Kingston & Surbiton Pub Review 2009

Pub

Recommended
Beer

Visit Date Comments  Score
Wych Elm Pride 18th December 2009 Adverse weather affected the journeys from Gumshoe (and Surbiton!?) so a singles duel was the order of the day.  The rapid circulation of chalking and throwing can cause dizziness and gyroscopic forces to influence the dart trajectory.  Not surprisingly, the standard was pretty poor, but at least Dave matched the ‘goldfish’ with 3-dart finishes.  Once the mountain men had acclimatised at base camp, K2 joined in for a quick burst of activity to complete this league. (KS) K1-12, D-6, K2-5 9
Fox & Hounds Courage Best 11th December 2009 Initially, a scrabble game impeded circulation, even for just the three players.  Out of courtesy to the scrabble players, the noise level and amount of cursing was also inhibited.  Chalking was a leg-warming activity.  Having said that, the Fox is an excellent ‘new’ venue for arrers, as evidenced by the three-hour, twenty eight- game competitive singles battle,.. .. and the Fox’s highlight?  ‘Gertcha, mine’s a pint of Courage Best!’   Tip-top, guvnor! (KS) K1-12, D-11, K2-5 9
Mad Hatter Pride 4th December 2009 Where are the geezers with the dodgy rabbit and the big dogs?  Derek, Clive and Tyson?  Well, they’re not in the Mad Hatter anymore.  We were the only punters there.  At times the silence was punctuated only by the noise of traffic and some really awful sounds (Jim Reeves, anyone?).  Having failed to evict us with an aural assault, the old ‘chairs on the tables’ trick did the business.  Surprisingly, the darts were pretty good with the treble 20 taking a severe peppering; John, in particular, responded to the ‘sshhh, best of order, game on’ atmosphere and triumphed just before the Xmas decorations made their appearance.  A rather Sad Hatter! (KS) J-11, B-8, D-7, K2-6, K1-4 4
Spring Grove Bombardier, Ordinary 27th November 2009 What is it about the Spring?  Is it the low lights?  Maybe the adjustable oche?  The crowd noise?  The general ambience?  Or maybe just that we have been going there for decades?  Well, something about the Spring inspires Dave, particularly when the score of his win three weeks ago remains unrubbed.  A highly competitive evening of arrows with another triumph for Dave.  We may be reduced to just a handful of suitable Friday night hostelries, but a good evening is virtually guaranteed at the Spring. (KS) D-12, B-11, K1-7, J-7, K2-5 9
Wych Elm Pride, Chiswick    20th November 2010

With the pros on the tele enduring some pretty serious crowd noise and some fairly raucous behaviour from ourselves, it is probably not surprising that the standard of play was not so great; a burst of 100+’s to impress the landlord and a bull finish from K2 were the rare highlights.  Holly and Malcolm joined us, and later Hilary, Tensing and Bonnington belayed in, ensuring low levels of concentration were maintained.  The standard may have been poor but, please note Monsieur Henry, there was no cheating (well, not much), and the spirit (and beer) was good – as it should be! (KS) B-11, K1-11, D-9, K2-7

9
Waggon Tribute, Bombardier, Ordinary, Vino   13th November 2009

Maybe it was the delayed start; or maybe the excessive and continuous rabbit; possibly the talk of synaesthesia (that double-top smells good!); or maybe the execrable xmas song tape?  But, it was certainly something that caused possibly the consistently worst evening of arrows for years.  There was a worry that some games would never end (Dave’s comment on a darts filibuster was pertinent).  If you don’t take yer arrers too seriously, this was a fun evening, with K2 topping the charts from the 11 games that we miraculously managed to finish. (KS) K2-7, K1-6, B-4, D-3, J-2

