Monday, 28 February 2011

Macc Life

Originally Darlo were to be in Cleethorpes today playing Grimsby and since a few of us were not keen on going there, we thought it would be the perfect time to make a nostalgic trip to Macclesfield and the Waters Green Tavern in particular.

As luck would have it, the league game was postponed as Darlo were to play Salisbury City in the quarter final of the FA Trophy.

However as train tickets were almost £80 by the time the draw was made, I decided to stick to the original plan.

(left) The Treacle Tap

There was some confusion about opening time and I was under the impression the WGT wouldn't open until noon so after a mooch around the town I headed for a new pub, the Treacle Tap.

By this time I'd bumped into Paul, my Wycombe chum who was up for their game at Moss Rose. He was accompanied by his mates Dave and Barry who tend to join him when there's good drinking to be had.

As we approached I could see that Lance had beaten us to it and was at the bar ordering as we entered. The Treacle Tap appears to have been a shop or restaurant that has been turned into a pub - all stripped wood and dining tables - but it offers a choice of three ales from small, local breweries. Like a mini-Number Twenty-2.

We had the option of Summer Wine Boreas, Beartown Bareass and Bollington Long Hop - the latter being replaced more or less immediately by Offbeat Brewery Oddball Red. The Boreass was a lovely 5% pale ale - maybe a bit strong for the first of the day but an excellent drop.

I was the first to head off to the Waters Green Tavern which had actually opened at 11am and landlord Brian and barmaid Ann were patiently waiting, wondering where we were. Ooops!

Colin arrived at noon, having just missed me at the Treacle Tap, and then a gaggle of my Macclesfield chums turned up to see me.

Landlord Brian is a man who loves pale ales and the beers on tap today were a testament to this: Kelham Island Pale Rider, Ossett Silver King, Pheonix Low VAT Bitter, Acorn Barnsley Bitter, George Wright Blonde and Derwent Blonde , plus a cider from Gwynt y Ddraig, Haymaker. All in top nick.

I had a taste of most of them except for the Pale Rider plus a pint of the cider. No holding back today.

After catching up with the news from the Macclesfield mob, Colin and I then left Lance to his own devices in the WGT and took the train to Manchester and a short walk to the city's latest ale house, the Port Street Beer House.

(left) Is it a shop? Is it a pub? No, it's the Port Street Beer House

It has the most unpreposing exterior which meant we almost walked past it. In fact when we were sat with our first pint we spotted Brian wandering past on the other side of the road. It was very tempting to let him wander off but we're not like that.

This is a venue very much in the same mould as the Treacle Tap and the Euston Tap, a place where beery old farts and the new generation of young craft beer drinkers can enjoy a beer. I just wish they'd use Draught instead of Draft.

As well as a wide range of bottled beers there was Summer Wine Teleporter, Meantime London Pale Ale, Dark Star Over The Moon and Thornbridge Hopton on tap.

After a couple of beers we wandered off to the next pub - passing other good pubs such as the Crown & Kettle and Bar Fringe that Colin, Martin and I had visited after our televised victory at Rochdale back at the end of the 2009/10 season.

And it was up the Rochdale Road that we went to the famous Marble Arch, brewery tap for the well-regarded Marble brewery. The place was absolutely packed when we got there so it was standing room only at the bar for us.

It is a lovely pub with beatiful tiled walls and has plenty of bar staff to keep the hordes happy. Good helpings of snacks too.

I've had quite a few of their beers over the last year or two - many of them in bottles - and they rarely disappoint. We opted for pints of 3.9 which unfortunately went off just as we were getting a taste for it. We then moved onto pints of Pint (it can get confusing).

(left) Much more traditional - the Marble Arch

From here we moved to our last pub which is also on the Rochdale Road - this is the Angel but it was called the Beer House when I was last in there following a defeat at Bury back in the nineties.

By this time we more or less had enough and so we wandered back to Piccadilly station. Both Colin and Brian could catch earlier trains but I had to wait a while.

Whilst waiting I spied BBC Look North's Clem so had a word with him though he was initially confused by why a Darlo fan wasn't at the game. It seems he been to Bury for the Beeb's Football League show but was heading off back to London for the League Cup final.

I was in a chatty mood so decided I'd make his day and accompany him back to London. It wasn't my train but I resurrected the charm that had seen worked so well for us last week and managed to blag my way on board.

