Bolton, Blue Posts. 30/05/07. W 7-4

This game, the last of the season, was lucky to finish (just) in time for last orders. Fortunately for Daddy Skeels, the large SULSESC turn-out (despite Steve Sumner being sidelined through injury) meant he was able to leave in good time to get back to burping and nappies with the final result still in doubt. The first three legs took over an hour to complete with both SULSESC showing the bad side of their inconsistent finishing and already-relegated Bolton displaying why their record this season is so awful (played 9, lost 9). Pity poor Barry who volunteered to score all night… Actually, scoring went well in the first team leg but the required double eventually, painfully (inevitably?) reached double 1 on both sides and took an eternity to finish, in SULSESC’s favour, thanks to Colin. A similar story in the first doubles but this time Colin and Frank were unable to find that elusive double; Andy Skeels and Neil (x2) managed to win theirs after another marathon. And then, same time as usual, the food was served up. Now, take my word for it, the food is NEVER served up after the third leg of the game – we’ve usually got through at least six legs by the time the food appears. The pace did pick up a bit later and a slyly crafted double 3 from the captain won his and Andy D’s leg, to leave the score 3-1 before the singles. The only win in the first three legs came from Frank with a double 11 finish, and with the score at 4-3 the next legs were crucial. The two Andys and the captain displayed nerves of steel to mop up the tail and so move SULSESC into an unassailable 7-3 lead (and a comfortable 3rd place in the league table) only for us to lose the beer leg. Fortunately for Bolton, the bar staff had waited up for us…

Team: Colin, Chris(c), Neil W, Andy S, Tracy, Peter, Frank, Andy D, Barry

Plymouth, Blue Posts. 23/05/07. L 3-8

Another evening of frustration as we lost our finishing touch yet again. Looks like we’ll all have to be in for extra doubles training over the summer. The general level of play wasn’t any worse this week – individual averages were similar to if not better than previous weeks; the team was virtually the same as last week. But oh how we’ve let ourselves down with our finishing in 3 of the last 4 games. Colin at least had an excuse – a bout of post-promotion-post-in-laws-no-decent-beer (well he’s a southerner and doesn’t like bitter)-down-in-the-mouthness made him Mr Glum for the evening and didn’t do his darts any good. It was 0-7 and looking ominous before the two singles victories by Barry and the captain. But it was too little, too late. Plymouth eased the pain a tad by conceding the beer leg when their number was reduced to 3 late in the evening, and even bought the beer as well. Let’s hope for better things next week against Bolton.

Team: Colin, Neil W, Chris(c), Barry, Andy D, Frank, Steve, Tracy

Burnley, Sekforde Arms. 12/05/07. W 8-3

Following two heavy defeats this was a much needed victory against 5-man Burnley which keeps us clear of the relegation places. Despite losing the team game and the third doubles leg, finishes from Neil W (D7, D6 for a strange but valuable 26 checkout) and the captain (D1) in their respective doubles meant the scores were tied at 2-2 going into the singles. From then on we lost just the one leg, with Colin (D20), Neil, Steve and Andy D (all D1) victorious in their games. The captain opened with a stunning 125 and finished on 54, D18 for 90 checkout, but the dross in between, which included a 2, a 3 and a 5 rather took the gloss off the leg. New boy Barry Henderson suffered the only singles defeat of the evening. Despite a ton and an average of over 50 for the leg, he was unable to find that elusive double. Like many before him he’s found out the hard way that heading the SULSESC Forecasting Competition for much of the season counts for nothing in the cut and thrust of the APFSCIL Darts League Second Division. The match was rounded off with some good scoring in the beer leg which was won thanks to a maiden double (3) from Matt Gray. Incidentally Andy D’s finish was his maiden double too, so well done chaps. Here’s to many more.

Team: Colin, Chris (c), Steve, Neil W, Barry, Andy D, Matt, Tracy

Nottingham Forest, Brazen Head, 09/05/07 Lost 3-8

With the team still struggling to come back to reality after all the football shenanigans, it was perhaps no surprise that we suffered a second heavy defeat on the bounce. The highlight of the evening was probably the captain being able to write up “CHAMPIONS” as the team name. After that, we scraped together 3 points – the first from Andy & Steve’s doubles game in which they both played well, with Steve playing his leg of the season to finish on double 4, as well as hitting a 140. We did challenge in the team game and had several chances to finish, but without much luck. In the singles we reached or at least approached a double in most legs but with little luck in our favour managed to win only one – surprise, surprise, the captain checked out on 18, x9 for a 36 checkout. No prizes for guessing, then, that after the carnage of the previous 10 legs and against all odds our final point came in the beer leg, where Colin salvaged some pride – and the beer – with a double 5 to finish. At least new boy Andy Dixey didn’t have to fork out for the opposition on his debut. Welcome to the team!

