A Game of Two Sleeves
Updated: Jul 13, 2021
The Dorset LGBTQ+ elite knitting team stood accused of "failing to heal the county" last night after they lost a tense final to Somerset. After receiving the unqualified support of "a grateful county" following convincing victories earlier in the competition, defeat for a team - once described as "our brave boys/girls/both/neither/others" - was a bitter pill for disappointed supporters to swallow, as our knitting correspondent Daisy Stitch writes:
The Dorset LBBTQ+ elite knitting team - the hope of the county in these difficult CONTRIK-69 devastated times - failed to "get over the line" last night as they dropped stitches in a tense penalty shoot out against old rivals and serial competition winners Somerset.
Captain Fay Riyall-Swetta and late substitutes Nitt Wan and Pearl Wan failed to take into the competition the form they had shown in practice back at their purpose-built, state-of-the-art high pressure St Leonards Competition Knitting HQ.
The much-fancied Dorset team had previously topped their group, often showing surprisingly exquisite close wool control and sending packing teams from Devon, Hampshire, Cornwall and Sussex. Hopes of a much-needed morale lifting win were high in the days before the final, with a grateful county encouraged to believe that for once it was true: "Knitting's coming home". However, as events turned out, knitting remained very much abroad in the hands of a competition-hardened Somerset team who showed how consistently sure hands can triumph over flashier needles.
"This was probably always a cardigan too far", says former Dorset knitting ace Ivor Tanke-Toppe - a retrospective view now shared by everybody but previously held by none as the 11 man/woman/both/other team went into the final game. "Intense knitting over a 50 day period takes its toll both on the hands and on the mind", the veteran - who hung-up his/her/its needles in 2017 - says, "and its easy to be critical of those who failed to complete a successful stitch during the penalty knit-off ... but in reality, the match was lost by the whole team over the whole period".
Hopes had been high 25 minutes into the high-stakes final when the Dorset team cast-on quickly using a cleverly-devised pattern and completed a raglan sleeve well ahead of their rivals. But the Somerset team are not former champions for nothing, and some rapid purling, followed by quick-fire cable-stitching saw the "noisy neighbours" even up the match shortly after the coffee and fruit scones half-time break. "Their button-holing has always been very well-drilled", Tanke-Toppe concedes, "and they rarely drop a stitch in open play. Their set plays - especially their casting-off and cross-stitching into the box - together with their rapid movement up the lines and clever needle recycling during second phases - were just terrific and in the end too much for the Dorset boys/girls/both/neither/others".
After more than 5 hours [including a period of extra time during which neither side managed to edge ahead convincingly] the evenly-matched teams entered into the terror that is the penalty stitch-off. At that point history tells us there was only going to be one winner. Ten minutes later it was over. History was right and Threadbay was awash with second-hand Dorset "Knit-Your-Own Champions' Pattern Books" as the tears flowed in the LGBTQ+ Community Arts and Dating Centre, Bradpole.
It is not now expected that DHRA PM Mrs Doris Endersley Kindersley will be awarding the Amanda J Threadbone Cross for Extreme Bravery to the team, nor will they be receiving free wool for 12 months from Bits and Bobs Haberdashers of Winterborne Came. "On top of everything else, it's a bitter pill to swallow", a member of the team, who wishes to remain anonymous says. [She's one of those who dropped a penalty stitch, so it's wise that she does. Gay-Don Sans-Chow [University of Afpuddle] is 78 [Ed].]