I'm not sure whether Clem was pleased when I came and sat beside him but he was good company and we managed to natter about all things football - he was quite interested in DAFTS and our attitude to football and beer. Who wouldn't be?

By this time I'd found out that we'd won our game against Salisbury and were in the semis of the FA Trophy. Great stuff.

Arriving an hour earlier than originally scheduled, I left Clem at Euston to head to his hotel whilst I went to join Liz, Jenny and Chris who'd had a good victory at Burton (and Coopers Tavern of course) in the Euston Tap and more beer.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Running Up That Hill

Today was almost a perfect Saturday - a day when everything almost goes to plan. Needless to say they're rare events.

It started at Paddington - John and Howard were already in Raffles having their breakfast when I arrived. We tend to end up here once or twice a season - a quite reasonable breakfast let down by the poorest of catering sausages.

We caught a train to Swindon, arriving there just a few minutes before Steve jumped off his train from Cardiff. We then boarded the one-carriage service to Cheltenham which took through the tight, scenic valleys of the Cotswolds to Stroud.

And then more transport - this time a taxi to Nailsworth, arriving on the dot of 11am at the Village Inn - opening time.

This place came highly recommended by Liz and the other London Millers who were here in the FA Cup a few seasons ago. Not that we would have gone elsewhere anyway as our copious research showed that there were precious few other options.
(right) DAFTS at opening time in Nailsworth

But this wasn't a case of Hobson's Choice as the pub encompasses not one, but two breweries - the Nailsworth Brewery and the more recent Hetty Pegler brewery.

The pub has only been in it's present form since 2006 and it has quite an active role in the village with book clubs, music nights, football teams and the like. Interestingly they also let people come in to brew their own beers and what they don't take away with them is then sold in the pub.

The ladies behind the bar seemed surprised at having customers so early and perhaps that is why that not all the pumps were in operation. But they soon put this right to give us a good choice.

The beers included Viking Bitter Alestock and Old Rocky from Nailsworth Brewery, Wheel Tapper from Cottage, Hereford Brewery's Muttley's Revenge and Arbor Oyster Stout.

The pub even operates a loyalty card scheme - buy nine pints and get one free - which meant we had almost four free pints by the time we left.

After trying most of what was on offer, I stuck to the Old Rocky which was a nice strength pale ale, very more-ish, whilst the Oyster stout was tasty but just a bit lacking in body for my liking.

We were joined by John Bell and then Martin who'd brought along one of his former work colleagues. And of course Rich, John and Andy also found their way here after stopping for a few beers in Stroud.

During the course of the session John W presented me with a little notebook - obviously doing his best to turn me into a fully fledged ticker so I will now do my best to use it. To be fair he also got himself one!

The London Millers had also warned us that the journey to the ground was up a very steep hill and not one for the faint-hearted (or one with a heavy bag of camera gear). I took the precaution of booking a taxi but I wasn't short of volunteers to share it but not all of them could fit in. Howard opted to walk - he may be the oldest but he's still a fit 'un.

I suppose the ground has to be at the top of the hill in order to find enough flat land to form a pitch - and it's quite a plesant little ground with cover on three sides, including the away end.

It was interesting to see that amongst the subs, Paul Terry was warming up with the others before the game so he can't be too far away from full fitness.

The other noticeable thing was that there was a female linesman, Sarah Garratt, on duty today. Liz and I generally refer to female officials as Linesbirds where youthful bum-fluff officials are dubbed Linesboys. It amuses us.

(left) Don't worry, she knows the offside rule...but as for the other lino

The game started with Forest Green having the better of the play - they were attacking the end with the Darlo fans and the main problem for Darlo was Reece Styche - he was all over the place although he fell over too easily for my liking.

Sam Russell made a couple of good saves in the first half including a spectacular tip over the bar.

Greg Taylor was kept busy in midfield but was on the end of a hard challenge and was replaced by Jamie Chandler who apparently wasn't 100% fit. You'd never have guessed as he had a great game.

Darlo started to take hold of the ball for long periods but failed to come up with anything useful and it was nil-nil at the break.

The Quakers looked a bit livelier after the restart and after being awarded a free-kick close to the by-line, Michael Smith headed home the cross from MB-W.

Darlo brought on Chris Senior for Modest and then Curtis Main for Smith (M) in the hope of extending the lead and went close on a couple of occasions.

