Kingston & Surbiton Pub Review 2008

Pub

Recommended
Beer

Visit Date Comments  Score
Waggon Tribute 2nd January 2009

A happy new year to all readers and the start of the new 4-month winter league.  While ‘Barney’ was getting a 9-dart 501 at Ally Pally we were getting the 99-dart 401 in the Waggon.  Things improved once the excellent Tribute started to take its effect. In an astonishing purple patch John made two consecutive millimetre-missing attempts at 180 (60,60,20), busting the score each time; it was actually a great relief to all when he did win that game.  Congratulations to Dave who remembered to bring along some high quality chalk.  Apart from the chalk deficiency the Waggon was excellent. (K1-10, K2-6, JR-6, D-6)

9
Kellys/Spring Grove Vinegar, Guinness, Bombardier  19th December 2008

The Kellys was open but in denial about selling London Pride tasting like vinegar so it’s a hyperspace to the Spring Grove for Bombardier.  After many decades the Spring has introduced some new furniture that is better for darts.  A well-contested singles competition was held with John and Dave discovering late form, the latter after opening his account with a 3-darter.  Poor turnout for the final session of the 2008 season! (KS) Singles: K1-7, JR-7, D-4

3/9
Wych Elm Chiswick, Pride  12th December 2008

Some non-climbing climbers abseiled in for their Xmas event giving us 3 Brians (on a shirt), 2 Keiths, a Glen, a Dave and a partridge in a pear tree.  A challenge was thrown down by Gavin who did quite well until his confidence was seriously damaged by an astonishing 8-dart 301 from Brian (180!, 69, 20 x16) that will take some beating.  Dave registered a noisy hat-trick of singles wins.  There was some evidence of December fatigue accompanied by slow beer drinking.  However, an excellent evening. (KS) Singles: B-10, D-6, K1-4, G-2

9
Waggon Mixed, Ordinary, Tribute 5th December 2008 Aaron Norton again providing an excellent atmosphere at the Waggon.  The players were rather despondent having just heard that, like fencing and table-tennis, we are to lose our funding due to the low probability of medalling in 2012!  A quick game of singles and a most surprising 180 from yours truly.  After that K2 proved yet again that it’s ‘doubles for dough’ and poor scoring is irritating but not critical.  The Waggon is definitely back on form with a very tasty Tribute Ale. (KS) Singles K1–1, B- 0; Doubles K2-11, K1-10, D-9, B-8 9
Spring Grove Bombardier, Ordinary 28th November 2008 Some very tired arrows; players sitting down between throws and a half-time conversation break.  Some pretty awful darts as well with short interludes of excellence.  Dave produced a record that will probably never be beaten – a six-dart score of 2; the first two darts stuck in but were dislodged by the third giving a score of ZERO; with confidence shot he followed up with miss,1,1 to give 2 – fantastic!  K2 emerged from the slough of despond with a purple patch, including a millimetre miss of 180.  Your reporter, throwing terrible darts, during a 2-minute purple patch produced a 115 finish (60,15,double-top).  Brian played consistently all evening to run away with yet another win.  Without John’s accelerating influence, even the drinking was slow – 4.5 pints in nearly three hours.(KS) B-15, K1-8, K2-6, D-5 8
Wych Elm Pride, Chiswick 21st November 2008 With ‘the Wizard’ and ‘the Power’ battling it out on the TV, you would have thought we would have derived some inspiration; unfortunately it seemed to have the opposite effect and some consistently poor arrers were thrown.  Initially John was having problems with the numbers at the bottom of the board (he was missing the board!), but managed to pull himself together to claim a famous win.  The raucous atmosphere was certainly an improvement on the Kellys. (KS) J-10, B-9, K1-6, D-6, K2-3 8
Kellys Doom Bar, Woodforde’s Wherry  14th November 2008 Some astonishing darts in a sea of mediocrity – a 5-dart 244 (Brian T20, T20, 20; then Dave T18, bull!).  Perhaps the final darts thrown in the Kellys was a 3-dart 88 by Brian.  The future doesn’t look to good for this traditional pub.  It would be nice to say that it was packed and had a top juke-box (it used to!), but unfortunately it wasn’t packed and we had to tolerate ‘Children in Need’ on the TV, one very good reason for going out to the pub (blimey, the wife has just warned me for cynicism and told me ‘it’s for a good cause’).  We did briefly have some valedictory fireworks, but I have a feeling that could be the final curtain.  Farewell (again). (KS) B-10, K1-10, K2-8, D-6 7
Kelly's Woodforde’s Wherry 7th November 2008 ‘Woodforde’s Wherry –fresh and zesty with floral flavours’, a great improvement on the petrol palate and ashtray nose.  An excellent evening down the doomed Kellys with the standard mixture of top darts (mainly Brian and John) and the ludicrously poor.  A final trip to the Kellys beckons. (KS)  B-13, J-10, K2-6, K1-5 D-4 8
Willoughby Arms Halloween Beer Festival 4 out of 5
Dowton Chinera Quadhop (3.9%)
Hammerpot red Hunter (4/3%)
Westerham Finchcock's Original (3.5%)

