Report as usual By Stuart (Scoop) Vernon, Pictures by Tony North.
The season never finishes for the Alies and as the final league curtain rang down plans were already being drawn up for a trip up the Lune Valley to Kirkby Lonsdale to watch their play-off fixture against New Brighton at Underley Park.
Big Norman had booked the mini bus and pencilled in the Fitter to drive and after a couple of pints in the Maurice Armstrong Bar everyone piled into the bus as the first of the guests were arriving for a surprise wedding reception.
Kirkby Lonsdale’s clubhouse was packed with sponsors and members tucking into a sumptuous pre match lunch. There was plenty of space in the vicinity of the bar, the Major discovered a pile of pies and pasties, and in between greeting old friends there was an opportunity for the Alies to sample some excellent beer. Titanium was in charge of the kitty and was of course in his real “Arkwright” mode, but he had organised a team of runners to distribute the beers so there few hold ups.
A most exciting game unfolded, that is if you were a neutral, it must have been unbearable for the respective groups of supporters in a large crowd. On a beautiful sunny late April afternoon the landscape was breathtaking. Where was Turner when you needed him? All we had was Gilly perched on Titanium’s folding canvas seat, but the pulsating game appeared to affect him because he was spotted lying on the grass in a rather fetching pose, or perhaps he was rehearing a routine for a programme on a gymnastic mat.
The desperadoes pictured above have all had their cover blown because Matron had stamped their passes for a visit to Ashton Hall Garden Centre. L-R: Shagpile, Oil Tycoon, Enty, Sutty, Gilly and two Stealth Bombers gliding back to base.
It was a quick turn round after the game with the Fitter opting for the alternative meandering route through Whittington and Halton. Approaching the village of Arkholme Sutty started to recount his experiences at a Wild West Night in the Village Hall at Arkholme.
As the hoedown livened up, Sutty’s gal, the demure Angie, was swept off her feet by one of the local hombres while Sutty ordered a glass of snake bite. Eventually under a crescent moon the last stagecoach to Lancaster pulled up outside The Bay Horse and while the steaming horses were fed and watered Sutty went in search of Angie.
Somehow Angie’s suitor did not fully understand Sutty’s request, implying that “Angie Oakley” was his girl! Now Sutty is a man of the world with infinite patience and well versed in the art of diplomacy, but even his composure became stretched to the limits.
All guns had been handed in at the cloakroom, but Sutty’s three inch jab was all that was needed to convince the Cisco Kid that he meant business. The piano player stopped in mid chord, all that could be heard along were the fans whirling in the ceiling were the click of heels and the jangle of spurs as Sutty strode through the swinging doors with Angie draped over his shoulder.
The Fitter ensued the bus arrived back in time so that Gilly could watch his godson, Sean Cox, in action for Edinburgh against Ulster and a discussion about the next three club events, the Blacksticks Blue Junior Cup Finals and Senior Colts game at Eccles against Sandbach in the final of the North West Raging Bull Plate competition the following day, and the Lancashire versus Northumberland Bill Beaumont County Championship game a week away.
Quite a number of the Alies were on duty for the county game. The Solicitor, Major and Morse were looking after the blazers and guests, the Borough Treasurer and Mr Chips were on gate duty, Big Norman was marshalling the cars, bringing back memories of being on point duty at Horseshoe Corner, and El-Cid was spotted in a high-viz jacket. It was however, not all high profile work because the Platelayer and the recently married Cobra were buried deep in the bowls of the gents dealing with a blockage!
On a busy day the round table was secured, Shagpile produced some potent buns, Enty, brave man, tried to interest him in purchasing a caravan park, Muggy was back in action after a minor flutter, and the Major managed a power nap between his duties and was able to confirm the next outing would be a trip to Carlisle, which delighted the Historian, but before that there was a table the Player’s Awards Evening to sort out.
There were plenty of familiar faces in the Maurice Armstrong Bar after the game which again caused the Alies problems. “Who was that? I know him from somewhere” The start of the season is a long way away I feel.