Errr way in a manger, no shed for a bed, the little lord Balleggs laid down his sweet leg.
Hi there, and welcome, to the lucky number 13th bannual Balleggs. Again, the nasty bug going around meant a delayed start in the season which didn’t really manage to confuse too many of the competitors. Only one turned up late, but I can’t remember which one.
There was then a speech, not a good one but a public display of words nonetheless. This was followed by a Balleggs themed sing-song, an oddly small clap, and a wee toot-beep of a horn. Ahhh Balleggs.
So cum all ye faithful, gather round, it’s story time…
Chapter 1 – Genesis
In the beginning there were only four. Four balleggians destined to become two through the trial of armed combat. In the top half of the draw were D. Taylor and A. Bournat, and in the bottom was H. Cox-Hynd and J. Manson. These were the preliminary rounds to conclude before the remaining six competitors could join the fray.
Bournat and Taylor were the first to square up. It was an easy choice for Bournat after winning the toss to opt for darts first as this was his much stronger suit, according to his boss he’d been practicing. Taylor was also the much stronger pool player, and was interestingly the highest ranked pool player to never win a balleggs. If Taylor could somehow scrape through a darts match he would be through. But alas, it wasn’t to be, Bournat did exactly what he expected and won the first darts game, lost the pool, but advanced himself into the next round with a second win on darts.
Over on the other side H. Cox-Hynd was preparing to make his stand against J. Manson. Cox-Hynd wasn’t famous for going deep into tournaments but was known for sometimes putting on show when he really applied himself. Which Cox-Hynd would we see today, how exciting. Turns out it was the losing one, as Manson moved on into the next round with a 2-0 win. Cox-Hynd would later go on to lose in the Elliot also, but managed to defend his pride by beating Taylor in the Losers Loser section of the tournament, also known as the arse end.
Chapter 2 – Could you Adam and Eve it?
Bournat, recently buoyed by his preliminary round success, was getting ready to take on J. Bowden in the first quarter final. Both men were solid Mahatma and Elliott performers and each had won both, but the grand prize had eluded them. Only one would make it to the semis, only one would get a chance. Bournat won the toss and pointed at his beloved darts. He was coming in warm from his previous win over Taylor, whilst Bowden was trying to get his motors running like an old diesel on a freezing winters day. It wasn’t looking too good for Bowden, until just like that he coughed into life and fired home what would later be a Schmiechal winning score of 124 to edge in front of Bournat 1-0. That was the end of old Bournat as he knew Bowden would have the upper hand on the pool table, which was coolly confirmed and Bowden claimed his win 2-0 and became the first man in the semi (with a semi).
Whilst all that shite was going on, two brand spanking new competitors were grappling in the wings. It was the battle of the blondes, tourney favourite A. Davies versus pool hustler M. Barber. A contest that was becoming a common show in the Balleggs. If Barber was going to stand any hope he’d have to win the toss and beat Davies on the pool table twice. Not an impossible task and one Barber was preparing for with a customary fag outside, the warm up of champions. Unfortunately however, straight off the bat, Barber knew he would not be taking his place in the sun, as Davies did so well in calling the toss correctly and of course went for darts first, pretty much ending Barbers hopes there and then. It should be noted he put in a valiant effort in the darts but that twinkle in Barbers eyes that we’d all come to know and love had left him after the first loss on the board. It was over, as Davies followed that up with a win on the table to advance into the semis 2-0.
On the other half of the draw another familiar pairing was getting ready. The two most assumed to be brothers, J. Manson and W. Manson, the 6th time these two had met. Whilst they may have shared blood (not in a weird way), in the Balleggs arena they shared nothing but pure hatred for each other. One was extraordinary handsome with a beard that would make your daughter collapse, the other was ok on a calculator and liked counting grass. J. Manson had won the previous five meetings and he was determined to keep that record up, which got off to the perfect start with a won coin toss. He opted the dart board knowing W. Manson didn’t have the best track record on there, a gamble which very nearly didn’t pay off as a tie break throw was forced after neither could hit the double. A lottery J. Manson won, just, as he nervously walked over the pool table. Thankfully for some, and probably not others, J. Manson followed up this darting masterclass with another shambles on the pool table in which he just manged to scrape though again, sending him nicely into the semis to await his opponent.
The fourth and final quarter final to play was between two believed not to be brothers, R. Jones and W. Jones, although both refused to do a blood test. These two hadn’t met many times before so were staring each down to fully gauge what they up against. R. Jones was one of the few remaining Balleggians to have been to every event, so he had the experience. However W. Jones had gone all the way to claim the title once before so knew how to win. The most difficult thing about this match from a records keeping point of view was that there was no obvious descriptor to distinguish between the two Jones’. Perhaps one of them was larger, and the other looked more Middle Eastern. Let’s go with that. So straight from the off Middle Eastern Jones had larger Jones in a death grip after a conclusive win on the pool table. Larger Jones, in years gone by, had been a solid competitor, however in recent turn outs he had become more of a knob of the year lover. Something that became evident again as he bowed out of the main event again after loosing on the dart board for W. Jones to walk into the semis 2-0.
