Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Not Quite Dead And Bury-ed

Another earlier than usual departure from London for the second of our bank holiday games - we were back on the east coast line and so we arrived in Darlo slightly ahead of schedule.

I made it into the Quakerhouse just after the town clock struck 11am yet still found I wasn't the first person in - beaten once again by George and Gwen.

For the second week running there was a cracking choice of beers from Yorkshire including Leeds Brewery Ascension, Longbow from the Empire Brewing Company and the Raspberry Blond from Saltaire.

Representing the north-east were a trio from Jarrow Brewery - Rivet Catcher, Caulker and McConnell's Irish Stout and a brace from Hadrian & Border Brewery, Flotsam and the Ouseburn Porter.

There were also a couple of southern beers, Vale Gravitas, from Brill in deepest Bucks, and British Bulldog from the Westerham Brewery in Kent.

I managed to try a good few - the Ascension (very floral), Longbow (OK), Raspberry Blond (very raspberry but not overpowering), the Bulldog, the Flotsam and the Caulker - all in tip-top condition as usual.

As time went by, the Quakerhouse got quite busy with the appearance of more Darlo fans - Number Twenty-2 was shut as it usually is on a bank holiday which meant I stayed put for once - and after a while I was joined by John Bell and Paul Brown.

On arrival at the ground, I made my normal trip to reception to see my old mates on the press desk, John and Eric, and was surprised to see ex-chairman George Houghton standing outside reception looking for all the world like he was still in charge. He wasn't there long though after being given various abuse from passing fans - not very clever.

Darlo made a slow start to the game as Bury looked every bit the promotion candidates that they are - we were under pressure from the off and seemed to be keeping them at bay until a jammy deflection off Tim Ryan put them in the lead.

This seemed to knock the wind right out of our sails and it took a while for us to string some decent moves together and start to attack their goal whilst Bury looked content to soak up the pressure. Our patience was rewarded after Kennedy headed past their keeper following a cross from Burgmeier. One-all at the break.

The second period saw a flurry of Darlington pressure before a Bury corner led to a goal from the head of Efe Sodje who looked a bit of a big girl's blouse in his bandanna and gloves. A good header though but he was allowed too much room. Alan White seemed to come off second best as he was taken off for attention after he started leaking a bit of claret.

Sodje continued to irritate by falling over when being tackled by Curtis Main - hardly crunching takles as I'm not convinced Main has adjusted to the physical side of the game - yet he fell to the floor like a mighty redwood - quel blouse.

This time Darlo kept their heads and got right back at Bury, eventually being rewarded after a smart piece of play from Main - he picked up a forward ball from Ravenhill and kept his head to pass a great inside ball to Pav Abbot who slotted the ball past the Bury keeper.

For the final quarter of an hour it was end-to-end stuff - Bury hit the post late on whilst Sodje cleared off the line and eventually it finished as a draw.

Quite an enjoyable game in the end and probably a fair result but as at Chesterfield, great credit must once again go to Dave Penney and the team for the attitude they've shown in these dark times.

I've been reliably informed that the Quakerhouse has been recently selected as Darlington CAMRA's Pub of the Year - the sixth time it has won this award under the stewardship of Steve and Linda. Congratulations to them both.

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