SKITTLERS - Chappers blog
Another hectic week has zoomed by. Quick shower and throw on the first thing from the wardrobe. Just putting on shoes as Steve’s taxi pulls up and beeps. Rob & Coll are already onboard and I snug into the back. Still room for Bod, Dex and Chris the sticker. Every team should have a people carrier! Every team should have a Captain like ours. Generous to the core. No room for Rus today though. Steve better get a bigger car! No Hyder either tonight. He is having a quiet night in with a Chinese at work. Perhaps tonight will contain a larger chunk of sanity if not better footwear.

We are off to the Stoke Working Men’s Club. Just imagine Peter Kay’s Phoenix nights without the comedy. Stoke the home of our league boasts two alleys. One is wide enough to house a ping-pong table and the other isn’t wide enough to hold a ping-pong ball. We’re playing the Stokies and to be honest I can’t remember much about them so they must be a middle of the road team. Not good enough to fear and not bad enough to make us look good. Nobody can remember which alley we’re playing on as we rumble along in the dark listening to the football on the radio.

Its only when we get into the club we realise the comedy in our midst’s. In the dark of the car Dex and Rob had kept their dirty little secret but in the glare of the strip lighted bar its just too shocking to contemplate. Dex & Rob are wearing identical shirts. It would appear they were chosen by their ladies (both called Karen) and they are both in size large. It’s that funny that we forgive the barman for his poor selection of ale – Worthy, Worthy or Worthy. Rob & Dex are still getting it big time as we go to the alley first.

It’s the skinny alley and we all just manage to squeeze in. It’s a good job we are good friends as cuddling in the doorway is the only way you can get to watch without being in the way. We still manage to keep Rob & Dex separated so they don’t look too silly. Coll is up first and already moaning it’s his bogey alley. Certainly seems that way as he starts with a 5. No repeat 60 for him tonight. I’m on and manage 8 without hitting the front pin. 6’s & 7’s & 8’s for the rest and we’ve got 42. Going on first on an away alley you never know if you’ve done enough. Chris starts some bragging and skittles on the bottom for a 6. Funny how the 9’s always come when we aren’t there!

In the bar we try and find out how much it costs to take a family of four to go to Steve’s World Theme Park Gillingham. £20 seems the going rate. Hyders lot have already been and as expected Hyder was the worst behaved. Steve announces he has 19 turkeys now and we start getting our orders in for Christmas but before you can say gobble the Stokies have finished and we are back on.

2 down first hand. We could have pulled but for Tommy the Stokies opener getting a big spare. That was what all their noise was about. I don’t think they have chalked up their names on the scoreboard in line with current regulation standards as Steve is skittling against some bloke called Minge!

Coll’s score lacks finesse again. I am accused of tourettes syndrome as I grasp for 7. Steve is struggling, hitting pins two at a time. Oh no! Who started talking to Bod? Just as he is about to skittle…what happened was…blah…. blah…’f’ing blah. Good he lines up his shot after twenty-six minutes of build up play. Swings back his arm, steps forward and stops. He remembers the rest of his conversation about how he confuses Yeovil with The Oval when he hears it on the radio and we all groan again. Time stretches on as it has a tendency when Bod is on the alley. I think I may have passed out and I am sure I missed 3 birthdays but eventually he managed to throw all three balls. No magic in anyone’s scores tonight. Even Rob has stopped claiming to be our best nomination skittler and is claiming anything he can rough.

Third hand we are looking average all over the place. Coll has gone from 60 one week to scratchings the next. I hit 6. Steve misses a good spare chance. Bod plods on. Robs staying steady but still can’t open his spare account for the year. Maybe Dex can show us the way. It’s a good strike. He got a spare on. Yes he takes the spare 2. We cheer and praise be for Neil and his consistent play. He bolts the bloody thing so slightly despondent we head to the bar for Coll’s scratchings.

At the bar they only have 2 packets of dry roasted, 2 bacon fries and a packet of cheesy moments so by the time we have got beers in and argued over who’s having what the speedy and noisy Stokies have already finished their two hands and we are back on.

We are down 17, losing on both hands. It doesn’t look like a good night. We need a big score now. Coll goes first and although throwing his balls at 100mph still makes hard work of it. I’m up and choosing my ball. Rob has discovered that Bod has several sewn on patches all over the ass of his shorts just like the ones on his and Dex’s matching shirts. He is trying to count them to deflect some of the piss take away from their outfit snap. The ball is just about to leave my fingertips when Bod cries out “Rob just touched my cock”. The ball goes wild and hits the winger for 1. The uproar continues while I try to keep the momentum. Coll calls for some quite and I limp on to finish on 5. Average scores till Neil pulls out some more Dexter magic. He is fantastic. Easily the best skittler on our team and also the editor of the Blog so needs his ego stroked or he will start censoring. 12 spare not the largest and Dex is fast becoming the king of the mini spare this season. 

Next hand Coll’s got a little better but the rest of us ain’t. More missed opportunities and even the timely text from Hyder seeking an update can’t motivate us beyond mediocre. More 40 hands and not looking good as we leave for the bar.

The cards eventually come out for some chase the ace. Coll wins by turning a queen from the deck at the last. Bod was the miffed semi-finalist. The Stokies are singing like a horde of xfactor wanabees in the alley. The louder they get the less likely it is we can salvage the game. They only seem to know nursery rhymes to sing but hey by the looks of them it wasn’t that long ago they left the nursery. What it is to be young and noisy. To think we were young once. Coll as usual tries to claim that he is still 21 but under pressure reveals he was last asked for ID to get into the studios back in 1988.

Back to the alley and we are 33 down. We lost by that many last week. We can’t let them get away with it. Lets have a biggie and retain some dignity. Coll means business and hits a 12 spare bringing his massive score up to 43 for the night. I scrape 41, Steve 42ish, Rob hits his season high 44, Bod totals 39 ( I sweat cause a good strike could have seen me dropped) and Neil needed 7 for the tote but didn’t even manage that. They need 14 to win and its game over.

In the bar plates and butter are waiting for us. Big slabs of bread and cheese arrive as an appetizer. We float the idea of a Karen swap to Rob & Dex to see if they would notice if our Thompson Twins went home to the wrong house. Dex is quite taken on the idea of a good nights sleep at Robs followed by a lie in till 12 then lunch at the Old Barn. Rob is not so keen on the idea of waking for kids. Coll tells us of his plans for a Dirty weekend in Plymouth with the lads from work. He has told Clare that St Mellion is a golf course when we all know it’s the red light district. He is taking his golf clubs to play a-round. (Only joking Clare if your reading this off the web whilst Lee’s away!) Sausage n chips arrive, as does Chris. He doesn’t need to tell us what we already know. We have lost. It’s possibly a new record as we lost every bloody hand. The Stokies, give them credit, give three cheers to Liquor & Poker loud and proud and we reciprocate. Neil takes some team photos for the web site and I inadvertently wave a sausage at the wrong moment. We wet ourselves at the picture of Rob & Bod that looks like someone’s knob is out and only hope the website does it justice.

We bundle back into the Battle bus heading home with our 100% league record intact. Shame it’s the wrong way around. Steve pumps up the ACDC on the stereo and I can’t help thinking how apt the lyrics our to our current campaign. ‘Got a whole lot of nothing!’
Thursday, 14 September 2006
Chappers Mind - Blog 14-9-06