Brave stand-in Vinny takes one for the charity team
As she got to Vinny’s corner, Petra leaned towards the bus driver busy tending to Brennie. “You can wash me down with a sponge any time, Vinny,” she said seductively.
Vinny was worried about Brennie lasting the distance. The bank official was wiry and light on his feet but lacked the stamina of Spider, a former flat jockey.
By the end of round two, Brennie was way off the pace. His lip was a burst sausage and his ribs stung. “Throw in the towel, Vinny,” he panted. “I want to be able to enjoy me pints tonight.” Vinny flung a white cloth into the ring, where it was greeted by a mixture of boos and cheers. Brennie and Spider embraced, and the latter’s arm was raised by Charlie Vernon.
Heaved and groaned
For the next hour or so, the old hall heaved and groaned as the pub’s protagonists laid into one another. After eight bouts of the sweet science came the finale, the super-heavyweight clash between Rockfist and Big Dave.
An air of expectancy descended as Charlie Vernon made the introductions.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m afraid the last fight has had to be cancelled,” he intoned.
“Before anyone asks, Big Dave has not got cold feet, he’s been called to a fire on the North Strand. As we have no other takers, I’m awarding Rockfist a walk-over.”
To a chorus of catcalls, Charlie Vernon made to leave the ring, via Vinny’s corner. “Charlie, there’ll be a lynching,” whispered the portly bus driver. “You can’t build them up then leave them hanging.”
Charlie shrugged. “Who’d be mad enough to go one round, let alone three, with Rockfist?” he asked.
“I would,” said Vinny, as he clambered between the ropes and beckoned Brennie over. “Fetch us your gloves, padded helmet and gum shield.”.
As jeers turned to cheers, Petra reappeared in the ring. She raised Vinny’s flabby right arm and pointed at his beefy chest. “Vinny, Vinny,” she began to chant, encouraging others to join in.
By the time Brennie arrived back with the gear, the crowd was rooting for the 55-year-old veteran of the wheel. “It’s like the Colosseum,” said Brennie. “Yeah, and I am about to be slaughtered,” replied a doleful Vinny.
The ‘fight’ was mercifully brief. For the first ten seconds, Vinny tried to imagine he was up against the brute Lugs O’Leary, oily Roger Winstone, or his latest enemy, the wretched Roberto.
It was no use. He was in against Rockfist, who taunted him like a lion circling a stricken wildebeest.
Rockfist could have rearranged Vinny’s nose, split his lip or busted his jaw but he showed charity and went for the rabbit punch instead, a short jab in the ribs – Vinny collapsed like a cheap suit.
As he lay on the canvas, staring at the overhead lights and gasping, he became aware of a tall shape blocking out the beam. It was Petra.
She knelt down and tenderly lifted Vinny’s heavy head, cradling it into her generous bosom. “Take it easy, Vincent. You stay there as long as you like,” she purred. It was some time before Vinny stirred.
2pt Lay England to beat Ireland (Evens, William Hill, liability 2pts)
Bets of the week
2pts Republic of Ireland to beat Poland (13/8, Paddy Power)
1pt ew Webb Simpson in AT T National Pro-am (35/1, Betway)