Unstoppable Exiles end season on a darts high
It is sometimes said that almost everyone can remember where they were when they heard that JFK had been shot, or the death of Diana, or that Barry Butler had been converted into a free-scoring emergency centre forward.
Cestrians all over the world can now add the events of Thursday June 12, 2008 to that list of epoch-defining moments. At 9.50pm, Robert Evans threw - inevitably - a double one to ensure a fifth consecutive victory for the Chester City Exiles darts team and to guarantee a third place league finish.
It is difficult to explain events in the APFSCIL 6-a-side darts League Division Three since Christmas, other than to say it was the greatest comeback since Andy Milner decided that defeat against Wrexham was no way to celebrate St Valentine's Day.
In short, the Exiles' abysmal league form - we hadn't won a game for almost two seasons - was transformed. Our rise up the table was almost as dramatic as Bobby Williamson's slump. Nobody had seen anything like it before. We began to approach matches with unusual feelings of optimism.
Thursday's 7-4 away win against Southampton was thus no real surprise, coming hot on the heels of identical scorelines against Exeter (A); Bolton (H) and (A) as well as a 6-5 win in the home fixture against the Saints.
On reflection the reasons for our amazing success since Christmas included finding ourselves with a full complement of six players most weeks. For the last match, we were even able to make some substitutions leaving some of our thirstier players out for the last games of the evening.
All the team also finally found their finishing form, including a memorable 180 throw by Steve Catherall. Most of all, the Exiles squad has stood together and stared into the abyss - 11-0 defeats, winning the beer leg only to find the bar has closed, having to drink Caffrey's at £3.50 a pint - on more occasions than any of us would care to admit. Has triumph finally started to come from such adversity?
We are planning to arrange some friendly matches over the summer to keep our form going, including a glamour tie at the Palace of Westminster (assuming we can get our darts through security).
It only remains to thank Manager and Chairman Rick Goby for his time and effort in arranging the bookings, fixtures and teams so successfully. We all know the best way to show our appreciation - just get it pulled into one of those glasses with a handle.
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