3 out of 5
Elgood's Barleymead (4.8%)
Potbelly Captain Pouch (3.8%)
Ramsbury Knobber (4%)
Surrey Hills Ranmore (3.8%)
Twickenham Stange Brew (4.1%)
Twickenham Autumn Blaze (4.4%)
Westerham Bulldog (4.3%)

2 out of 5
Nelson Cat o' Nine Tails (4%)

1 out of 5
Hammerpot Woodcote Bitter (4.5%)

0 out of 5
Nelson Spanker (4.2%)

31st October 2008 A poor turnout for the festival and some chilly atmospheric and beer conditions, despite securing pole position in the warmth of the dartboard lights.  Dave drew the short straw this time with a run of dubious ales. Firstly, a beer that demonstrates the danger of growing crops for bio-fuels and beer in adjacent fields – Fullers Unleaded Four-Star and Esso (Woodside) Ale – a beer with a distinct hint of diesel on the palate.  On returning this non-potable fuel, Dave was offered in exchange a beer especially reserved for punters returning other beers, an undrinkable beer with a nose and taste of ashtray – Nelson’s Spanker; you have to be one to drink it!  Your reporter selected an excellent range of beers, including a very tasty brew with ‘a vicious taste of malt’ (reading glasses revealed it was actually ‘vinous’).  Been there, done it and got another T-shirt. (KS) Dave’s Beer: 1 Pub Rating: 8
New Prince Buster 24th October 2008 Where’s Derek?  Where’s Clive?  They must be somewhere.  The Kellys is starting to resemble the Marie Celeste.  A folk duo had been imported to attract punters, but they only succeeded in a worthwhile activity of putting Dave off his darts.  When the duo was resting and the darts rabbit had (rarely) subsided, the pub witnessed periods of absolute silence.  The darts were of a reasonable standard despite the continuing recent trend of unprofessional and downright unsympathetic chalking.  K2 celebrated an eventful return from Italy with a display of top finishing to take the plaudits.  Sheila’s curry finally happened in the Ajanta; an event of which ‘I know nothing’! (KS) K2-11, B-7, K1-5, J-4, D-3
Waggon

Bombardier, Ordinary, Red Wine 

 

17th October 2008 Sheila’s ruby postponed due to lack of punters, so it’s back to the Waggon,  Again, we manage to coincide with Aaron Norton revving up to his substantial fan club.  A blocked dartboard, so it’s time for a chat.  Fran pitched up but somehow failed to spot us!  A surprising dart cameo commenced at 10.30; the main disappointment was birthday girl Sheila, despite valiant efforts, failing to nail a double.  Good to see the wheels back on the Waggon, again attracting a healthy crowd. (KS) B-4, K1-3, D-3, S-2 8
Spring Grove Bombardier, Ordinary 10th  October 2008

We can ‘walk the walk’, we can definitely ‘talk the talk’, but this evening we were struggling to ‘chalk the chalk’.  Poor etiquette, lack of communication, eyesight problems, hearing problems, and despite the BScs and PhDs, trouble with basic numeracy.  No wonder we’re heading for financial meltdown with a professional dart player, Mervyn ‘The King’ King, moonlighting as Chairman of the Bank of England!

