Riot police had to be deployed earlier this afternoon in Wolverhampton, as crowd trouble broke out during the Scrabble match between bitter rivals Ted Hankey and Scott Waites.
In a tense atmosphere at the Scrabble tournament, Hankey walked into the arena to the sound of his favourite song 'Gross Out' by Chubby Checker and The Fat Boys, to be greeted by deafening booing and whistling, and some of the crowd let off firecrackers and threw coins at him.
But he sat at the playing table calmly while his opponent then came in to wild cheers from his supporters, with 'Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Please' on the tannoy, and soon the match got under way.
As Hankey reached for his tiles there were clearly shouts of 'Miss!' and 'Fatso!', but the world champion showed nerves of steel, putting down SLOB for a safe start, while Waites showed his more attacking style with a superb opening move of BLUBBER, but then scuffles broke out between rival supporters.
As the Waites fans chanted 'Who are you? Who are you?', some threw beer glasses at Hankey, others began throwing golf balls with 'Sumo!' written on them at him, and after that the scenes descended into the worst crowd trouble at a sporting event in England since the last time Liverpool fans appeared at an away match.
The players carried on with the match, but riot police who had been on standby next door in the 'Black Coontrye Tye and Coffye Shoppe' had to be sent in to deal with the disturbances. 'It were oogly', one Hankey fan said, Mrs. Ethel Grumblebridge, 'one minute it were just booing and hissing, the next people were throwing bricks, bottles and chairs, I saw one grossly overweight man even throwing his bag of chips at the police. But the players carried on bravely, until the ref had to take them off while the police dealt with the fighting.'
The West Midlands Police had long urged the government to ban this match in case trouble flared up at it, or for it to be played behind closed doors with no supporters watching it, and the clashes added support for calls for fans at Scrabble matches to be more closely monitored.
'Under New Labour', Conservative Shadow Minister for Talking With Marbles in his Mouth David Manor-Born said, 'we have seen some of the worst crowd scenes since the Crankies appeared in public unprotected in Blackpool. Will the Prime Minister now agree with me that the time has come to waffle meaningless platitudes until Scrabble can at last become once more a safe and entertaining sport to watch?'
And Gordon Brown replied in the House, 'I haven't a clue what the Right Honourable Member is waffling complete shite about, but I will also waffle on and on rather than actually have any policies, whether about Scrabble matches or darts ones, who cares? Not me.' But former Home Secretary Jackie Smith MP then rose to speak.
'Mr. Speaker, can I just say that my claim for a gold-plated Scrabble set with pornographic images on the board was a legitimate claim for a Minister of State? And, while not condoning the disgraceful scenes in Wolverhampton today, it was all rather good fun, wasn't it? My bish bosh is down on Phil Taylor to win the championship.'
St. Johnlowe's Ambulance crews were treating the injured after the crowd trouble, and when interviewed after the match resumed and was won by Scott Waites, Ted Hankey said:
'It were bloody terrible, I've never seen fans at a Scrabble match behave so badly! A bit of banter from the crowd, OK, but not when you're putting your tiles down! I never thought I'd see the day when Scrabblers would act so evilly, I am now going for a cry round at me mum's.'
Former Scrabble world champions Joche Wilson and Eric Badshow were heard laughing all the way from their banks.