Chapter 3 – The last scupper
J. Bowden vs. A. Davies, what can we say about this. Bowden was what you could call an ex-angry man. He’d largely got it under control in recent years, but Davies knew if he were to antagonise him with perhaps a bang on the head or a yell in the ear, Bowden could easily jump up, wrap his legs around his Davies’ head, and gouge his eyes out. An outcome that would really be sub-optimal for everyone. So, like a man covered in meat walking into a lions cage, Davies carefully put down his cue (one of the ones he hasn’t broken) and tip toed over to the dart board.
It wasn’t his finest display, but Davies manged to scrape through the first darts match with a win as the remaining competitors looked on with curiosity. As Bowden’s coach tried to G him up for the next game of pool, knowing there was a possibility of snatching a darts win, Davies’ coach was milling around smoking god knows what outside knowing Davies required no coaching now. He was the best front runner in the Balleggs, yet to let a lead slip, and he was 1-0 up. That was all he needed, a small nudge in front and Davies was away. Bowden’s pool game fell, as did his next darts game. It was over, Davies was through 3-0 to yet another final, whilst Bowden was the first competitor to be jettisoned off into the bronze medal match for Mahatma.
It’s always interesting when two previous winners meet. Well for some it is anyway. There’s usually some sort of tantrum at the end and maybe an injury or two, so the balleggs faithful started to gather for the second semi of the day. W. Jones was up against J. Manson. These two had met quite a few times before, and it’s probably best not to mention who has previously had the upper hand, but nonetheless both were keen to make it to the final to take on Bloody Davies. The customary pre match slagging kicked things off in this event. Jones called Manson a fat slag, Manson called Jones a tarty bart farst, there was a nod in agreement, a handshake, and the games were underway.
Both were fairly evenly matched in both pool and darts, so it was agreed regardless of the coin toss pool was to be played first. A lovely affair that Manson took rather nicely, 1-0 you beauty. But momentum could shift in an instant, even when Manson won the next darts match taking it to 2-0, he knew Jones could easily get his face in the door, followed by his whole body, if it was left just slightly ajar. Manson had to kill it off quick. Maybe Mike Dad, grandfather of the Balleggs, was smiling on him that day, or maybe just blind Jones rage overcame his body, as Manson managed to scrape through the preceding pool match to make it a 3-0 clean sweep. Manson was through, Jones was laying on the ground face down, as the winner stepped over him triumphant. Manson had won, but the real test had just begun. Dun dun dun….
Chapter 4 – He lives
“For fuck sake”. A common phrase a the Balleggs, and one that was muttered many a time over as the people realised it was another Davies vs Manson final. A final Final if you will. These two had met 5 times in the final before, with Manson never quite managing to get across the line. And here’s another interesting fact for you, Davies has never lost a final before, all eight times he’s made it there, he’s taken the trophy home. So that’s nice isn’t it.
On their previous outing, Manson had only managed one limp wristed hit back at Davies with a solitary dart win, giving Davies the victory 4-1. But this time it was going to be different, this time Manson was going to try.
Manson rather surprisingly won the toss for the first time in a match between these two. It had long been suspected that Davies had been sucking off coins for years to gain their favour, but now the tables had turned from the outset. Manson went for pool, his stronger suit as Davies got ready for work. It was an edgy game that came down to the black ball, Davies was being his usual bastard self as Manson took on a pot attempt he really shouldn’t have, rattling the black ball in the jaws and gifting Davies his first win, 1-0 Davies. The darts were next, and it was advantage Davies. He won on the board as expected but it was closer than he would have liked, 2-0 Davies. Manson wasn’t panicking yet, a pool win now was needed to steady the ship.
It wasn’t to be, and it wasn’t even close. Manson now was worried; it was Davies 3-0 and he was determined not to be white washed in a final. Using all his banned spells and focus, Manson ran over to the dart board and started throwing, and surprisingly the numbers were dropping off faster than Davies’. He finished off a flutter with a surprising double 4 before Davies could get there. 3-1, it was a chance for Manson, a small one but still a chance.
But guess what happened next. Yep. No Bueno. Fucking Davies did it again. He offered a small glimpse of hope to Manson by letting him into the game briefly, before taking it away. Davies won the final pool match, it was another 4-1 victory as Manson joined Jones on the floor.
Davies raised his cue aloft in triumph as “Long live the D” echoed deep into the night.
Well done Davies, his 8th Victory at the Balleggs.
For fuck sake indeed
The closing ceremony
Not much to report here actually, a very sensible one by all accounts. Little clap, couple o shots, and everyone got on their way like nothing had happened. Nice.
W. Manson claimed his first ever Elliot after beating A. Bournat in the final, however he claimed the black spoon on the way.
R. Jones received the Players Player award for coming last, but showing up every time and showing maximum commitment. The true Balleggs spirit.
As per usual proceeding, A. Bournat took home the coaches coach award to showing maximum attention to his player, even though his play failed him.
J. Bowden won his first ever Schmeichal with a solid 124.
And finally M. Barber managed to hold on to the Cordelia II All England Champion 1837 Award, his third successive win, earning himself the title Mr. Seventh Place. Rather impressive nonetheless.
Winner (1st): A. Davies
Close but no Cigar (2nd): J. Manson
Mahatma Balleggs (3rd): W. Jones
Eilliot Balleggs: W. Manson
Cordelia II All England Champion 1837 Award: M. Barber
Players Player: R. Jones
Coach of the Year: D. Taylor
Coaches Coach: A. Bournat
Schmiechal: J. Bowden
Black Spoon: W. Manson
Knob of the year: R. Jones