A promising revival in dart form was nipped in the bud by a stream of disputes and grumbles related to the scoring; there was even a brief threat of things turning nasty.  The Spring Grove public bar was under-populated, but the six pints of excellent Bombardier produced a suitably wobbly ride home. (KS) B-11, D-10, K1-10, K2-10, J-7
9
Waggon Bombardier, Ordinary, Tribute 3rd October 2008

After last Friday’s poor performance in the Kelly’s and lamentable Saturday display in the Bee’s Knees, everyone was looking forward to the new league and improved levels of concentration and skill; so what went wrong?  A sudden cold snap, big tele over the board, unpleasant music or inconvenient chalking location?  The earth’s rotation, magnetic storms or cosmic rays? … or is it time to admit that maybe, just maybe it’s a basic lack of ability?  Brian played some reasonable darts, Dave demonstrated his new-found finishing acumen and Ks 1 and 2 had a close battle in the worst player competition.  Thankfully, the Waggon was fine, sporting tasty beers. (KS)

7
Kellys Ringwood 26th September 2008 How much longer can the Kellys hold on with so few punters?  The darts actually started quite well when Smooth FM was playing the Carpenters, but the focus was lost when Dave recounted his holiday story and general singing and rabbit broke out.  Dave then went on to claim the MVP, winning (with his partners) the last eight games while yours truly managed to lose the last six.  One of Dave’s darts merits a special mention – a pop at double top that literally worried the scorer.  Some advice for the Kellys – keep the good beer and the table football but drop the Smooth FM! (KS) Singles: B-1, D-0 Doubles: D-11, B-7, K1-6, K2-6 6
Wych Elm Chiswick, Pride  19th September 2008

It was supposed to be the Kellys, but without an active website this post-beer choice was forgotten.  The first hour was devoted to a discussion on the current credit crunch and banking crisis before moving on to more important issues at 10 pm.  Your reporter spent 15 minutes looking for his lost darts; the mistake was finding them!  No finishes all night and a genuine drubbing by Brian who recovered from last week’s poor form.  John created a little piece of darting history, commencing a game with a tightly grouped set of arrers about 10 mm Northwest of the double 5, and registering a genuine score of ZERO!!  To compensate John also collected two 3-darters with Brian and K2 registering high-scoring 2-darters.  Next week it’s the Kellys! (KS) B-9, J-5, K2-5, K1-3

8
Spring Grove Bombardier, Ordinary   12th September 2008

Brian played solid high-scoring darts all evening but failed to register many wins, reinforcing a variation on the old adage ‘scores for show, partners for dough’.  At least four very close attempts for bull, but again ‘no cigar’.  The Spring had an innovative method for attracting punters – ‘Sky Sports televised fishing’; no surprise then that we were pretty lonely in the public bar. (KS) Doubles; J-8, K1-7, K2-7, B-4

8
Prince of Wales, White House, Gomshall Special Curry  Shere Drop, TEA, Cobra 5th September 2008

Some light drizzle and bad light made the cycle down rather interesting and precluded the longer walk to the William IV.  The Prince of Wales had made the ludicrous decision to remove the dartboard; it may be just coincidence but the punters seem to have left with the board.  The White Horse is basically a restaurant serving beer.  Pubs no great success but the beer quality and the excellent curry were more than adequate compensation.  In lieu of a darts competition a singles puncture competition was organised, won convincingly by Dave D-3, B-1 (KS)

Pubs 4, Beer/Curry 9
Wych Elm Chiswick, Pride   29th August 2008

The last Friday in August and summer arrives – a few beers in the garden to lubricate the moving parts.  After a long layoff, darts doubles returns and Dave steps up to the oche to claim the victory; some scattergun high scores and the classic Dave finish – a first dart ‘marker’ six inches above the board followed by the second dart smack bang in the middle of the required double-top.  A worrying lack of late punters in the Wych – before the extended opening hours, when it was illegal, the Wych was packed at 11.45!! (KS) Doubles: D-5, J-4, K1-3, K2-2 Singles: K1-3, K2-1, D-1                     

8
Spring Grove Bombardier, Special 22nd September 2008 Last week Dave kicked off a terrific week for British Olympic sport.  True to form the whingeing Aussies whined about us only being good at sports where we sit on a seat and related that somehow to the British class system.  So what we need for 2012 is a sport that does not involve sitting, has no upper class connotations and where the performance-enhancing drug is strictly legal and encouraged.  With 10 weight categories from painfully thin (less than 80 kg) up to slightly porky (over 160 kg) and three variations on the basic game (10 lagers, 20 bitters, 15 Guinness) that should produce 30 gold medals and put team GB top of the table.  Anyway, K2 returned early from his Italian training camp for a highly competitive singles competition, terminating at 11.45, by which time the boozer was worryingly under-patronised; you wait years for extended opening times and then everyone goes home at 11 pm! (KS) K1-10, K2-8, D-7 8
Spring Grove Bombardier 15th August 2008 Yngling, coxless four, lightweight sculls, Adlington, Hoy, Ainslie, Wiggins, Romero, Irving; yes, Dave kicked off a weekend of golden British Olympic sporting triumph.  After some previous drubbings, he shook off the dread of the darts duel, and, following two confidence-boosting double-19s, stormed ahead and maintained focus during a period of physical and psychological fatigue for both players to record a well-deserved victory; 17 games in less than 90 minutes as well.  The noise in the Spring is astonishing; from the outside it sounds like a capacity crowd watching cock-fighting, but when you get in it’s just 20 punters, including a flotilla of yachtees, simultaneously shouting at max volume – must be the beer. (KS) D-10, K1-7 8
Waggon Bombardier, Ordinary       8th August 2008