8
Spring Grove Bombardier, Ordinary, Deuchars 6th November 2009 The Spring was reducing its carbon footprint by providing half-light for the dartboard.  When, with beer-assistance, the mince pies had adjusted to the gloom, some pretty good darts were played with participants evenly matched; the highlight was K2’s bull finish.  We even had an exciting end to the evening with a championship decider.  At 2-0 down and playing poorly in the third game against an in-form team of Brian and K2, Ladbrokes were offering 50-1 against Dave.  However, against the odds with a combination of skill and good fortune, the last three games were won to give Dave a rare and well-celebrated win.  Warning: Deuchars tastes mighty strange on top of Bombardier! (KS) D-11, K1-10, B-10, K2-7 9
Wych Elm ESB, Pride, Chiswick 30th October 2009 Normally we are surprised when punters are absent, but tonight we were surprised by the presence of two players, although the Team Psychologist feels that their arrows were adversely affected by ‘Beast Anxiety’.  A good solid evening of darts, with Brian again showing an extended purple patch, much to the advantage of your reporter, who rather embarrassingly was the evening’s joint champion.  ‘Doubles for show, partners for dough’ (KS) B-11, K1-11, D-5, K2-5, J-2 8
Waggon Tribute, Bombardier, Titanic (you can sink a few!)  23rd October 2009

So, we had been poisoned by last week’s curries from the Raj Cookbook: first liquidise a pile of brown gunk; for Chicken Bhopal, add meat and Bhopal curry powder; for Lamb Balti Chernobyl, add meat and Uranium curry powder.  Nasty!  Perhaps it was this conversation and general cycling chat that produced very low concentration levels – some of the early play was dire and John was looking at a tank-full of goldfish.  Later the play improved and the coach gave John the call – ‘two snappy victories and you’re the champion’ – John duly delivered.  An improved noisier atmosphere down the Waggon. (KS) J-7, K1-6, D-6, B-6, K2-5 

9
Mad Hatter Seafarer, Pride 16th October 2009

Pub swap – the clientele of the Hatter were all in the Prince so we took their place in the (not so mad) Hatter – an excellent choice with good throwing conditions for the arrows, although some play did not reflect this.  The beer was fine but tasted slightly diluted – wounded Pride!  Brian won yet again (practice makes perfect) and Sheila was unlucky with her finishing, although a ‘lack of air’ was a regular affliction.  If a 3-dart 3 is worth a goldfish then a 9-dart 17 should collect a tank-full; your reporter demonstrated his latest dire scoring form.  Who remembers the Thames Tandoori?  Anglo-Saxon waiters, colour photos of the nosebag and food comprising meats in a variety of red gunk.  Well the Raj is emulating it on the nosh front – curries comprising meat in a variety of brown mulch – very poor.  Following our last trip to the Hatter/Raj combination (14 March 2008), the report stated that the Raj was an improvement on the Agra – just what had the Agra done to us?  The Raj was then the inspiration for the birthday fish supper.  Come back the Ajanta – all is forgiven. (KS) B-6, J-5, K1-4, D-3, K2-1, S-1

Hatter: 8
Raj: 1
Wych Elm ESB, Pride, Chiswick 9th October 2009

Brian started off playing like Wee Jockie Wilson in his prime, but, fortunately for opponents, gradually ran out of steam.  The Team had hired, at no little expense, a Spanish Psychological Motivator who suggested that darts were somehow related to ‘the making of the beast with two backs’; given the impotent, sterile and flaccid nature of many of the darts, hopefully this is not true!  During one of the motivational briefings K2 attempted to inhale, rather than imbibe, his Pride; at this stage the Spanish Motivator left the Team ‘by mutual consent’.  Concentration levels were low and were not improved when Hilary and Tensing traversed in for a bit of a chit-chat.  Average arrows, excellent beer, good evening. (KS) B-14, K1-11, K2-10, D-7

