Darts is a great game, as the World Championships on TV have been proving recently, but to suggest that a hacker should go and play it instead of golf is a disgrace — and that nearly happened to me over Christmas.
I played in the Egg Cup on the Saturday and was fearful that I would finish the year with another booby prize.
I wrote last time about how my latest collection of booby prizes were a statuette of a frog and a sack of potatoes.
And when I came in with a sad 21 points, I feared I was going to be handed another mocking award. But, somehow, someone managed to beat me to it. Did they take pity on me or did he really score fewer?
We’ll never know because no scores were announced but I do know that poor man had to read out a golf poem and was then presented with a set of darts.
As a suggestion that you should go and play some other game, how pointed is that?
My one excuse for my low score was that I was knackered. The previous day, which was Boxing Day, we had our traditional Cross Country event in which we traverse the course instead of proceeding up and down the fairways as normal.
We go from the first tee to the fourth green and then zig-zag our way around nine make-piece holes; some of them very strange, going over ditches and through trees and measuring up to 800 yards long.
I actually won the event many years ago partnering Simon Curle who played off one or two at the time. But I had to do my bit as we play greensome foursomes which means you both drive, select the better one and then play alternate shots.
Because of the terrain and the obstacles to be overcome it is by no means straight-forward and you both have to be resourceful, long and accurate. We won it easily and when Simon was teased for taking advantage of a high-handicapper’s shots, he happily pointed out that we won it with our gross score.
It was probably my finest hour and I’ve never come even close to so successfully bashing my way sideways around the course.
This year I played with Leon who had just completed his year of captaincy and was probably looking for a little light relief. He didn’t get it. I was a burden and it turned out that one of the Christmas presents I didn’t realise I’d received was a shank.
Our playing partners were two of the South Wales Constabulary’s finest former officers, Keith Nicholls and Steve Summers, who have somehow managed to avoid the CID investigating their handicaps.
We played them for a fiver a corner and although neither pair looked like challenging the leaders we had a very tight tussle which went to the very last putt. It looked as if we were going to finish level when Steve sank a 25 footer to take the money.
It was a great game but the weather was appalling. Not only was it blowing a gale, there was a driving drizzle that found its way through your waterproofs. Never mind, you have to take your pleasures where you can.
I didn’t realise how much it had worn me out until the next morning when I turned up for the Egg Cup which is a tournament organised by Arwyn Williams to celebrate his birthday.
He invites about 50 of us to play for individual and team prizes and then we get a sausage and mash supper. We have to pay, of course, but since he’s a former bank manager what do you expect ?
Anyhow, it’s always a lot of fun and the weather was a bit better than it had been on Boxing Day. Unfortunately, one of our team of four missed the first hole. Tony Edmunds, who insists on being called Slug, had got the times wrong and when he turned up accused us of starting ten minutes early.
As a team, we never got over that bad start and Slug certainly didn’t. He was almost as bad as me. The other team members, Alan Buchan and Chris Pickles, did better and got among the winners but it was hard going and I was flagging well before end.
After our sausages and mash I actually fell asleep in the bar. Next year, I think I’ll stay home in the warm and drink my Christmas presents.