Forest Green upped the pressure in the dying minutes and with seconds to go, a soft-free kick was awarded on the touchline in the Darlo half. The Forest Green players, including the keeper, massed into the Darlo box.

The ball was crossed into the box and it was difficult to see what happened but journeyman striker Steve Guinan - who scored once for Darlington against Barnet in 1995 whilst on-loan - was credited with poking it home despite the vociferous complaints from Darlington players who were adamant it hadn't crossed the line.
(right) Ian Miller gets to the ball first

And it was those few seconds that stopped this being a perfect day. We trudged out of the ground bemoaning the free-kick and the linesman. But we had to hurry as we had a taxi waiting and before long we were back at Stroud station.

In fact we'd made such good time we had a chance to catch an earlier train to London - so long as found an accomodating train guard as our £8 single were timed for a set train an hour later.

Following advice given to me by a train conductor I knew, I went and found the guard as soon as the train pulled in and used what little charm I possess to ask if we could come on-board? After a quick chat the guard said we were fine - the train was not heavily loaded so I suppose it would have been churlish to refuse. Lesson: Ask Politely.

And so we arrived at Paddington an hour early - Howard caught the tube home whilst John and I took the tube and popped along to the Euston Tap.

Some very decent beers on offer: Dark Star Sussex Stout and Golden Gate, Bristol Brewing Sunrise and Acer, Thornbridge Hopton and Wild Swan plus one from Brewdog. And most of them are still less than £3 a pint too.

Liz joined us after she'd got back from Sheffield - a day round the pubs for her and her cronies as their game was called off due to rain - and then my Wycombe photographer chum, Paul, popped in for a couple of pints. Hopefully I'll see him again next weekend as I make a nostalgic trip to the Waters Green Tavern in Macclesfield...

Friday, 18 February 2011

Taking A Punt

One of the trips that we'd really been looking forward to in the run up to Christmas was that to Cambridge - it has been quite a while since we'd last played there and we've always enjoyed the pubs. But as with most other fixtures that day, it fell victim to the wintry weather.

I decided the rearranged game was worth taking an afternoon off for - Liz agreed - and so we both met Howard at Bromley-by-Bow and drove to the game. And a nice quick trip it was too until we got lost on the Cambridge ring road which has a dearth of useful signs.

It was about 2:30pm when we pulled up at the football ground where, unlike Luton, there is plenty of street parking. I nipped into reception for my press pass and then we got a taxi into town.

We were dropped off on Mill Road where we'd intended to pop into Bacchanalia - an excellent off-licence we'd visited before. But it was shut - the owner away on a tasting apparently. Curses!

Howard and Liz then walked into town whilst I wandered off to the Cambridge Blue which is one of the town's most well-known pubs.

But I was to be thwarted once more - the lights were on but it was closed for refurbishment!

(left) Devonshire Arms - at last an open pub!

There were two pubs left on my list - and I knew one of those didn't open until 5:30pm - so it was off to the Devonshire Arms. Thankfully it was open.

This boozer looks small from the outside but is quite large inside and it is soon clear that this is part of the Individual Pubs chain which includes the Pembury Tavern in Hackney and Coalheavers Arms in Peterborough.

At the bar there are a number of beers from the nearby Milton Brewery - Mammon, Sparta, Pegasus, Tiki and Minotaur - as well as two from Slaters, Top Totty and Haka, plus a mild from Banks & Taylor, the Black Dragon Mild.

The place is fairly quiet and I have a few pints in peaceful solitude until I'm joined by John Wilson. We get chatting to the barman who tells us a little bit about the place - apparently the pub in it's current guise has only been open a year and was a bit of a dump beforehand (as confirmed later by Ely Steve).

I get some pork scratchings - supplied by the butcher over the road, very nice- and the barman then suggests we try another snack. This turns out to be Snyder's Japapeno Pretzel Pieces which were new to me but they were simply lovely and extremely more-ish. Keep an eye out for them in your local Budgens.

Liz then pops in having bought a few things in Lakeland - she is very domesticated - and subsequently Ely Steve and Howard join us.

As we later prepare to pop along to the Live & Let Live just a few streets away, we hear from Iain Swalwell that it is not opening until 6pm. Well, we'll stay here - certainly not a hardship - and we wait for Iain and Paul to join us.