Team: Colin, Chris (c), Andy S, Steve, Neil W, Andy D

Manchester City, Sekforde Arms, 30/04/07 Lost 4-7

“We are Scunthorpe, Super Scunthorpe, we are Champions, we don’t care!” Well, what kind of an attitude is that to take into a vital APFSCIL Darts League 6-a-side 2nd Division match? I suppose it all depends on cause and effect – did we lose because of our attitude, or was the attitude born of the defeat? I don’t really care, but it helps to pad out the report. Actually, we were a little unlucky to lose this one; although the first team leg was conceded without too much trouble we won all the three pairs legs to put us in front at 3-1. Colin completed a 14, x20 finish followed by double ones for Neil W and Frank in the remaining pairings. And then things took a familiar run downhill; despite some good efforts in the singles only Steve Sumner won his leg with a double 10 following a 116 amongst a rash of high scoring. Aussie Pete was desperately unlucky to not find a double; Colin lost out with a finish available, and Frank also came close. The captain didn’t even get to a double, despite his best leg of the season, with his opponent checking out on 67. Boo! And to round it all off, we lost the beer leg. Bring on the Forest!

Team: Colin, Chris (c), Neil W, Pete, Frank, Steve, Tracy

Plymouth Argyle, City Tavern, 15/03/07. Won 7-4

Another victory in the league for SULSESC after a false start against the pasty boys. Late arrivals led to a 5-a-side first team leg and a defeat for us despite the captain’s only ton of the evening. Colin managed a ton in the doubles with captain as his partner, only for the leg to go begging again (see a pattern here?). At about this point of the evening, someone must have added something to the beer, because the next 5 legs were all SULSESC victories. Neil W and Steve “Stevie Wonder” Sumner started the run with some good scoring and a double 8 from Steve (worth noting in your diaries); Pete and Frank completed the doubles round with another win. Colin, Frank and Neil W all won their singles only for Stevie Wonder to come back down to earth with a bump to leave the score at 5-3. Step up the captain, and for once a captain’s innings took the deciding leg, Something to do with alcohol consumption, apparently – Tracy, on scoring duty again, has added “buy him lots of beer!”. Not a sentiment I’m prepared to argue with. Despite a valiant effort Pete went down in the last singles leg (ooh Missus) but we claimed the beer leg for a 7-4 victory and ruin the “win the beer leg, lose the game” theory from earlier games.

Team: Colin, Chris (c), Neil W, Steve S, Pete, Frank, Tracy

Ipswich Town, The Angel, 12/02/07. Lost 4-7 (APFSCIL Cup)

Before we start, I should mention that Tracy, Score Queen for the evening, had the most fun, making handy little comments next to virtually every score on the sheet, as well as inventing nicknames for the team. Fwank and Captain Christoffison are fairly obvious; Colin seems to have been the only play to have ended up with two: “Pinky” and “Boots”(me neither) and I’m not sure how Andy “The Bike” Skeels came by his moniker.

At least we won the first leg. Conceding the next 6 was unhelpful and sent us crashing out of the Cup at the first hurdle for the second year running. The match was most remarkable for poor finishing all round (from both teams) and the result could easily have been reversed if we’d been a bit luckier with our doubles. The first leg was a case in point – the score sheet has been marked with “after many, many, many chances” next to the double 1 finish (no further comment necessary!). The two Neils scored the only tons of the match for SULSESC; Neil “Huggy Bear” Holland’s in the team leg whilst Neil Wrong’s sparked off a run of 3 singles victories; sadly too late to save the game. Never one to blow her own trumpet, Tracy added to her result “I won I won I won I won I won I won oh lay oh lay oh lay oh lay”. So now you know.

Team:Colin “Pinky/Boots” Lowe, Neil “Huggy Bear” Holland, Andy “The Bike” Skeels, Neil “Wrong”Wright, Chris “Captain Christoffison” Vaughan (c), Peter “New Boy” Grant, Frank “Fwank” Rhodes, Tracy “Queen of the Scoresheet” Prior

Manchester City, Blue Posts, 17/01/07. Lost 4-7.