Bossog, Billishears, Aaronducati – come back, all is forgiven.  A new group (sensibly no name) appearing down the Waggon; a young duet playing crusty music (Carpenters, TRex, old Bob Dylan etc.) and specialising in the piercing, wailing harmonica.   Just as good darts are naturally a function of skill and innate ability, poor darts are the result of bad luck or an adverse external environment.  Maybe it was the ‘music’ or possibly the ‘half-person in Surbiton’ tale, but there is no argument that John and I took a thoroughly deserved pasting from Brian, who clocked up 8-in-a-row and terminated the evening’s proceedings with 3-dart bull finish.  The duet gave a late rendering of ‘My old man’s a dustman’, possibly looking for a starring role in the 2012 Olympics Cockney opening ceremony – at least they avoided ‘Homeward Bound’ – ‘I’m sitting in a railway station,,,,,,,,,’! (KS) B-10, two 3-darters, one bull,  K1-3,  J-3

Music 2,  Pub 7
Wych Elm Chiswick, Pride, ESB(nectar!) 1st August 2008

A surprisingly good turnout for August.  Some nasty tactics creeping into the arrers – a below-the-belt attack on your reporter’s sartorial inelegance (what’s wrong with shorts and black socks anyway?) led to an early lack of confidence, and an ESB-assisted recovery was ended abruptly by a surprise but welcome rare appearance of Gary.  The beer may be expensive but it does taste great and appears to do the business – a rather fuzzy remembrance of a quality evening of top darts and stimulating conversation. (KS) J-10, B-9, D-5, K1-4, K2-4

9
Kellys Woodsides Wherry 25th July 2008

The night commences with a rapid three-darter from Dave and finishes with a rather sad three-darter (6: 3,1,x1) from yours truly – just one genuine worse three-darter to come (5: 1,2,x1) on the grounds that (4: 1,1,x1) is a fraud.  Excellent drinking ale, although the quaffing pace was unusually slow, with Dave and John going home early and probably still thirsty.  Yet again we were invited to join a darts team (the Swan transferred to the Kellys) by a guy who must have been wearing the beer goggles.  The Kellys recovers. (KS) K1-9, K2-6, J-5, D-4

8
Waggon Bombardier 18th July 2008 After a few games of singles in which I couldn't see the board as I'd left my glasses at home a challenge came from the locals Mark and Stephan. A quick bike ride home to get my glasses gave them just enough time to finish a practice game and then the challenge began. Unfortunately their optimum level of beer for playing was a lot lower than ours so we had to wait a while until we started to win a few games. Eventually the disturbing sight of me finishing with a 15x was too much for Stephan who went home early. Mark however was up for more so a keenly contested round of singles saw K2 emerge the victor. Singles: K2-6, M-3, D-2 Doubles: No idea. 8
Spring Grove Bombardier, Ordinary  11th July 2008

A cycle through a deluge to ensure John wouldn’t be there on his own and he’s a no-show.  Due to the inclement weather in Cornwall, Dave was also half expected, but again no-show.  So, a keenly-contested three-way singles with the traditional tosh punctuated by purple patches and, unusually, some periods of conversation and quiet reflection.  Every cloud…..due to the credit crunch and general economic gloom, the proposed yuppiefication of the Spring has been postponed – game on! (KS) B-10, K1-9, K2-5, one 3-darter each

8
Wych Elm Chiswick, Pride, ESB  4th July 2008

The Henman Fist-Pump and the even more irritating Murray biceps-flex – both proscribed darts celebrations, except during Wimbledon Fortnight or for exceptional events (eg 180).  Another excellent session down the Wych, making a flying start to both the singles and doubles darts leagues.  Dave continued his improved form from the Spring and, accompanied be a crescendo of pumping, flexing and general rabbit, established himself as the early joint leader of the new doubles league.  Your scribe was again rather unsteady on the way home – ESB? (KS) Singles: K1-4, B-2, D-1 Doubles: B-7, D-7, K1-6, K2-2

