A couple of extra chairs were put out in the hope that a passer-by may watch the game ... so when John Hughes turned up to watch we were half full. Scamperer opened proceedings against New Boy Newton ... after a tight 12-10 first set it went to the Smash boy. Then it was all 11-9’s and 12-10’s in the next ... but Dennis eventually got the better of Mighty Joe.
But the crowd were here to see debutant Nick Number 2 and his first foray into Division 2 ... it was against Ljubov Lyon, winner of the Div 2 singles title in 2017 and a renowned thwacker. It was a baptism of fire as Ljubov won 11-4 in the first, in an encouraging second game Nick scrambled 8 points ... and then in the third he opened up a lead to take it 11-8, eventually losing 3-1. Losing and learning is time well spent.
Five sets of pendulum wiff-waff followed ... Mighty Joe at match point down in the fourth, rescued it 13-11 ... Mighty Joe was done-in, he was spent ... there is no defibrillator at the Labour Club but luckily we had Ljubov, an A&E Nurse, on stand by ... but she said “sorry, I’m off duty” ... she was joking of course ... I think. New Boy Newton nicked it in the fifth, that was three on the trot for Chasers and they led 9-7.
Next up Scamperer v Ljubov, traditionally a hit and run game ... Ljubov hits and Scamperer runs. This time it was cat and mouse ... Scamperer took it in three. Then in walked season ticket holder Paul Melling to sit on the one remaining chair ... we could now legitimately describe it as a capacity crowd.
Smash took the doubles but all eyes were on Nick Number 2 v Dastardly Dennis ... his cagey, awkward style did for Nick and Dennis won in three. Ljubov regained her thwacking powers in the next against Mighty Joe and with two to play it was 15-13 to Chasers.
If ever a debutant had the chance to make a name for himself here it was. But Nick Number 2 fluffed his lines in the first and New Boy Newton took it with relative ease 11-7. It was 11-8 in the next to New Boy Newton but Nick was always chasing the Chaser ... the electronic scoreboard showed a 17-13 lead to Chasers ... in the third game Nick had a 10-6 lead but lost it to some clever play by New Boy Newton.
It was at 10-10 in the third that Nick Number 2 decided to salvage the game, winning 12-10. Both players upped their game ... the speed of shots and their movement had gone up a notch too ... 9-9 in the fourth and Nick nicks it ... the capacity crowd were enjoying the best game of the night by far ... and in a tight fifth the delighted debutant did it, winning 11-8.
In the last game Dastardly Dennis did his tricky stuff ... Scamperer did his running around stuff ... it was a disappointing game compared to the previous one. But it was 3-1 to Smash ... and victory on the night 19-18.
In the Sky Sports studio the guest pundit was Jim Bolton ... Gabby Logan asked what he thought of tonight’s game ... “yes it was ok ... can I just remind everyone there’s an AGM on Thursday and can everyone please return their trophies from last season”.