Turn it up – that’s enough.
This is not the greatest Balleggs in the world, no. This is a tribute. Couldn’t remember the greatest Balleggs in the world, no – this is a tribute.
Hello und wilkommen to the 18th Bannual Balleggs, and oi vey it was a big one. 13 fucking idiots turned up, a new record, with two new competitors joining in the form of J. Elias and F. Goring, fucking idiots. Little was known about the dart, pool and sexual prowess of the new guys, but we were about to find out.
Usual opening ceremony nonsense proceeded a wee sing-song and the draw, and just like that we were underway for the eighteenth bloody time. Nothing had changed.
F. Goring vs J. Elias (DP)
First out of the gate was the two brand new members, and all were watching eagerly to see what they were bringing to the party. Goring had previously been talking a lot about his darts, making various threats to other members and also maybe bringing his own. Eagerness awaited his opening salvo after of course selecting darts first, especially after Elias openly expressing his hatred towards the board. But to everyone’s shock, including his own, Elias actually ended up hitting his intended double and claiming first blood – beating Goring at his own game. It wasn’t long until Elias followed this up with a pool win, sending Goring off to battle the cesspit that is the Elliot.
A. Bournat (P) vs W. Manson (DP)
The next was an interesting match that many would assume would be down to the toss, Bournat being a dart and coaching specialist, and Manson preferring the pool. So when Manson won the toss and opted for pool, it was a done deal already. But this is the Balleggs, and something weird was in the air this year. It was like that film where Lindsay Lohan swaps bodies with her mum maybe, Bournat won the opening pool and Manson won a very rare darts. Even more surprising given the fact that W Manson prefers to opt for the random throw and see what I get method. It was down to the last pool game, and could Bournat keep his body swap dreams on track for a surprising win. No he couldn’t, off to the Elliot with you sir.
H. Cox-Hynd vs M. Barber (PD)
Cox-Hynd can be a dangerous entity, usually less so in the form of a component, but more in a Taz of Tasmania sense. He can often induce and receive injury like it was going out of fashion. Barber knew this, but still felt comfortable taking on the knob of the year favourite. Barber opened his account nicely with a casual win on the table, giving Cox-Hynd a slim sliver of hope on the board. He could surprise people in the discipline, but rarely. So rarely in fact that even he was like fuuuuck this lad. A mentality that sadly did not carry him through to victory, weirdly, as barber kept his furious match onwards into the quarters.
L. Phillips (P) vs W. Jones (DD)
Oh my, what’s this we have here then. Definitely the most interesting of all the opening matches, and two previous winners, and tournament hopefuls collide. Those not involved were watching on with relief in knowing that one of these two were packing their bags. Both were frothing at the panty lines with confidence, but there could only be one. Going into this event Phillips was leading the pool rankings, and Jones knowing this wisely picked darts first. He’d been practicing apparently. A wise move that led to a solid darts win. Phillips wasn’t about to be rogered lying down, we has going to take this like a man and he did next what he did best, pool, whipping back at Jones to make it 1-1. It all came to this, the deciding darts match. Some held their breath, some held their nobs, others just stood outside staring at the sun. Phillips tried, he really did, but he would have definitely preferred pool to be the decider. Jones took the darts, and with that, the match. Jettisoning another soul off into the underworld.
R. Jones (P) vs A. Davies (DD)
A David and Goliath match up. Jones was no stranger to a knob of the year award, whilst Davies was a win or death player who had his sights already locked on the Trophy early on. He was hoping for a casual clean sheet to open his account and get his campaign underway. Jones however, had other plans, he was not ready to go off gently into the good night. He was to be wed soon, and his fiancé would not look kindly at some losing shmuck. Davies started as he meant to go on, with a darts win, but Jones surprisingly hit straight back with a win the pool. This gathered the attention of the wandering masses once again, was Davies heading for an early exit and the hands of captain injury, R. Jones. Just one more dart game was required from Jones, before heading into the realm of unknown riches. Unfortunately however this a bridge too far, Jones has used all his magic on the previous pool match, and Davies brushed him aside to advance into the quarters with a bit more of a sweat than he would have liked.