Aware that I've been drinking for a few hours I decide to set off in good time as Liz, Howard and I walk to the ground. This means I have time for a nice bacon roll (albeit £3) and a wander round before the game kicks off.

In goal for Cambridge was Simon Brown who we'd had on loan a couple of seasons ago but it was his counterpart who made the first impression on the game. Dan Burn had been harshly judged to have fouled a Cambridge forward after just seven minutes but Russell easily saved the penalty.

This seemed to encourage Darlo and we took the game to Cambridge with plenty of posession and forward play but little to show for it in front of goal. Chances were limited for Cambridge and it was nil-nil at the break.

(right) Goal-scorer Smith on defensive duty

It didn't take long though for that to change after Gary Smith headed the Quakers into the lead. A smart run through midfield by Verma who passed the ball wide to Brown who crossed an inch-perfect cross for Smith.

Darlington continued to make the running and had the bulk of the possession - at the back the defence kept the opposition at bay with another assured performance from Dan Burn.

Liam Hatch then broke through the Cambridge defence and almost extended the lead but keeper Brown managed to get a finger-tip to his lob and put the ball over the bar.

Cambridge had one good chance close to the end of the game but Darlo held out to claim a well deserved three points.

As we left the ground though all the talk was of the news that had come through from Darlington in the second half - speculation surrounding the holding company who own the ground and the story that the Echo were supposedly running tomorrow to say that they're going into receivership. Here we go again.

Of course this had all the usual doom and gloom merchants moaning and I made the decision to do my best to avoid the messageboard tomorrow.

John and Simon (Spyman) both joined us for the drive back to London, Howard seemingly confident of the route back but we soon got lost, due once again to the lack of useful road signs.

We did get back to London in good time though with Howard dropping Liz and I off at Bow Road and the others at London Bridge. Thanks Howard- we could get use to this chaffeur service...

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The Joy Of Six

The day started even earlier than usual as the lure of £8 singles meant we had opted for a 7:15am departure from King's Cross - however this was off-set slightly by engineering on the East Coast line which would about add an hour to the journey time.

It did mean I could have a wander round town - including a visit to Taylors - before getting to the Quaker for opening time where I found Tony waiting for me. Thankfully he'd remembered to bring my watch and lens cap which I'd left at the Britannia when we were last up for a game.

On offer at the bar today were a trio from Brentwood Brewery in the shape of IPA, Spooky Moon and Hope & Glory. In addition there was Mithril Ale's Love Bug, Hill Island Febrewery Gold, Allendale Beacon Fire, Wensleydale Dub Stout, Franklins Bitter and Tom Woods Bomber County.

The Love Bug was excellent - probably the best from Mithril that I've had to date - and the IPA and Febrewery Gold were pretty solid too.

Also up for the game were the two Johns and man-about-Norway Neil Johnson. Bev was also in town but had declined to join us in gavour of some shopping.

(left) Nathan Modest on the wing

As usual we headed up to Number Twenty-2 before heading off up to the ground.

I had a quick wander round the club shop but as always seems to be the case, there wasn't much stock on display to try and tempt me to part with my hard-earnt cash.

Once pitchside I have a chat with Martin and his fellow tunnel steward, Gordon, who asks for my score prediction. I'm usually loathe to commit myself but I suggest we should win 3-0. Gordon agrees but Martin is pessimistic and opts for a two-all draw.

To be fair to him games against the so-called weaker sides at home have been hard-going affairs and the home defeat to Hayes was certainly a low point so perhaps we should temper our optimism.

However today sees us goes some way to think a little differently as we finally put a poor team to the sword.

Mark Bridge-Wilkinson opens the scoring 20 mins after taking a free kick that avoided everything in it's path and bounced into the net. Within the next fifteen minutes MB-W had managed to claim his debut hat-trick after scoring from two penalties.

Nothing decidedly dodgy about either of them except for the lunacy of the Eastbourne defending as both came from needless tackles on players moving away from goal - first MB-W and then Verma. Sam Russell commented to me that he couldn't believe how stupid they were.

At this point I got a text from John W - 'WRONG END' it read. As if I didn't know! However I like my usual spot and prefer stick to it for the whole game so that I can get shots of Darlo defending as well as attacking.

(right) Dan Burn in control

Liam Hatch then scored a fourth from a header before John Campbell got his debut goal for the Quakers with a shot that eluded keeper Forecast and saw the home side go five-nil up at the break.