9
Kellys / Spring Grove Ringwood/Bombardier/Ordinary 27th June 2008 The Kellys had been invaded by the local branch of ‘The Derek and Clive Appreciation Society’, so after a couple of pints it was a hyperspace to the Spring Grove for a more cultured (ie older) atmosphere.  Requiring a minimum of 30 wins to take the league, Dave put in a very late bid with some good scoring and finishing, but John, despite a dip in form, clung on for a well-deserved topping of the Spring Doubles League.  Cannot wait for the start of the new league next week; however, will there be enough venues left to complete it? (KS)  2/9
Wych Elm Chiswick, Pride, ESB       20th June 2008 Turkey 1 Croatia 1 competing with the darts but there is no competition for sporting stupidity – you’ve just scored a very late winning goal that was ludicrously over-celebrated, you have the ball at your feet, there are 10 seconds on the clock, the ref has consulted his whistle and is looking for any reason to blow his watch.  You could play a long square ball to Hama Sandavic awaiting the pass in Row Z, you could execute a Jonny Wilkinson punt into the 22 or you could thread a through ball to a colleague who has run offside (offside, 10 seconds left, why?) – refs don’t blow up after awarding free-kicks and the rest is history!  The darts were pretty good again, but some players are peaking too late just before the session ends – the trainer says that beer should be stronger or consumed quicker; although this might not be appreciated on Saturday morning. (KS) J-12, B-10, K1-6, K2-3, D-3 9

Spring Grove

 

Bombardier, Special, Ordinary 13th June 2008 A warm-up watching Holland 4 France 1 seemed to inspire the darts to a higher standard, especially K2 and Brian – no double-1 all night must be a record.  K2 had exchanged the ‘Finisher’ T-shirt for a woolly jumper and consequently a marked improvement in finishing.  There are fewer punters going to the pub these days and so it is important that the remaining few make more noise to compensate; at one stage everyone in the public bar had the volume control ‘switched to 11’, so loud that Dave, of all people, claimed an adverse effect on his arrers!  The Spring is a traditional boozer with excellent beer – it’s due for major renovation soon!  I’m a worried man; the recent eviction of the popular pool table does not auger well – enjoy it while it lasts! (KS) B-12, K2-12, J-8, K1-8, D-2 9
Waggon/Kellys Bombardier /Doom Bar 6th June 2008

Oh No!  Now the Waggon’s wheels are coming off!  A new doorway, a table with punters in front of the dartboard, a foody smell and a garden full of rubble.  Aarron Norton no longer a triumph, more of a Lambretta – so it’s time to scoot off to the Kellys.  If you wear a T-shirt sporting the word ‘Finisher’, the result is inevitable; of the 12 games played, B and K1 managed 1 apiece, Dave a quick brace, ‘the Finisher’ zero and John all 8 of the games he won!  Doom Bar is a great name for a beer; it also tastes good and appears relatively hangover free.  Doom Bar – an infamous sand bar at the mouth of the Camel Estuary in North Cornwall. (KS) J-9, K1-6, B-4, D-3, K2-2

2/9
Wych Elm Pride. ESB    29th May 2008

Perhaps an over-enthusiastic return to decent beer; the guvnor says I ‘rolled in like a beer barrel’ at 12.30, and K2 was suffering earlier stability problems including a charge on to the oche whilst chalking and a very late decision to procure a bag of chips.  The evening included a challenge from ‘the quiet man’, who seemed pretty good at darts but of a nervous disposition.  After six pints and some raucous arrows, we all went home (I think!). (KS) K1-11, J-9, K2-8, D-6

9
L’Easy Rider Pelforth Brun, ghastly fizz   22th May 2008

An oasis in a Jurassic desert.  Pool, pinball, Pelfort Brun, Babyfoot and some ace old music videos.  Then the Pelfort Brun ran out……… (KS)

9
New Prince  Butser 16th May 2008

The traditional triple birthday celebration with guest appearances by Evan, Linda, Mike, Teri and Sally – sadly they were unable to demonstrate their darts prowess.  Back to the Ajanta who had decided that poisoning their regular clientele did not comprise a successful business plan; the curry was much better, but there is still room for improvement.  Amazingly, there were other young punters in the curry house – as part of the tradition they appear to have trashed the ladies loo – those were the days! (KS)

