THREE'S UP AT LEIGH.
There was no sign of Bob Hope, Bing Crosby or Dorothy Lamour, or camels, on the infamous East Lancs Road where "men eat fire and sleep on nails."
Fourteen Alies squeezed their lithesome bodies onto a compact intimate charabanc for the trip to Leigh on a brilliantly sunny day which Big Norman had transported all the way back from Gran Canaria. Also tucked away in his Gucci luggage was a clock to be placed behind the bar so that the Alies would be able to synchronise their leaving time accurately because Matron did not always believe their weak excuses when they tried to explain the chronological difficulties caused by the Theakston’s clock.
He presented the Press Secretary with a pack of the finest hand rolled “Vega Palmera” selected quality cigars to be shared with Enty and Shagpile; a gesture that caused a tear to well up in the eyes of these seasoned puffers.
Enty, who was feeling a little tetchy after the digesting the budget and “The Granny Tax,” issued a warning that just because the chuffers had been given to the Press Secretary he was not to smoke them while going about his daily chores. Like any good fiscal manger the PS promised not to dip into the assets and would keep a ledger to record all transactions that would be open to public scrutiny without a requirement of cash for access.
It was all touch feely on the coach, but in the vestry the President, Borough Treasurer and Morse were able to hold an executive meeting while the Cobra dispensed pies from his bulging hamper, although the bottles of wine remained uncorked on the swift journey to Leigh.
The Fitter was not a happy bunny because Kubota was in the sick bay with the collapsing wheels syndrome caused by a complex list of symptoms that included track rod ends, gudgeon pins and bushes. Tractor rescue had been contacted, candles had been lit, the small print on the warranty had been scrutinised and a specialist report was awaited.
As always the reception at Leigh was first class, the President, Chairman and that dashing man about town, Camp Freddie, were in fine form, as trays of Sarah’s wonderful beers were circulated. Sarah sported a magenta hair style as she extolled the virtues of the ales. Postlethwaites proved a favourite with some of the Alies, light as a feather but had to be treated with respect. If it had been brewed in memory of that revered northern actor Pete Postlethwaite, then it was a wonderful tribute to a gentleman who never lost his roots despite the world wide fame he received.
There was also a beer called “Wobbly Bob” but whether the Oil Tycoon, another much travelled gentleman, sampled it has yet to be revealed.
While the Alies munched their way through a splendid buffet their attention was drawn to the teams in the match programme. Alongside the Vale team Camp Freddie had listed an Alies squad, a few failed to make selection and Jonty was on loan from Wilmslow, but it was not far off the mark positionally.
Certainly the Major at prop and the Solicitor at hooker were spot on, and a back row containing Morse and Sutty would be a pretty formidable unit, while the image of the Historian and Shagpile strutting their stuff on the wing could cause any opponents to quake in their boots as would the sight of Gilly in the centre.
Leaving the homely comfort of the clubhouse Alies wended their way across the car park in bright sunshine towards a pristine playing surface. Pretty soon Enty’s guillotine was snipping off the ends of the cigars, blazers were removed, ties loosened, as a watchable romp in the Park unfolded with both sets of players giving it their all.
The touch line banter was what was to be expected when two Lancashire clubs meet and was personified in the early stages when the Solicitor urged the Vale to stop messing about.
Quick as a flash a Leigh supporter responded in an East Lancashire accent.
“You’re doing all reet!” He was quite right, as the Vale went onto register their third away win of the season.