正如已故伟大的艾伦·希勒 Alan Shearer 曾经说过的，上升的必然下降
What’s more to say really?
But if you do want more, well, we’ve got a story for you. Not a good one, maybe more of an anecdote, but still, it’s the fucking Terry Balleggs…
In the beginning there was only man, and that man had a horn. On blowing of said horn, dark turned to light and more men appeared. A couple at first, but soon that became many, and that children was how the 2021 winter Balleggs was born.
They gathered, they sang, they clapped, someone yelled, and just like that the tournament was underway. Well done to all.
Due to the un-lovely number of 9 competitors, a preliminary round was required to weed out the men from the boys. H. Cox-Hynd, a stalwart of the Balleggs, was first up to bat. He was to take on the pocket sized might of L. Phillips. Whilst the two of them looked incredibly similar, Cox-Hynd could usually be identified by the number of trinkets sewn onto his person. Some lucky, some unlucky, so it probably evened out.
Phillips, being a prior champion of the Balleggs took the upper hand early against the green haired monster with a solid win on the pool table, knowing he’d now have two chances to get into the next round. One was all he needed as he cruised past Cox-Hynd with a follow up win in the darts, 2-0 Phillips, bye-bi Cox-Hynd, until next time mon frere.
J Manson PD vs W Manson (2-0)
The quarter finals got underway with in the way they normally do, with the Manson derby. It happens almost every year, and every year it’s the older of the two that prevails. Manson junior, however, was determined to make this time different as he crawled into his thinking pod and went full rain man, maths would surely see him through. Young Manson won his toss, a good start, but the luck ended there. J Manson went on to win the pool, and then the follow up darts, to send W Manson off to the tournament underworld.
Barber PD vs R Jones (2-0)
Barber vs R Jones, another classic match up. Once lovers, now mortal enemies, the pair would hold nothing back (apart from their nobs) when they would come to blows. Barber, being a pool specialist was more than happy when he won the toss and could play his favoured hand first. But Jones, perhaps described as an everything specialist maybe, was just happy to be there and be injury free at this point, which wasn’t to last. Barber did what most expected and won the pool, however by his own admission he hated darts, so Jones had a chance. A chance was all it was though, Barber turned this into another 2-0 win, to take him into the next round, this tournament was speeding through the rounds.
Phillips PD vs Bowden (2-0)
An interesting match up to say the least. Phillips was known to turn up to the Balleggs and either win or come second, but was certainly out of practice. Bowden proud non-event-misser, was a man who’s placed everywhere between 2nd and 8th in the past. He was like a solid shit. Sometimes it would be an absolute mess down there, sometimes you wouldn’t have to wipe. He could beat and lose to anyone, you just didn’t know what you were going to get. Phillips liked his pool, like most at the Balleggs, so was happy to take that first, cruising to a comfortable 1-0 lead and just needing a solid performance on the board to finish Bowden off. Bowden liked his darts, sometimes, sometimes he hated them, but he was liking them now. He was putting on a show and was holding his throw against Phillips who already had one eye on the final. It was blow for blow, but in the end the stats don’t lie. Phillips hit his mark and turned his head over to the final quarter final to see who he’d be facing next. Bowden walked off to get pissed and possibly throw up.
Bournat PD vs Davies D (2-1)
For those who don’t know, Davies was entering this event on the back of five consecutive Balleggs wins, quite a feat. Stat leader in most fields also, he was well and truly the favourite. Some loved him, some hated him, some even worshipped him as an idol, at this point he was looking unstoppable and Bourant was the first man up into the mincer. Bournat was known as a keen practicer, a rare trait amongst Ballegioins, and was seen by some as a sleeping giant, but was seriously up against it here. Bournat won the toss and had to blow his load early if he had any chance, and by blowing his load, I mean winning darts. Davies, ever happy to start with darts, was eager to get this round out the way. It was a shaky game, and the doubles were being missed left right and centre, but Davies eventually hit his mark. This game was dead in the water, Bournat hated the pool table, and it hated him back in equal measures.
Maybe it was relaxtion too early, or maybe it was Bournat’s beauty that lulled Davies into a false sense of security, but Davies was playing Bournat into the pool game. This was garnering the attention of the crowd, who saw a potential of an upset on the cards. With just a small bit of coaching, Bournat entered robot mode and blindly did exactly what was asked of him. He won the pool, and he had a chance at making some sort of history here. So they darted for a place in the semis. Davies darted, then Bournat darted, then Davies again. Bournat’s numbers were dropping fast as you could see the training was paying off. He reached the doubles before Davies, the crowd grew bigger. Davies was shaking his head in the background in bemusement, as Bournats first dart missed the double 20. As did his second. But his third, a white arrow of beauty, was a thing to behold, slotting straight into the double which was met with screams of elation all round. Bournat had done what so many before him had failed to do. He’d beaten Davies in open play, knocking Davies out for the first time in 4 years. What a moment. What a man. Oh and bye bye Davies, big shame. (Small sub note – Davies would go on to lose his next match also to J. Bowden, and ended battling it out in the losers loser final. Whoops).