As often happens, Darlo took the foot off the gas for the second half despite little obvious improvement from Eastbourne.

When the crowd attendance was announced with a special mention of the 13 away fans, the home crowd warmly applauded their opposite numbers without any hint of sarcasm. A long way to come to see your side play so poorly.

Despite missing five goals at the other end, I was in a prime position for the sixth and best goal of the day from Aman Verma - a cracking shot from just outside the box after some neat passing with MB-W.

It would have been nice to keep a clean sheet but Eastbourne contrived to score a few minutes from the end so that their baker's dozen had something to cheer before their long trip home.

(left) Verma shots and scores

After the game at Luton, this was the perfect tonic for those that hadn't travelled to Telford. There were many candidates for man of the match but it was given to MB-W. Hard to argue with that.

Our train back wasn't until 7:45pm, so we got a bus back into town and returned to the Quaker to revel in the warm glow of victory. Martin joined us there, nipping out to order some food for the return journey as we took advantage of the Pizza Express Valentine's offer, three courses for £15 - and very nice it was too.

Our train departed on time but unfortunately the day finally took a turn for the worse at Doncaster as a tree had falled on the line between there and Retford. This meant trains were running on just one stretch of track and we would be delayed until further notice.

We had a tedious wait at Donny station before we slowly passed through the affected area - we managed to speed along for an hour once we'd cleared it only to then hit the planned engineering south of Peterborough.

The net result was that we arrived at 12:35am - over an hour late which did at least mean we could claim the cost of our journey back from East Coast. But given it had only cost £8, I'd much rather have arrived on time...

I rushed down to the Northern Line only to find the last tubes had already been and gone and so it was back upstairs to the bus stops. Within a few minutes I was on a bus to Bow Church and from there a min-cab got me home at 1:45am, tired but happy.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Luton By Night

After the postponement last Saturday, the thought of seeing a game was quite exciting even if it did mean an evening trip to Luton.

I was offered a lift by Howard - he being retired now and having time on his hands - and so I left work early so he could pick me up at Bromley-by-Bow tube.

I always find travelling by car much more frustrating than the train as it just seems so slow and seems to eat into drinking time but I was grateful for the lift. But just getting to the M1 turn-off on the M25 was bad enough.

And then trying to find somewhere to park was frustrating as it seems that every street around the ground requires a residents permit.

(left) Liam Hatch battles

After driving around for what seemed like ages but was probably only ten minutes we found ourselves in the vicinity of the railway station and decided to use their car park. It cost £4 but it had the distinct advantage of being just a few hundred yards from the Bricklayers Arms.

We've been coming here as long as we've been visiting Kenilworth Road as it is still the best pub in town with only the nearby English Rose offering any real competition.

John Wilson was at the bar awaiting our arrival as we walked through the door - we DAFTS are obviously finely-tuned to each other - and we had a decent choice of beers: Crystal Rock Harvest Pale and Black Gold, Oakham Tera plus one from Hadrian and Border.

The pub is a meeting point for many Luton fans but it didn't get too busy tonight - certainly not as busy the last time I was here - but we didn't see any other Darlo fans that we knew.

We set off for the ground in good time as I needed to pick up my photographers pass. Due to the limited room round the edge of the pitch I was given the choice of sitting in front of the main stand and the mass ranks of Hatters fans or stand in part of the away end that wasn't being used by the Darlo faithful.

I opted for the away end as I didn't want to have the Luton fans behind me - plus this meant I would be closer to the toilets with fewer people queuing.

In the first-half Luton were kicking towards the away fans and it didn't take that long before they started to put our defence under serious pressure. They had a succession of corners and they went close with a lot of headers but luckily for Darlo their finishing was woeful.

One header came whizzing past me - I calmly watched it sail past and then got thumped on the back of the head as it came back off the first row of seats. Sad to say this only brought a small cheer.

Darlo didn't offer much at the other end and it was hard going for the 77 paying Darlo fans - like me, I'm sure they were all pleased to see us get to half-time without conceding. Hopefully Mark Cooper would get them sorted during the break.

(right) Debutant John Campbell with Luton keeper Tyler

And so it seemed as the second half started brightly for the Quakers with more joined-up play and some penetration into the Luton box with Hatch battling hard.