The Quarter finals
J. Elias (PD) vs W. Manson (D)
Into the proper meat of the tournament now and new guy Elias was taking on the might of the Balleggs IT department. Still reeling from his win over Bournat in the opening round, Manson was upset to hear Elias select darts to start them off. Especially surprising as both had previously voiced they’re disdain for the sport. The is the Balleggs however, and the show must go on. Elias, also buoyed on by his clean sweep of Goring was upset to see his streak come to an end after a very surprising win by Manson on the dart board. He was quick to take the match back to level however with his clearly preferred discipline, pool. It was now a toss of the coin as to who would make it through, and it was heads, whatever that means. Elias won, Manson out, back to the computer for him.
J. Manson (PD) vs M. Barber
After the skipping the first round, Manson was more than well enough oiled and keen to get his tournament underway, and he was in no way surprised in finding out his opponent was Barber. Officially the most common match in the Balleggs, with nine previous clashes between the two, and Manson claiming the upper the hand each time. Was this year going to be different however, Barber was yelling into his lap with excitement after winning the toss and choosing pool, the match was on. It was a tight close match, and Manson had come so close many times before in getting beaten by Barber, and this was yet another black ball game. It was not to be however, and Manson eventually took the win, which all but sealed Barbers fate. This was followed by a darts win to give Manson the second available semi slot.
W. Jones (PD) vs R. Milne
Milne was the second competitor who received a bye through the first round, and although this was only his second year at the Balleggs after a terrible turn out last time, he was eager to prove his doubters wrong. He’d largely managed to keep a lid on his “relaxants” from last year, so did this mean trouble for previous winner Jones. After defeating Phillips early on, Jones was arriving into this match with some serious momentum which he managed to keep going with a quick win over Milne on the pool. Once again that was all she wrote for Milne, who was still looking for his first win the Balleggs competition in any sport and followed the pool loss up with a poor display on the board. Another should for the Elliot, and another Semi for Jones – don’t make the usual joke please.
J. Bowden vs A. Davies (PD)
No one has beaten Davies more time than Bowden. It’s unknown why or how, but it’s a fact, perhaps one that Davies was unaware of, but a fact nonetheless. Bowden was dangerous to Davies and he was well rested after skipping the first round. Davies may not have been aware of this but he was still hesitant. When Bowden approached the table, Davies threw his meanest scariest stare his way, but Bowden was too caught up in an outside came of catch the lighter to notice. This distraction may have followed on into the game as Davies kept his streak going with a pool win, closely followed by a dart win, ending Bowden’s tournament not long after it had begun. Thanks for coming anyway.
J. Elias (PP) vs J. Manson (DDD)
Manson was well wary of Elias now, he was still very much an unknown in this event and to make the semi-finals on your debut was no small feat. After winning the toss however Manson was quick to select darts. A move that may have proved very smart early on Manson won the first darts game somewhat quickly, but then followed that on with a loss on the pool. He really did have a match on his hands now. Manson struck back swiftly with another darts win, taking him one more win away from another final.
Elias was not going to go away easily though, he was wanting to continue his impressive first Balleggs. He was rapidly rising up the Pool stats table, and after beating Manson again on the table he cemented himself at the top of the pool leader board with an impressive unbeaten run there making it 2-2. It all came to the last darts match, although losing at pool and still reeling from that, Manson was still happy to be unbeaten on the dart board, what a guy. A stat that he managed to keep going as he eventually beat Elias after a nervy nearest the bull, but what a finish for the peoples champion. Manson was through to his 7th successive final.
W. Jones (D) vs A. Davies (PPD)
Another tough to call match, these two had been playing each other frequently during the great pandemic of 2021 so they knew each other’s game well. Jones had been dumped out of the tournament on a couple of occasions by Davies and he was keen to give Davies the same treatment. Jones was happy to see pool as the opening game as he grabbed his second favourite cue and gave Davies a stare as if to say I wish I knew what to have for lunch. But the Jones wagon couldn’t even get into the first gear, Davies was not going to let him get the upper hand early as he won the pool in convincing fashion. Jones was on the back foot now, however he’d won the Balleggs before, he still had more to give. He demonstrated this immediately by shocking Davies with win straight back with the darts taking it 1-1. The game was on.
