This afternoon Durham play Glamorgan in the final (the final !) of the nation’s premier one-day cricket competition.
Search in vain for any mention of it on the BBC’s website, which is devoted to The Hundred, the purest form of cricket.
Now the final is played on a Thursday at Nottingham, which with the greatest of disrespect isn’t the Home of Cricket. The days when the showpiece event drew coachloads of drunker Somerset fans down to Lords for a day of cider and full-day BBC coverage are long gone.
Anyway, good luck to Durham. I’d quite like to watch a day of slow county cricket at their idyllic ground by the River Wear, but of course the 4 day game has been relegated to Spring and Autumn when it -30 degrees in Chester-le-Street.
A year ago I met Duncan in C-leS, as the kidz call it, and he mentioned the ground had a handpump.
“Ha, that’ll never get in the GBG, what with real ale availability and quality so uncertain” I might have said.
So of course it did, a month or two later, and my night in town enabled a Covid-delayed tick as I neared completion of the county with the most weird entries in the Guide.
Actually, the absence of a GBG icon on my app (tech speak) indicated that it had been swept dismissively out of the Guide, possibly on the basis that cask and entry to tickers were only available to match attendees.
But here I was, the day before Durham sent Sir Alistair Cook back to Essex to face BRAPA, standing at the bar of a stylish venue filled with giant cocktails and gourmet burgers.
What is it with coal mining towns and cocktails ?
Oh, there IS cask.
Once again, the old scruffy bloke shuffling nervously with a fistful of coins is ignored as the pashmina’s ladies get fawned over. Get used to it, James and Matthew.
Eventually I get served, and within one sip wish I hadn’t bothered. After all, once a pub gets de-listed from the Guide, my work is done. De-list them all, give me my prize.
The Rivet Catcher, a noble beer once as ubiquitous in the North-East as Oakham Citra or Plum Porter, was undrinkable (NBSS 1). The first total write-off of 2021, tasting like it had been in the pipes since Durham won the County Championship
Did I take it back, though* ?