Home team Dragons had spent the Christmas break at a new Yoga retreat at Pennington Flash ... Lee Smith, or Guru Smith as he is known to his followers, had been helping his team to get their yin and their yang sorted out ... it was clear very early on that their time would have been better spent sorting out their errant backhands.
One of Rainford Smash’s band of brothers had received a very special Christmas present ... Dazla had been given his DNA Test Results (this is true) and it turns out that he is 30% Scandinavian and 70% Celt ... he said “I was surprised to find out about being 30% Viking, but I knew I was part Celt as a few people have called me this over the years”. He is now in the process of changing his name to Bjorn McLawrenson.
Pugwash Smith and Mighty Joe fought the first battle of the night ... despite there being two tight deuce finishes it went to Pugwash in three straights. Next up Mawdesley v Scamperer for their bi-annual game of Taunt the Owdmon. The rules are simple ... knock the ball up into the lights as often as you can until eventually Owdmon becomes ‘light blind’ and complains that it’s more like Badminton than Table Tennis ... 3-1 to Scamperer.
We settled in for what looked like a real cracker ... Bjorn McLawrenson v Galeforce Garfin ... 13-11 to the Smash boy in the first, then Galeforce levelled it ... but all was not well with the Viking Celt ... his pre-Christmas back problem had returned and he had to retire injured ... the rest of his games were forfeit which meant Smash’s push for a Champions League place was probably over.
Owdmon and Mighty Joe got us back on course with a see-saw five setter that went to the Dragon ... and was immediately followed by a see-saw five sets of doubles ... Smash won by 47 points to Dragons 44 points ... but Dragons took the important points and won 3-2. The hand-knitted scoreboard showed Dragons had a runaway 16-8 lead.
Galeforce stayed on the table to play Scamperer ... these two bring out the worst excesses in each other ... seeing who can hit the ball the hardest ... whether it hits the table or not is just incidental ... it’s force that counts. 3-1 to Smash. Galeforce remained on the table again, he played three in a row and had his eye in now ... he took on Mighty Joe and his big hits were consistently landing ... 3-0 to Galeforce.
In the final game Pugwash outplayed Scamperer and went two nil up ... Scamperer pulled one back and then at 9-9 in the fourth Pugwash miss-hit a shot, it spun wildly off the top of his bat but somehow managed to skim the edge of the table for a 10-9 lead. The customary apology for this stroke of luck took the form of Pugwash leaping into to air and shouting “YES!” ... all that was missing was a lap around the table with his shirt over his head. That bit of luck aside the best man won ... and Pugwash took home the coveted Man of the Match trophy too.
The game was over ... Dragons had prevailed 26-12 ... the partitions were deconstructed ... the tables were wheeled away ... and a communal telepathy washed over every player simultaneously ... because Bjorn McLawrenson had retired injured we had finished early ... so we could spend more time in the bar ... for all we knew Bjorn McLawrenson was lying face down in a puddle outside, unable to walk ... but that didn’t matter because we could spend more time in the bar!
And so it was, that on 7 January 2019, the collective noun to describe a group of players at the end of the match was born ... a Thirst of Table Tennisers.
The thirst was duly quenched, accompanied by random chatter ... and we grazed on the buffet leftovers from the Leigh Miners Knitting Club ... quite how a Mince Pie, a Scotch Egg and some Nachos end up on the same plate baffles me ... it must be a Leigh thing.