IF you like a bit of a laugh and you’re round about my age, you might well have been a fan of The Fast Show a few years back.
If you were, you’ll remember a character called Unlucky Alf.
He was a lovely old fella who had the most appallingly bad luck – just as everything seemed to be going smoothly, it would all come crashing down around him, often literally, and he’d be attacked by angry geese, electrocuted, find people chucking mud pies at his house or find himself the victim of some other such random act of disaster.
In one of my favourite sketches, Alf could be seen on his way out for a walk. After leaving his house and cheerfully greeting a neighbour, he is almost out of sight and you really start to believe that nothing could possibly go wrong this time… when a sudden gust of wind catches him unawares and blows him down a hole in the ground next to the pavement.
In another one a cricket ball flies over his garden wall, narrowly missing his new greenhouse. Sadly for Alf, he puts it through one of the glass panels as he attempts to throw it back.
Well quite honestly I expected to find Alf at South Tees Motorsports Park last Friday evening.
It had all been going so well, hadn’t it? Two eye-catching home wins, one on the road at Scunny and a point at Sheffield the previous night. What could possibly go wrong?
At Sheffield the previous evening we’d been up by six points and one stage and the hosts were never in front until after the final race of the night. Still, it was a well-earned point and surely only a madman or a Geordie would have put money on anything but an Ecco Finishing Bears victory on home shale.
But, just like a scene from an Unlucky Alf sketch, it all went terribly wrong.
We were always going to miss The Law, who was away doing his stuff for Lakeside, but even with him in the side we’d have lost that one.
Crashing 53-37 at home to a team we almost beat the night before and going into the match on he back of a fine run of form… it really is the sort of situation you’d expect to find poor old Alf in.
When just four riders are responsible for all but two of your points, though, you can’t expect to come out on the winning side.
Hopefully it was just a blip. A bad night at the office. The visit of Glasgow this week provides the perfect opportunity to lay the ghost of that match to rest and get back on the right track.
The Tigers have yet to really bare their teeth this season and it’s a match the Bears really should be looking at taking three points from.
And if that’s the case, you might find me looking around the track for another of Paul Whitehouse’s Fast Show characters – the kid with the woolly hat and hoody who told us everything was brilliant!