Jones was getting ahead of himself now, he’d gained some momentum and was starting to whisper to others that he was just a pool and darts win away from knocking Davies out and making it the final. You could say he was fully erect with confidence, but as the age old saying goes – “if you think you’ve beaten Davies, you need to actually have a look again and think around that some more because there’s a chance that you might not have”. Davies hit back again with another pool win, rocking Jones and reminding him that the match wasn’t over. The momentum shifted hugely once again as they approached the board, Davies was firing now. Too much for Jones, Davies hit his mark making it though the semi 3-1, and booking himself a place for another classic showdown.
The final final
J. Manson (DDP) vs A. Davies (PDPD)
These two have met in the final 6 times, and rather shockingly, Manson had never beaten Davies in the final. He’d done it before in open play, but never in the final. A fact he was kindly reminded of just before stepping into the fray. If anyone had a score to settle with Bloody Davies, it was Manson. He was determined to show he was no bottle job, and the D was well and truly dead.
Manson had been watching Davies all tournament, and had noticed his darts this year were not to the usual standard. So, to Davies surprise, Manson opted for Darts to open the scoring. It was a completely different tact to previous years, but he had to change something. A ploy that clearly worked as Manson took first blood with a darts win. He was not getting excited yet, there was a long way to go and Davies didn’t hang about in cutting straight back with a pool win making it 1-1. If Manson could win another darts perhaps he was really on to something, and on to something he was. He took the next darts, shocking Davies, taking the momentum and allowing him to follow that up with a quick pool win as well, making it 3-1 Manson. Was this the year things were going to change, he was one win away from the Trophy and two games ahead of Davies!
You would have thought it was over, but here began one of greatest capitulations in the history of sport. Manson had both hands and his face already in the trophy, it was a completely open goal and all he had to do was to toe punt it home. Davies was dead, he was a bloody pulp on the floor, but like a twitching outstretched hand from under rubble – there was some life still left in there somewhere. Manson was feeling confident he could see it home after winning the first two darts, but Davies found his game and manged to pull one back, 3-2, nothing to worry about yet. Pool followed, and after some surprisingly good potting from Davies, it was 3-3. Now it was something to worry about.
It came down to this, possibly the first time we’ve had a deciding game in the Balleggs final, although I can’t be bothered to go and check. Darts. It doesn’t matter what sort of game it was, it was probably close. All that matters is the result, and the result was a Davies a victory. Another Davies victory. He’d done it, the impossible, Davies had won an impressive 3 on the bounce with his back against the wall. Davies had won the Balleggs for an impressive 9th time.
The closing ceremony
What becomes of the broken hearted, who’d had love that’s now departed. It was a painful loss for Manson to swallow, but he managed to get through the prize giving with minimal emotion. Of course there was a gut wrenching rendition of “Long live the D”, but that thankfully ended quickly. Apart from that, not much else to report, everyone eventually dispersed and Manson was left alone in the dark shed with only his thoughts. Well done Davies Bloody Davies. Until next year…
For being extra lonely and not winning anything despite showing good effort and energy, R. Jones was awarded the inaugural lonely pony award.
L. Phillips went on to win his second Europa League title (Elliot Balleggs) after an impressive display in the backside of the tournament.
J. Manson won the Players player, generously awarded to him by A. Davies for nearly wining the thing, but most likely because of sympathy.
Coaches Coach was also award to J. Manson for a bloody good effort with A. Bournat getting him through numerous pool matches.
F. Goring claimed the Schmiechel for an impressive 140, a fine job for a rookie and showing perhaps he can play darts a little bit.
And finally, the Drumley House School Best pot of the day award went to A. Davies for a white ball double off the cushion to pot a red in the final when the pressure was on. Well done I suppose.