Author Archive | James Barguss



On Wednesday evening I asked which competition was on Thursday. To be told ‘8’s Knockout semi final’. ‘Semi final?’ I replied ‘did I miss a Thursday?’. ‘No, only 6 teams entered’.

That seems like a pretty poor state of affairs that only 6 teams have bothered to enter. I wonder why?

I can think of only 3 reasons:-

  1. Why enter a competition I/we have no chance of winning
  2. Its too much to play twice a week, besides we don’t take it that seriously
  3. I play darts/crib/netball on Thursday night

I suspect there are more reasons but I’m not writing a novel so I’ll stick with them.

1. For the first I would have to say ‘how can you possibly know that’. Does the fact that Oxford United have no chance of winning the FA cup stop them entering or the force India team of taking the Formula 1 title.

There is a competition in Oxford called the TV cup. It’s a singles competition with a cash prize for the winner. Not big I think £250. It’s not open to Abingdon league players you need to be signed on for an Oxford side (see footnote below). When I was 18 I played for an Oxford team on a Friday allowing me to circumnavigate that particular piece of law.

At 18 I think my average on a good night was 2 (6 per game) but I thought it would be a laugh plus the level of competition would be high so there would be some good games to watch.

The games alternated between the Gladiators Club on the Iffley road and Blackbird Leys Community Centre over a month or so. I’m not going to bore you with a blow by blow breakdown of every match I played – I can’t even remember how many people entered. I do know that I played and won 4 games to make it into the top 8. I was stopped by Monty Greenaway pretty convincingly.

My point is I’m not the best player at all. Back then I was worse. Sure there was luck involved but not the whole way and I beat some very good players to get there. I shouldn’t have got past the prelims. It gave me tremendous confidence though because in my head I knew what was possible.

I see the same people year on year at the competitions and I just wish there were more is all.

2. I play both winter and summer Aunt Sally with something like 3 weeks break at either end and have done for many years. So I can certainly sympathise with too much in your life but taking it seriously adds to the fun. Who doesn’t like winning?

And 3 I love netball too, stick with it.

p.s I think the reason Abingdon players aren’t allowed to play is because a certain Martin Sheridan had the audacity to beat all the Oxford players one year. Which caused outrage and a banning of all non Oxford players? I could be wrong. If I am email me.


The Curse of the Anchorman

The Curse of the Anchorman

When you think about it the two most important places in the team are your first man and the tail ender – The Anchorman. Perhaps I should use person. I’m not sure seeing as I’m a man I’ll stick with that.

It’s a team sport but it’s really these two players that can make or break a team. A good lead man or woman can really set the tone particularly if you’re chasing a big score. A 4 or 5 or occasionally 6 suddenly makes that big set look possible. I’m not going to dwell on the lead man, at least not now. This post will mainly cover the Anchorman.

There are two schools of thought here. (In my opinion)

1. Place your best players at the top so that when it comes to your last couple of players the score has already been attained. This means you don’t need a strong anchor man and if your top tier players are good no pressure meaning the anchor will get a few to.

2. Spread your good players amongst the team with the better player’s bookending the team. This allows more flexibility if the teams not all on song.

If you look at the top of the leagues. Premier, A and B sections the top teams will definitely follow school 2 with the very best having an Anchorman who can really turn it on under pressure.

I think that’s the introduction over. My focus in this post is going to be what happens when it all goes wrong. I speak from experience here!

It really doesn’t matter what the score that’s been set is. If the top half of your team has only got a handful of dolls all of a sudden everyone is looking at you the Anchor to pull them out of the hole they’ve blindly dragged you into.

If you’re looking at any more than 4 Dolls everyone is going to be happy with the draw and to be honest it does take a little of the pressure off hence I reckon 60% of the time I do it. Everyone hopes you do but won’t be too annoyed if you don’t, lets face it they put you here it’s half their fault as well.

The problem is when it’s a 2 or a 3 you can easily get this. You know what your average is. You know that on any given day you could get that with your eyes closed (figuratively speaking of course, that would be dangerous). Because you know it’s possible somehow you put just that little bit of extra pressure on yourself and boom you blow it. That’s a lonely walk back with your sticks I can tell you.

There I think it’s the crux of it. The pressure the anchor puts on themselves is far greater than that of the teams.

In conclusion then when it’s easy it’s hard, and when it’s hard it’s easy.

I’ve been playing for 20 odd years 3 as an anchor man. I’ve seen some truly world class Anchors do the business time and time again.

So in no order and purely my own list top 4 Anchors in my 20 years of playing who could can be relied on to pull you out the s**t:

  • Tony Ward

  • Barry Parker

  • Mick Phillips

  • Graham Barguss

Again this list is my opinion and people who I have personally seen, against all odds get that 6 to win on more than one occasion. I’m not in the list I’m just not consistent enough


If you disagree with any of my thoughts or wish to add your own top 4 you can email me at