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  • Writer's pictureJo Clements

Cheers to Tears

Saturday 1st December saw the Red Army again rally their troops ready to do battle in the distant valleys of Glamorgan. A 04.15 pick up for me which meant, yet again virtually no sleep. Little did I know at this point that despite not being the coach mentioned, and the fact the driver asked me where we were going ( when I don't drive and have no sense of direction ) also that he drove right past the second pick up point, that this was a sign of things to come.

Our ladies were first to do battle and after over 7 hours sat on a coach. Whilst the coach is ( usually ) a fantastic, fun and bonding experience it is also not the best on the long jaunts as everyone has to get themselves ready to throw so soon after arriving. Some very evenly matched B team games which could have gone either way but despite all our efforts our ladies were just pipped into defeat 4.2. It was now the turn of our men. Feeling refreshed the men played brilliantly and really punished our opponents.

First day done and it was a fantastic start for Lancashire.

Due to travelling most were exhausted but a group of us went to Bingo. Luck was with us as I called for a win of £150. We hoped this would continue our winning streak with our darts.

Our first two ladies took to the oche Sunday and played some great darts but unfortunately it was not to be. Ally Smith gave Rhian O'Sullivan such a good game that it reflected in their 30+ and 25+ averages.... how could I top that next? I could only try.

I took to the stage. The treble 20 seemed huge but I was peppering all around it. After a nervous first leg I settled a little. FINALLY I had won my first County game 3.1. It was far from my best performance at 19.06 average but it was a point for the Red Army. Our first one of the day. Our ladies A managed to secure a 3.3 draw against the Glamorgan girls, supporting the foundations laid the day earlier. It was on to our men.

Both men's sides are fantastically talented. Loads of 30+ averages. We all pulled together, supported each other and we were rewarded with victory 22 points to 14. We took our cheers and celebrations to the coach and at 5.30pm and headed home.

After travelling for approx 45 mins we appeared to go totally off track, no motorways or lights. Looking out the windows of the coach I noticed distant roads and lights. They appeared to be 40ft below us. We we're on the tightest of country lanes possible. I shouted to the driver that this could not be right, I pointed out the drop to the right and that we needed to stop but the driver kept going forwards.

Over cattle grids with branches, walls and bushes so close to us. There was an awful scraping noise beneath and we came to a halt. At this stage I was a little anxious, however the constant revving and reversing and grinding of gears, the smells of the coaches clutch burning out took me back to a very serious car accident I was in a 10 years ago. I was trapped again in a vehicle and could not get out. Despite me trying to calm myself I had the biggest Panic attack ever, hyperventilating, crying, feeling dizzy. I just needed to get off and feel safe. I was not the only one scared to tears, people couldn't see much, we realised what a precarious position we were in. Coach crashed, mirror off, windscreen broken and in the middle of nowhere stood for some 4 hours on and off in the pouring rain and snow!!!

Chris O'Connor was very cool and climbed out the drivers window to assess. With help from his team mates Terry, Gary and Tony they managed to manoeuvre the coach to a position where we could leave the vehicle and await the rescue and recovery and police. Once the police arrived they advised we could get back on the coach whilst we waited for our replacement transport. Knowing we were safe and stationary, I was able to get on. There we all had a little sing song to take our minds off just how cold and wet we were.

Once the rescue vehicles arrived we were again asked to get off the coach, through all the slutch and stand behind the police vehicles whilst they started the arduous task of trying to winch it back up the lane. Again, cold and wet we gathered. I was a little bit upset that no one from the nearby two homes came out to offer us warm drinks. Had the boot have been on the other foot I most certainly would've done whatever I could to help. FINALLY at 23.30 we were allowed to walk right back up to the top of the hill and have a rescue vehicle escort the on to the coach who would be driving us home. We got there and transferred all our belongings and was told quite rudely by the new driver we were stopping for 10 mins for a toilet stop only. * bearing in mind we'd not eaten nor had a warm drink for almost 12 hours! * They had kept us waiting there for 6 hours in such inclement weather due to their driver incompetence, we all decided we needed food and a hot drink so kept them waiting for 10 mins before we headed on our last leg home. Over 7 hours on the coach there over 13 hours on the coach back... soaked to the skin, shoes ruined and covered in mud, aching and wiped out due to my panic attack and mentally affected yet again. I think I have had my fill of coaches for a while. The coach company better prepare for my letter of complaint!

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