7
Kellys Doom Bar                        9th May 2008

Trouble in publand – The Railway’s hit the buffers, the Sun no longer rises, the Swan’s sunk, the Ferret’s neutered, Brickies work half-time and Woodies is dart-free.  It’s a civic duty to save the Kellys; a pleasant duty to boot.  The darts are lit with a variable size treble 20, there’s music in the air, big screens have appeared and, amazingly, table football has resurrected.  What’s more the beer is excellent and does not appear to generate hangovers.  A top venue – get down there! (KS) K1-7, K2-7, D-6, B-6, J-6

9
Waggon Bombardier, Deuchars    2nd May 2008

Music down the Waggon far better than Bossog and Billishears; the performance of Aaron Norton was considered a Triumph! (Norton/Triumph motorcycle get the Joke?)  Once your brain adjusts, darts and loud music are complementary – you can get in the zone with fewer beers.  Some ace finishing by K2 was trumped by a surprise 180 from John, part of a team that had earlier modelled the new range of fashion dartswear by Colnago.  The Waggon’s definitely the venue for the 180s. (KS) K1-7, J-5, K2-5, B-4, D-3

9
Willoughby Arms St George’s Beer Festival Five Star
Gribble Best Bitter 4.1%, Hogs Back Spring Ale 4%, Wayland's Addled Ale 4.2%

Four star
1648 St George 4.5%, Alligator Ale 4.6%, Somerset & Dorset Ale 4.4%, Downton Nelson's Delight 4.5%, Hampshire Lionheart 4.5%, Hogs Back Traditional English Ale 4.2%, Hogs Back Hop Garden Gold 4.6%, Pilgrim Progress Best Bitter 4.7%

Three star
Ascot Posh Pooch 4.2%, Hampshire King Alfred's Bitter 3.8%, Hepworth Iron Horse 4.8%, Hop Back Odyssey Crop Circle 4.2%, Itchen Valley Winchester Ale 4.2%, Nelson Trafalgar Bitter 4.1%, Twickenham Spring Ale 4.3%, Wayland's Dark Knight 4.2%

Two star
Cottage Southern Bitter 3.7%, Hepworth Prospect Organic Ale 4.5%

One star
Ballards Midhurst Mild 3.5%

Sampled but Unclassified
Hop Back Odyssey Best Bitter 4%, Twickenham Naked Ladies 4.4%

25th April 2008

A beer festival without a hangover; possibly as there wasn’t any 11% Brainstunner on offer.  A ‘swimmer’s beer’ also slowed the drinking speed – this ale left a subtle hint of Chlorine on the palate.  Not as good as a beer sampled later by John where the brewer had remarkably produced ‘a beer that tastes OK, but has a subtle nose of sick’ – nice!  Maybe it’s just me but I thought the highlight of the evening was when we finally managed to sit down.  This year’s T-shirt was very desirable. (KS)

8
Wych Elm Chiswick, Pride. ESB, Fish and Chips

 

18th April 2008

The fish and chip birthday curry has a number of positive benefits; John gets to bed earlier, everybody feels better in the morning, and the atmosphere is more wholesome around Craven Cottage Block H5, Row U, Seat 100.  The darts were generally poor, although it was good to see Evan troubling the scorer again.  I logged on to the ‘Bobby George Cures Desperate Darts’ website where the first piece of advice was ‘Never attempt to play competitive darts on a full stomach; especially do not eat TWO dinners just before the bully-off!’  Hats off to Manny – clandestine cheese roll eating is not required. (KS)

9
Kellys  Doom Bar (drank dry), Guinness   11th April 2008

Lazarus had better odds, so it was great to be back in the all-new smoke-free, decibel-free, photon-free Kellys.  Stevie Wonder would have enjoyed the dart board lighting, but form generally seemed unaffected with some excellent finishing from John and K2.  However, Dave took a while (2 hours) to trouble the scorer – the threat of Sue thinking he hadn’t actually gone to the Kellys encouraged 3 late triumphs.  Your reporter, soon to be a grandmaster, hangs his head in shame – no finishes in nearly 3 hours; the mince pies could be blamed, but the dart board illumination seemed to improve with beer consumption; beer is the new carrots!  Bring on the table football. (KS) K2-10, J-10, B-8, C-5, D-3 K1-2

8
Spring Grove Bombardier, Deuchars, Ordinary, Mixed   4th April 2008

Following pre-season training camps in the Lake District, Italy, Egypt and Australia the eagerly-awaited darts league finally got under way.  John’s long haul for warm weather training down under paid dividends with an early double; he never looked back and went on to claim the all-important early championship lead.  The Spring was excellent as usual and we got to hear of some surprising but promising news re the Kellys. (KS) (J-10, K1-9, K2-5, B-5, D-3)