Oh dear. Another evening of missed doubles despite actually scoring much better (we hit 4 tons between us) than in our previous home game against Burnley. Several chances went begging in the first team game before the leg was conceded but an improvement saw us 3-2 in the lead after the doubles and first singles legs. Finishes from Andy (x8) and Neil H (x16) gave us two of the doubles legs. Colin only just missed out on an 82 (42, 40) checkout before taking the next 3 weeks to finish on double 2. But finish he did (and deservedly so with a leg average of just under 70) which is more than can be said for the rest of us who collapsed to lose the remaining 5 singles, including the Captain’s defeat by City’s captain, Tina. Unluckiest SULSESC player of the night was Peter who came extremely close on several occasions to finishing his first singles match for the team before finally losing out. Our final point came in the beer leg with the Captain’s double 2 to end a disappointing evening on a more promising note. Incidentally, the emerging pattern of the beer leg this season is that so far we’ve won the beer legs in the matches we’ve lost, and vice-versa. Finally, a third debut of the season should be mentioned – Matt Gray has found himself roped in to the darts team.

Team: Colin, Andy, Chris (C), Neil W, Frank, Peter, Neil H, Steve, Matt

Burnley, Blue Posts, 22/11/06. Won 9-2

What a turn up! A rare event indeed – all 3 pairs and all 6 singles won in a match which saw us hammer Burnley, albeit slightly unconvincingly. To repeat the cliché, we’ve played and scored much better and lost in other matches. But heigh-ho, let’s not sneer at a 9-2 victory. The only two legs to evade our grasp were the first team leg, and yes, you’ve probably worked it already, the beer leg. Scoring was reasonable throughout, with only a solitary ton scored (remarkably, by the Captain) and finishing, not surprisingly, much better - scarcely a double 1 in sight. Highest checkout of the evening went to Neil H saving the Captain’s blushes in the first doubles with 7, 9, Top for a 56 finish. He also finished on x16 for his singles victory. Neil W and Frank also ended up with 2 finishes apiece. The Prior family chipped in, with new boy Dennis winning his singles and Tracy ably assisting Frank to victory in their doubles leg.

Team: Neil H, Chris (C), Neil W, Dennis, Steve, Frank, Tracy

Bolton, The Boot, 8/11/06. Won 7-4

A new tick for SULSESC – the Boot near Kings Cross – and we’re looking forward to going back after a 7-4 victory over Bolton. The first team leg was polished off with a double 8 by Frank who then surprisingly lost his pairs leg partnered by Colin. Two double 2s saw us take the remaining pairs - one from the Wright half of the Neils pairing, the other from Andy, partnered by Steve. At 3-1 up we turned round the singles result against Forest to with 4 of the next 6 legs. Colin failed to win despite a 121 hit, but Frank, (x5), Neil H (38), Andy (usual x1) and, surprise surprise, the Captain with an astonishing 54, x20 finish* secured the victory. Despite scoring well, Neil W was the only other player to lose his singles. So with one beer leg already under our belts we charged headlong into another….and lost. Bugger, Bang goes the 100% beer leg record. Incidentally another first was the SULSESC darts debut of Aussie Peter Grant. On this showing he’ll go far – to Japan I believe, later in the year….

*well to be honest after the dross I’ve been throwing recently I was absolutely flabbergasted.

Team: Colin, Frank, Neil H, Neil W, Peter, Chris (C), Andy , Steve, Tracy

Nottingham Forest, Blue Posts, 25/10/06. Lost 5-6

Another First Game of the Season and SULSESC were hoping to carry on where the football team had recently left off, with a second drubbing of a Forest team. Sadly, due poor finishing in winnable legs this was not to be. At 2-2 before the singles legs (Neil H won the team leg with a double 2 and Frank finished his and Neil’s doubles with a double 16), things looked promising. Unfortunately we proceeded to win only two of the fours singles legs – Colin with a x4 in a leg in which he also hit 125 to really take the wind out of his opponent’s sails and Andy with a double 16 checkout. A mention in despatches however for Neil Wright: under pressure in the deciding leg he played a bit of a blinder and was desperately unlucky not to hit the finish we needed to level the score. At least there was an early and unexpected first for the season – we won the beer leg with a finish of 32 (actually 8, 12, x6, but no-one’s complaining) from Andy Skeels. A not wholly disheartening result; Forest were relegated from the first division at the end of last season, so we weren’t disgraced. And we’ve got a 100% beer leg record to defend!

Team:Neil H, Neil W, Colin, Steve, Andy , Tracy, Frank, Chris (C).