Monday, 18 January 2010

Washed Out

So the snow has all but vanished and things are slowly returning to normal. Certainly the trains were all OK so it was all system go!

For a change we had young Chris Stockdale with us - still bubbling from his recent engagement - and it wasn't long before the recent Clark Keltie episode was given an airing - Chris is a fan of the simian-faced player whilst Martin and I have always been less than enthused about his abilities.

One thing we do agree on is that it's good news that Alan White has rejoined us as it's imperative that we start to keep clean sheets. Now all we need is a reliable keeper.

Not long into the journey, Martin received a text from the club saying "Pitch inspection 10am".

I don't know why we're surprised as we should know by now that as soon the as the club says it's confident about the game going ahead, we should be worried. A flurry of texts ensued as we pass on the news to others.

By 10:20am we've had no further updates so Chris uses his internet-enabled thingy to check the Uncovered messageboard which is when we find there's another inspection at noon. Martin's alternative plan to get off at York for their game against his local club, Hayes & Yeading, is put on the back burner for the time being.

On arrival at Bank Top, I wait until Steve Duffy's train pulls in a few minutes after us and we wander down to the Quaker House via the covered market.

A wonderful choice of beers awaits us today - Marston Moor's Poona Guard, Grafters' Brewers Troop, Allendale Beacon Fire, Dent Porter, Jarrow's Swinging Gibbett, Yard of Ale Yards Ahead IPA, York Guzzler and Purple Moose's Snowdonia.

I'm followed in by Brian who was hailing me as I walked to the pub but I was in my familiar head-down-get-to-pub mode and totally oblivious to him.

First beer of the day was the Snowdonia which is a lovely quaffing pale ale - just 3.6% but full of flavour.

This proves to be the most popular beer of the day as we're joined by Tony and the Two Johns (Bell and Wilson) and they take to it like fish to water.

(left) A pensive Mr W

A text from Liz - Rotherham's game at Accrington had been called off and so the London Millers were going to be spending the day trying out various pubs in Preston instead. Nice.

We were still eagerly awaiting further news on our pitch inspection and it took a bit of time to get through to us. We were a little disappointed it was off - mainly as we wanted to see the new signings in action - but staying in the pub was hardly going to be onerous. Martin called to say he was on his way to York.

Next beer for me was the Yard of Ale IPA - very similar to the Snowdonia - and then it was onto the Dent Porter which was dark, full-bodied with a slight coffee-ness to it.

Highlight of the session in the Quaker was Steve's very impressive and impassioned rant on Nick Knowles, BBC's perma-tanned TV presenter.

Steve - like Liz and I - are continually amazed that he seems to be on every crap daytime show going - clearly he knows where the bodies are buried - how else does he get a job? It was as good as a work-out for Steve. A shame we didn't record it for posterity.

After a few more pints, John and I moved along to Number Twenty-2 where I meet my Northallerton chums, Richard and Diane, who were escaping the kids for a day or so and spending a romantic evening in Hotel Bannatyne.

(right) Richard and Diane get a big hug from a hairy man

Some good beers are on here too - most notably the Geordie Pride from Mordue and the
Black Dub stout from Wensleydale Brewery which was exactly as I like it - dry and full-bodied (not unlike me, dear reader).

It was a very pleasant afternoon - John Bell left early-ish as he was remembered what state he was in after the last postponement turned into an elongated session - he badly needs to earn some brownie points for future games.

Steve, John W and I weren't too far behind though and we supped up and headed off into the night. On the way to the station Steve went for a pizza whilst John and I popped into what was the Victoria Fish Bar - now revamped for all sorts of fried and baked snacks - but they still do curry and chips so that did me.

Hopefully we'll not have the same problem next week at Crewe - a ground I've not visited for many years - and we'll finally get to see our latest line-up...

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