Paul ‘Rookie’ Melling offered to ‘play up’ from sister team Rainford Strike but Smash still needed one more player ... up stepped Charlie Bradshaw (world famous in Halton League). He signed an 11th hour deal ... the old faxing of the paperwork to Wigan HQ is no longer the process ... Webmaster Mawdesley deployed his internet black art... some tippy-tappy and jiggery-pokery then Charlie was cleared to play.
Heinz have had a settled squad for well over a hundred years ... so it was a shock when Dave Bennett said he needed time off because of a long term injury. Maybe Big Hitting Bennett has thwacked his last ball. But fear not ... Heinz had cleverly poached an all-round good egg from Wigan Chasers ... yes, Jim Bolton had signed for Heinz in the summer transfer window.
It was Jim’s second move in three seasons and it has earned him the nickname of Bosman Bolton ... he had just one stipulation in his contract, he must have 24 hour access to the Magic Bean Pool ... and he had spent the afternoon prior to the game in the pool ... all his stiff joints, achey limbs and tired dangley bits had been rejuvenated.
Gentlemen Jim Brookes with Sandra ‘Mossy’ Moss completed the Heinz threesome. And it was Gentleman Jim v Scamperer in the first. The pivotal second game went to Scamperer 16-14 and Smash went on to get a 3-0 flying start.
Charlie v Mossy and it’s a resounding 11-2 first game to Charlie ... what a start in his debut ... but Mossy decided to spoil the party by taking the next three and win 3-1.
Rookie Melling, with just one years table-time under his belt, was next on against the experienced Bolton ... a tough one for the Division 2 debutant. Bolton was resplendent in his new Heinz team shirt (sports bra is in the post). Three more points to Heinz.
Scamperer played Mossy and put three more points on the board for Smash followed by Rookie Melling playing Gentleman Jim Brookes ... the first game went to a tight deuce finish but in the end Jim had just too much class and won in three.
Smash then won the doubles 3-2 with a close 12-10 win in the fifth ... amazingly it was 11-10 to Heinz ... both teams had won three each ... it was tightly poised but there was a carnival atmosphere amongst the crowd ... they knew their team were strong finishers. For the record books it was officially a capacity crowd at The Heinz Means Beanz Stadium ... there were two seats for spectators ... and both were taken.
Heinz did finish strongly, they had the wind in their sails. Bosman Bolton took another in three straights against Charlie followed by Mossy beating Rookie Melling, the Mossy backhand return was on fire. But we’ll have to drop the ‘rookie’ moniker for Paul Melling because he took a set and played some good stuff, showing he will be able to hold his own in Div 2 sometime soon.
Two to play ... Bosman Bolton was down one nil to Scamperer and 10-8 down in the second ... at the same time as scamperer’s Duracell Batteries ran down Bosman Bolton stepped up a gear ... he was fleet of foot, he had a skip in his step, he was dancing round the table with ease ... he had transformed from Bosman Bolton to Usain Bolton ... winning 3-1 ... and deservedly taking the man of the match award.
Gentleman Jim Brookes took the final match against Charlie and the final score was 23-12 to Heinz ... which was about right on the night ... Heinz had been the better team ... and Smash had christened two new players into the Division 2 maelstrom ... everyone hurried away to the pub afterwards to talk random nonsense.
Sky Sports caught up with Dave Bennett as he was leaving the stadium to get an update on his injury ... the reporter asked how Dave’s medical had gone and he had this to say:
“I’m almost ready ... the medical went well, except for one small incident ... the doctor asked me to bend as if I was about to start a race ... he said “Cough” ... everyone knows my hearing isn’t very good and I thought he said “Off” ... so I started to run whilst he was still holding my ...”
Dave didn’t finish his sentence ... but he later confirmed that he will be ready to play when the swelling goes down.