9

Brookside Inn, Windermere                                

Theakstons Bitter, Cold Fosters! 28th March 2008 Wherever you are, Friday night is arrows night.  ‘The Wife’ applied pressure with some early rapid finishing but soon tired and lost interest and motivation.(KS) (K1-4, F-2) 7
Waggon Deuchars, Bombardier, Ordinary, ‘Good’ Friday 21st March 2008

They say everything is going downhill; however, there are a small number of improvements to be celebrated.  For many years, when everyone had a day off on ‘Good’ Friday and could use a good drink, the pubs would shut early at 10.30.  Now, the Waggon stayed open till midnight and we took full advantage with a competitive singles match and a few games of tactics with Sheila guesting.  At least three very close calls (Brian) for 100+ finishes, but they just won’t come – your reporter, undefeated at the Hatter, took over an hour to register a solitary game.  So it’s on to the climax of the dart leagues next Friday….when everyone is away!!  The Lord Mayor’s show is cancelled! (KS) (B-7, K2-6, K1-1)

9
New Prince/Mad Hatter  Buster/Pride: 14th March 2008

Where was John for the Mad Hatter’s beer party?  After losing the Head last week it was fairly desperate to find that the Prince was also off limits for darts, as their pub team now seems to practice on Fridays.  However, good things often spring from adversity; after some clandestine reconnaissance we risked a transfer to the Hatter of ill-repute.  It was really pretty good; live music far better than Bossog or Billishears, a rather battered but functional dartboard, an electronic scoreboard, potable Pride and a friendly atmosphere.  The very large dog bowl predicated the arrival of a large aggressive dog, and ‘Tyson’ duly appeared, although his smell was worse than his bite.  Possibly difficult conditions for top arrers, but that’s the name of the game.  The Raj, though lacking punters, was a great improvement on the Agra – could be the Rajagrajanta soon! (KS) K1-9, D-3, B-3, K2-3

 4/9
Queen’s Head/Wych Elm  Ruddles County, Flowers IPA, ESB, Pride, Chiswick, Swing Low 7th March 2008

The Head was a great new venue: good beer, good atmosphere and a guaranteed game of darts, unless some idiot introduces a pool table – so it’s farewell to the Head!  You can always trust the old favourites to come to the rescue; the Wych was fine as usual, although there is a worrying trend not to take full advantage of the extended licensing hours; you feel better in the morning but …..well somehow, it just doesn’t seem right! (KS) K1-10, B-9, K2-8, D-3

2/9
New Prince Butser 29th February 2008

‘Goodbye Ruby Friday’ – requiem for the Friday night post-beer curry.  Remember those nights when you were uncertain of securing a table at 11 pm, or crowds in Gunga Dins, for the outlay of a tenner, enjoying an extra hour’s drinking, a burnt tongue and some mildly antisocial behaviour – all a thing of the past.  The traditional post-beer curry has been killed off by a combination of extended drinking hours, a smoking ban, nosh of dubious quality and Jamie Oliver.  For K2’s curry we were untroubled by other punters in the Agra, although the five waiters made a nuisance of themselves; meanwhile the Ajanta had closed early.  Could be the Agrajanta soon.  We laid down the darts challenge in the Prince and the challenge was gratefully accepted; then we declined to step up to the oche.  Well, it could have been construed as rather rude to leave our guests Mike and Teri to talk amongst themselves.  Next time I suggest we forget the curry, get a decent round of crisps and nuts, and stay in the pub. (KS)

Pub 7 Agra 2
Spring Grove Bombardier, Ordinary, Mixed    22nd February 2008

The Spring is my tops at present – good beer and good ambience that encourages some reasonable quality darts, although these often go unrewarded; for a short while everybody was playing well, even though Dave took over an hour to get a loudly- celebrated treble 20 and K1 went an hour-and-a-half between finishing doubles.  Come on chaps! - We need some Bull finishes, 100+ finishes or 180s – there are too many near misses.  The evening’s highlight? – Dave’s double 1, double 19 finish in preference to the traditional double top.  Meanwhile JR slipped to a final 8th finish in Australia following a disappointing Saturday performance – Friday night on the tinnies, maybe? (KS) B-16, K1-10, D-9, K2-5