Phillips PPD vs Bournat DD (3-2)
Now, what do we have here. A classic yingle vs yangle match up. Another example of a match that rested entirely on the toss, with Phillips heavily favouring Pool, and Bournat showing his new prowess on the dart board after previously knocking out Davies. Usually these types of matches went down to the wire, and the crowd were in for a treat.
Bournat got off to the perfect start possible and selected to start with darts, an event that he closed as quickly as he started, 1-0 Bournat, and he was dreaming of that sweet creamy final already. Phillips, doing what he did best, unsurprisingly slapped back with a win on the pool table. A trend that would continue into the next rounds of the match, which entered it’s 5th and final game as 2-2. All to play for, and it was advantage Bournat, one more win in the darts and he’d be through to only his second ever final, it was within tongue-ing distance. Phillips was going to have summon his best darts to stand any hope of going through. Bournat threw, Phillips threw, and so the process went on as the numbers started to fall pretty evenly. Bournat reached the doubles first but couldn’t finish, was excitement getting the better of him. Philips wasn’t there yet so Bournat returned again, and again missed, and now it was Phillips turn, could he close it out. First dart miss, pretty wild, but it was just a marker, and his second landed home as Phillips turned round to shake the hand of the mildly upset Bournat. Phillips marched on to his 3rd final in 4 attempts, not bad.
Manson DPD vs Barber (3-0)
Well well well, what do we have here. Another Balleggs classic. Six times these two have met in the past, and six times Manson has had the upper hand. This time was different though. Actually was it? It felt pretty similar to the times before.
If Barber was to have any success he was going to have to come out hot on the Pool table. He was running down towards the bottom of the Dart statistics table, whilst Manson was at the other end. Barbers strong suit was definitely the ol’ stick n’ ball. That race, however, immediately got off to a lumbering start when Manson won the toss and decided not to risk fate on the pool. Barber fell at the first hurdle and it was a trend that unfortunately was to continue. The next game of pool didn’t go his way either, it was all but over. Barber stood in the entrance to the shed, a whisp of wind lifted a strand of golden hair from his head, to only let it down just as gently as it moved. A brief smile of resignation fell upon his face. Barbers time was up, he knew it, and it was Manson that unceremoniously trenched on to the final to face Phillips with nothing more than a handshake and a courteous “Go fuck yourself”.
The final Final
Manson DDPD vs Phillips P (4-1)
The last time these two played it was in the final. 2018 Winter to be exact. Ahhh, a good year, A Start is Born was just hitting cinemas, Ethiopia signed a peace deal with Eritrea, and the bloody French had won the world cup. There was no global sickness from some kid eating a penguin in China, times were a lot more simple. Back then, Phillips had just beaten Manson with the last game of the tournament to win 4-3. A moment that still haunted Manson’s dreams and was also the beginning of the trend that earnt him the nickname “my-little-silver-medal”. Manson had done 0 training since then, so he was ready to perform.
Darts up first, both knew this would set the tone, a 1-0 lead tastes a whole lot sweeter than a 1-0 deficit, weirdly. Manson took first blood, and could smell the fear in the sweat of Phillips. This turn however turnout to just be lynx Africa, as Phillips whipped back with a decisive win on the table to level the series. This could be going the distance.
Manson, back on the dart board and now wearing the lynx Africa himself, was keen to not let this go the distance. Phillips after all carried bags for a living, so would have the stamina over his counterpart. Manson won this challenge and it was clearly a case of who was going to break serve. The answer was not far away, Phillips left the door just slightly ajar as Manson rammed home the black in the next game to take it to 3-1.
The end was in sight, that piece of silverware that had eluded Manson for years now was just within his reach. One more dart win and that would be that. It was a tense game, pretty evenly matched, Manson got to the doubles first, 20s was all that was needed, but was struggling to find his mark. Phillips soon joined him on the checkouts. The final throw of the tournament started with a miss, Phillips turned away to check the scores, fully expecting to be up next. When he turned back to board Manson was standing there with his hand outstretched. He done it. Manson finally wins the Balleggs for the first time since 2018.
It was met with a yaldi, and probably a high kick. He was ecstatic. The others didn’t care, but he was back in the winners circle once again. Ahhh, sweet nectar.
The closing ceremony
Again, 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.
Ta ta for now.
W. Manson claimed his second ever Elliot after beating, and second in a row from him.
A. Bournat received the Players Player award, for doing what so many before him have failed to do, knocking out Davies in open play.
Coaches coach this year was award to J. Manson, for coaching Bournat through his victory over Davies.
A. Bournat’s prowess on the dart board was shared with L. Phillips, both claiming the Schmeichel with 125s.
And finally, M. Barber claimed the 7-ball/180 pot after 7-balling A. Bournat, the bloody best 7-ball there's ever been.
Winner (1st): J. Manson
Close but no Cigar (2nd): L. Phillips
Mahatma Balleggs (3rd): M. Barber
Eilliot Balleggs: W. Manson
Cordelia II All England Champion 1837 Award: A. Davies
Players Player: A. Bournat
Coach of the Year: A. Bournat
Coaches Coach: J. Manson
Schmiechal: L. Phiilips & A. Bournat - 125
Black Spoon: W. Manson
Knob of the year: H. Cox-Hynd