and won it for Smash.
A pattern had been established ... so Dazla v Owdmon followed the pattern and had a five setter (why not?) ... 9-9 in the fifth and it was Owdmon that took it against the not so ring-rusty Dazla. Great entertainment ... but it was about to get better.
No Nickname Hibbs v Young Adam ... after some good scraps in the early games it was 2-1 to Hibbs and then match point Hibbs in the fourth ... shame really because Adam had given a good account of himself. Hold on he’s turned it around, he’s saved match point and gone on to win 13-11 ... guess what, another five setter.
It’s 10-9 to Young Adam in the fifth ... Ray has served high ... Adam gives it a full blooded thwack ... but misses ... Ray has played his ‘get out of jail’ card and after a few more tense exchanges Ray has match point at 14-13. But Adam was keen to get back to his homework and took the next three points, the Chemistry Kid had taken the final set 16-14. Gripping stuff.
Division 2 doubles champs Scamperer/Dazla then took on the the Owdmon/Galeforce combo ... Dragons had won 4 of the first 5 matches so it was time to stop the rot ... the form book says the Div 2 champs are favourite but the form book can make fools of us all, with the Owdmon/Galeforce combo running out the winner (in another five setter) ... 17-12 to Dragons.
Scamperer and Galeforce stayed on the table and Scamperer took it in three straights ... 17-15, game on.
Dazla steps up for his fourth match of the night ... and ends up in his fourth five setter of the night ... fast forward to the last set ... it’s 9-9 ... and the Chemistry Kid has learned how to finish a tight game ... he takes the last two points ... Alchemist Adam winning in five. This was followed by Scamperer and Owdmon having their traditional cat and mouse duel ... Scamperer winning 3-1.
So there it was, 21-20 to Dragons ... and still one to play ... it was like a penalty shoot out ... and on the Big Screen in the Labour Club bar they were simultaneously showing the Man Utd v Derby County penalty shoot out ... I didn’t get to see it, I wonder how Utd went on?
Back to the final match ... Galeforce v No Nickname Hibbs ... and Galeforce wallops a few passed Hibbs to take the first ... nip and tuck all the way ... but Hibbs deployed his deadly cocktail of spiny serves and spiny returns ... and it was too much for Galeforce in the end ... Hibbs took it 3-1 ... and the Rainford Labour Club electronic scoreboard flashed up the final score ... 23-22 to Smash.
The crowd in the TV Room went wild and the Smash boys were briefly flattered, but it turned out they were cheering a Derby penalty (note to self: I must find out how that ended).
It had a been a really enjoyable night but it was time for goodbyes. No Nickname went with the traditional handshake ... Alchemist Adam gave an Emoji inspired thumbs up ... Scamperer doffed his cap ... Dazla opted for a fist bump ... but Owdmon insisted on a chest bump followed by a high five ... whilst Galeforce went for a simple Theresa May style curtsy.
Fresh from the Party Conference in Liverpool Jeremy Corbyn was delighted to be at The Rainford Labour Club as guest pundit ... he said “what a fabulous game of table tennis, much better than the 8-0 drubbing the Labour Club football team took at weekend ... but then it's hard to win anything with eleven left wingers”.
As Jezza got up to leave he spotted Owdmon ... and said "goodnight Comrade Mawdesley" ... who'd have thought it ... Dave Mawdesley is a card carrying member!
Never mix politics and sport I always say.j