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Wych Elm ESB, Pride, Chiswick 15th February 2008 A rather subdued session – a lack of punters and the pub seemed strangely quiet – maybe it was the cold weather.  Chiswick Man disproved the theory that ESB means winning darts, although packing up at 11.15 precluded the ESB optimum just before closing time. (KS) B-10, K1-8, D-2 6
Waggon Mixed, Directors, Ordinary 8th February 2008 Thewagg onwas prtty goo – oops , sorry – chalky fingers!  John’s plan was simple – win a huge number of games to set a high average, disappear to Oz for 4 weeks and return still top of the league.  To begin with the plan went brilliantly, taking the first 6 games in excellent form – then came the fatal mistake.  Rather than accepting K1’s offer to chalk, exhibiting Corinthian sporting spirit, John stepped in, as apparently (long forgotten) K1 had been nearest the bull at the start.  In consequence John missed the opportunity for a potential league-winning 9-game unbeaten run with Brian.  Following one of the longest double-1 shoot-outs in living memory, and a couple of games for Sheila, the fingers finally got chalky at 11.10, beating Dave’s 10.30 in the Spring Grove a few weeks’ ago but not matching K2 who was once chalk-free in Gumshoe.  The Waggon was good as usual. (KS) K1-17, B-11, J-7, K2-3, D-3, S-1 8
Queen’s Head Adnams, Ruddles County, Holsten zero alcohol, J2O      1st February 2008

Another successful evening in the ‘Head’ – good beer, good atmosphere and a reasonable darts location, just lacking a bigger chalk board.  There was a possibility of a 4-way 14-all result but the match ended rather abruptly as the pub appeared to be closing.  Not over-enamored with the bull finish dropout or the 99 finish; there were also a few worthy 180 attempts.  K2 heroically managed a whole evening without alcohol on the grounds that the beer/antibiotic combination could lead to sickness; I thought beer could do that on its own! (KS) K1-14, B-14, D-12, K1-12

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Spring Grove Bombardier, Ordinary, Mixed   25th January 2008

The Spring is certainly the dog’s when you occupy the table; after over 30 years of drinking there, it is undoubtedly a home game.  Drinking the Bombardier dry again even meant no hangover.  A 3-hour, 6-pint, 27-game proper Friday night session.  Memorably, Dave finished champion following some excellent finishing, an 8-game winning streak, a hat-trick of finishes, and 10 winning games between chalks; he even overcame some hostile barracking – will normal service be resumed next week? (KS) D-15, K1-14, K2-9, J-9, B-7

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Wych Elm Pride. ESB!!  18th January 2008

DDT, PCB, LSD, EPO, now ESB added to the list of proscribed substances; Fuller’s Extra Special Beer (ESB) is more than just a breakfast drink – it’s a serious performance-enhancing substance.  K2 started the inaugural singles championship in sparkling form, specialising in top 3 dart finishes (80, 93, and others); K1 and Dave were looking at a serious drubbing.  Then K2 failed to partake of the essential mid-sessional ESB and his arrows descended into general mediocrity.  He did recover to win a late game of tactics that seemed to go on for hours.  ESB Rules, OK! (KS) K1-10, K2-8, D-6

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Waggon Mixed, Ordinary 11th January 2008

Watching darts on TV every evening is probably quite reasonable grounds for being divorced; as compensation, after careful observation, adopting the Wizard’s stance, Pecker’s grip, Wolfie’s release and the Count’s sporting behaviour, one would hope to see a spectacular improvement in the quality of one’s arrows – unfortunately not!  K2, who strangely hadn’t been watching darts, nailed an early surprise 180 and then teamed up with John, another avid non-watcher who had just spent hours on Clandon station, and won seven games on the trot to extend his early championship lead.  It was good to take advantage of the extended opening hours with a few games of tactics, an extra beer, and a 12.20 finish. (KS) K2-10, J-9, D-8, B-7 K1-4

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Queen’s Head Adnams, Flowers, Sleigh Bell 4th January 2008

A new year and a new pub in North Kingston! – there is a sign outside the Head that advertises ‘real ale’ and ‘darts’ and, Ronseal-like, that’s exactly what you get.  The beer was excellent and the dartboard serviceable, although there were some early player circulation problems, later rectified by sufficient beer.  K2 had shown brilliant late form last week with a glut of bulls in a tactics challenge; he continued the form this week with some dubious scoring but devastating ‘doubles for dough’ to become the early leader in the new slimmed down championship.  Pressure on the Surbiton boys to unearth a new pub? (KS) K2-12, B-11, J-11, K1-8, D-4 

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