SKITTLERS - Chappers blog
Well I’ve been looking forward to this all summer. Skittles is back today. You can tell just by the higher than normal text traffic on the phone. Everyone’s predicting great things for themselves so if we can channel it as a team we shall do well. Death before dishonour.

I’m walking up to the Bell and worrying whether I will get to play. Can’t remember what my last score was and if I could be dropped. Worse it could be a draw like years back when Coll picked his own name out to drop himself! Steve’s waiting with Rus (last years super sub). Bugger that’s more competition for the slots. Barely hear the conversation as we walk to the pub until Steve that great captain of ours advises he is being bloody gallant and dropping himself for the game. Excellent I always knew he was a good bloke. Rus is just along for the beer. Yipee. Bloody selfish I know but I figure on past performance I will be dropped for my fair share during the year anyway.

Rob & Gra are keener than us. Shame the bar staff don’t seem to share our eagerness to get the season started. Rob & Gra are dying of thirst and the Abbots better be worth the wait………………..It was. Um um good. Better be careful how many I down otherwise it will affect my performance. Neil arrives on foot. Colls still in a car on the way back from his French holiday so Steve becomes happy and goes to find the opposition. Rus is confused cause he thought Coll was called Colm. Gra corrects him and tells him its Dennis Collett!!

Steve tosses up, calls heads and loses. The Dangle Berries put us on first and we head for the alley. Steve has put up the team on the board and due to Colls absence I have the dubious pleasure of being on first. 

Here goes first ball of the season. Stay calm. Be the Ball. Arm at the pin. Don’t try too hard. Shit it’s heading down the gap and takes out the backer. Not the glorious start I would have hoped for. Steve shouts supportive comments and I take aim with my second. Hell there are still plenty to hit. Wooooaaa. I knew Id dropped a bomb the moment it left my hand and headed for the same ‘f’ing gap. Oh shit I’m feeling bad. This is not how I wanted it to be. It’s not my fault. Maybe I’m rusty or maybe I’m just shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. The third ball is out of my hand. It’s rattling down the alley. Its gonna cut the front pin and spread the lot. At the last second it jumps across the alley down the opposite gap and strikes one single bloody pin. 2. Four bloody months of waiting for a fat two.

Steve is up next. I can’t watch. They hate me. I’m shit. I’ve let everybody down already……Crash Steve has done some damage and has a spare on. We are back in bloody business. Go Steve make up for my dross. Yes he’s got it. Finishes with a 12. Were back. He’s saved my ass.

Robs up now. Gonna continue the spares. My 2 was just a bit of bad luck. The alley was cold. Too much pressure of being the opening man. Rob gets 2. What’s his excuse! Still at least it shows that it’s the alley that is tricky and not that I’m crap.

Bod goes up to the line…… wait he’s still not here. Traffic must be bad for scooter boy. There are rumblings of financial penalties for his ongoing tardiness. Hyder takes the alley instead still asking us to watch and learn. He has a bet on with the Sticker that he wont miss. Its close but he takes one pin from the pack & one pound of the Sticker. Offers double or quits to the sticker who this time turns him down and he’s off with a respectable 8 score and he is quickly followed by Neil who joins him in the land of respectable scores 8. I head to the bar with questions still hanging over my ability.

Talking of questions the Bell is gearing up for the quiz night. The hostess is just about to close entries when in scooters Bod. Beers are served aplenty. We answer with a few wise as answers to the quiz now underway thinking were funny and annoying a good chunk of serious Quizzers. Don’t they know Thursdays is skittles night. They should be in their own team growing the ranks of the Stoke league not answering what is the only country to start with an O. 2 violins a cello & a banjo make a string quartet not a good bonfire!

Out to the alley with Bod now in tow. Were holding our own with the opposition. Not a lot in it. I’m up. Please no bolter. Lets put some more hair on it. Yes its connected and made a mess. 2 more strikes and I’m in business with my own respectable 8. The 2 was only a blip. Another good hand and I’m out of the scratchings contention. Neil gets his spare account open this season and we finish the hand on 47. Better.

I’m on the plate again. Neil is stood on the chair in the corner trying to get alley shots. Ill breath in case he’s taking pictures of me. No Chappers. Focus. Be the ball. Its off and looking good. It bashed the inside of the front and clears 7 leaving me with a spare on. Yes oh yes oh yes. I chose my next ball and as usual start to put mental torment on myself. They’re watching. You can do it. Get the bastards. Yes they’re down and I feel the need to do a little dance but more than anything I feel relief at the opportunity to make up for the 2. I aim and it’s wobbly looking, more like one of my first hand balls. It takes 2 for 11. I’ve opened my spare account. I’m a man again. I can walk tall. I aint buying no bloody scratchings.

Rob takes that particular dubious title. We finish the hand on 44. That will do. No shame in that. Rob buys big eat bags of Doritos. Rus buys bear and we wait for our turn on the alley again. Sadly the opposition are doing the quiz and have to wait for the guess the picture round to end! Whatever.

Eventually we get back to it. No spares in the 4th hand but still a good enough 47. Hyder opens his spare account with a well taken if not somewhat jammie 14. We finish on 47 again. Either my spare of the last hand cured my nerves or the Abbot has said a few prayers for me as the voices of doubt in my head have disappeared. We are in control so go back to the bar for more beer.

More crappy questions and lots of talk re Neil’s web site wonders. We have pretty well fly posted the bell with Neil’s calling cards. Its time to start wondering philosophically about the impact of the web site. We spent much of the night talking about it and posing for pictures. Bit like our own big brother experience. Is the camera capturing a true reflection of our evening or is its presence having a conscious effect on our performance. Ah so what it is a good bit of fun.

Back for the last hand. We are up. I get 9 and finish with 46.Not barnstorming but given the start Im please enough. Steve follows suit with 46. Brit scrapes himself of bottom place with 42 and Bod dumps himself into a night of with 3 on the last hand for 41. Still nothing in it between Gra & Neil on 44 each. 

So to the bar to be presented with a large hungry horse stylie portion of sausage and chips. We graze at it cautiously not sure whether its for us or both teams. The opposition return from the alley with good news. We have won by 13 pins and yes they get their own plate of sausages and chips. A feeding frenzy starts on the food and with mouth’s full we give a hearty three cheers to the Dangle Berries. They can’t remember our name so rightly just refer to us as THE WINNERS.


Big thanks from me for this great insight into the workings of the mind of chappers. Ed
Monday, 4 September 2006
Chappers Mind - Blog 31-8-06