Debutant striker John Campbell made a positive debut, always looking to make space for himself and get on the ball but he was just off the pace.

Luton started to gain the upper-hand again and with twenty minutes to go, they took the lead when Gnakpa shot past Sam Russell from just inside the box after getting away from Quinn far too easily.

This spurred Luton on and they wasted a couple of good chances before Owusu found plenty of space to fire past Russell. The same striker scored his second a few minutes later with a header.

The misery was complete when Luton scored a fourth in added time and the game just couldn't finish soon enough.

This was a poor performance all round with the debut of Campbell the one and only encouragement that we could take from the game.

We trudged back to the railway station where John managed to catch a fast train to Luton with seconds to spare whilst Howard was kind enough to drive me back home.

Now This Is Getting Silly...

Today was going to be one of those rare days - a home game for Howard. And he was as keen as ever, beating both Martin and I to Da Vinci's for our pre-train brekky.

I'd actually arrived a little earlier as I had a myriad of pre-paid train tickets to collect from Euston and King's Cross, having recently volunteered to extend my travel agent duties for Tony and our Argyle chum, Geoff, so they can take advantage of cheap ticket deals on the East Coast.

On the journey up, I'd received a couple of worrying texts from Chris and John W indicating it was rather frosty in the north-east.

And they were right - it was significantly chillier in Darlington than the balmy south-east and as Howard and I walked into town, we tested out a patch of grass and it was rock hard.

(left) Early in the session - Brian is wide awake

We met John in the Quaker, closely followed by Tony, and were settling into our beers when we got a call from Martin. He was walking to the ground and someone walking the other way said the game was likely to be off. He'd let us know for definite as soon as he knew.

By now John Bell had also arrived - as had an old chum, Steve from Ely and his Darlo-based brother-in-law and rockabilly-in-arms, Keith.

The beers of offer today to keep us entertained were as follows: High House Farm Top Tup and Auld Hemp, Banks & Taylor SOD & Fruit Bat, Blue Monkey 99 Red Balloons, Captain Cook Sunset and Discovery, Caledonian Double Dark and Wylam Hedonist.

I got stuck in with halves of most of these - the Auld Hemp and Fruit Bat being especially good.

And then came the confirmation call from Martin - the ref had called the game off due to the pitch being frozen. Cue a flurry of conspiracy theories about our lack of strikers.

As usual in this sort of situation we made the best of it and continued drinking. Other Darlo fans wandered in plus a trio of Kettering fans who were also determined to make the best of a bad job.
It wasn't long before we (or mainly me) had tried all that was on offer and so I suggested we wander over to the Snooker Club. The idea was well received and so we moved on.

(right) A Pot Black moment for Martin and Howard

The Snooker Club is situated just off Northgate and was the usual low-lit barn with lots of young kids mis-spending their youth. Peter the manager has been working hard to get some decent beers on and has won a few pub of the season awards from the local CAMRA.

There were about five beers on offer, amongst them High House Farm Auld Hemp (again), Yorkshire Dale's Nappa Scar and Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted. Of these the first two were not good, on their way to vinegar but the Bitter and Twisted was excellent.

Howard, Martin and Brian had taken a detour via Taylor's after leaving the Quaker and so joined us a little late - Martin and Howard were not keen on drinking too much so when we moved on again, they opted to stay and play a few frames.

From here, we moved to the Britannia which tends to be a place I only get to when games have been postponed. Which is a shame as it is an excellent little pub with decent beer and a hard-core of friendly folk to talk to.

I was surprised to Brewdog Trashy Blonde available - one of the new breed of upstart brewers who brew some good beers but are prone to going a bit OTT on their publicity. But still a very nice pint.

By now Brian had succumbed and had slipped off to the Land of Nod - it had to happen eventually I suppose - whilst the rest of us supped our beers and watched the scores come in on Soccer Saturday.

Steve, one of the regulars from the Quaker was here and he introduced me to Pete, a Brit regular who has recently started brewing.

The brewery is called the Just A Minute brewery but he is just small-scale at the moment, doing occasional brews which have mainly been seen in the Brit. Hopefully I'll get to try his wares when they're next in town.

Time was moving on and once the final scores were in, I wandered off to Number Twenty-2, leaving a lens cap and my watch in my rush to move along. Howard and Martin joined me for a few more beers before we then went off to catch our train home.