9
Spring Grove Bombardier, Ordinary 2nd October 2009 The Spring is turning into the new ‘Oak’, the regular Friday night watering hole; tonight it was ‘Bossuzuki’ who evicted us from the Waggon.  Brian is confirming Oscar Wilde’s ‘Work is the curse of the drinking class’, throwing carefree darts and winning yet again.  An unusually quiet evening in the Spring, combined with slow drinking, produced an unmemorable evening, with the 180 excitement of previous weeks sadly missing. (KS) B-11, K1-6, D-5, J-5, K2-5 8
Spring Grove Bombardier, Ordinary  25th September 2009

When you’re struggling with basic dart control and seeing more ‘flyers’ than Biggin Hill, the last thing you need is the opponent to open the game with a 180; when it happens again a few games later, it is totally demoralising.  First Brian, then Dave bagged a maximum which, combined with John’s on the previous Spring visit, means a hat-trick of 180s in less than one hour of darts!  The usual down the Spring – the early racket attenuating to a peaceful conclusion. (KS) B-10, D-9, K1-7

9
Waggon 18th September 2009 No Report Yet! 
Singles: B-5, J-4, K2-2
Doubles: B-2, J-2, K2-2, S-2
?
Wych Elm Pride, Chiswick   11th September 2009

The new Team Coach had emphasised the importance of a focussed warm-up, so Ks (1 and 2) had a solid 10 minutes, practising doubles.   Brian then turned up and, without any warm-up, won the first 15 games notching up a hat-trick of 3-darters including a 102 (5, T19, D20).  About 10.30 pm your reporter finally forced Brian to get chalky fingers, following which K2 remained undefeated for the final 6 games of the evening – funny game, darts!  Perhaps the pub was just too quiet, a shock after the Spring cacophony. (KS) Singles B-15, K2-6, K1-1                       

8
Spring Grove Bombardier, Ordinary 4th September 2009

Another excellent session down the Spring, but I won’t make the same mistake of assuming that darts standards have improved generally.  Dave’s new gym regime paid dividends with some top form including accurate scoring and snappy finishing.  Great things were expected of Brian after the performance in the Waggon but he seemed tired due to overplaying.  K2 finally nailed that elusive finish after fifty near misses.  John normally peaks just before leaving, but this time, having missed the train, we soon saw what we have been missing.  A 101 three-darter (T5, T20, D13) was soon followed by a 180 (part of a game going from 345 to a finish in 9 darts) and then a very near miss of a bull to complete a 15 minute hat-trick; note that in the previous 4 months we had produced nothing!  The Spring was its normal self – the 9pm cacophony tailing off to the midnight library. (KS) J-11, D-11, K1-9, K2-6, B-5

10
Waggon Bombardier, Ordinary, White Wine  28th August 2009

Brian returned from his practice board in France to demonstrate some rapid finishing.  Dave found some late form, including assisting Sheila to her first win.  There was some very poor chalking, including one game when all four players were playing for the same team in a demonstration match.  A late controversy led to some banter; Sheila walked off before the final whistle after being afflicted by an overwhelming desire to chalk.  The Waggon is focusing on punters without noses or with severe nasal malfunction.  An early unappetising smell of burnt grease was replaced later by a strong odour of musty mops and finally the piece de resistance, a slight scent of vomit.  Fortunately the beer tasted good. (KS)                                     

8
Spring Grove Bombardier   22nd August 2009

Back to the Spring and a welcome return to form – this could be put down to three factors: the return of K2 from Italy, locating the oche nearer the board, and the incredible Spring cacophony.  John was on particularly good form and may have clinched the league.  One thing’s for sure; you do not have to be inhibited in your celebrations down the Spring – due to the incredible background racket they can be as loud and long as you want and nobody will notice or bat an eyelid.  A good evening with a suitably late finish. (KS)

9
Waggon Tribute  14th August 2009

The Team Coach had identified the cause of the recent drop in darts form; overtraining and too many competitive matches – the Coach recommended a complete rest from darts, keeping one’s eye in with useful activities like throwing pebbles at cans and feeding the ducks.  So, a revitalised performance was expected in the Waggon.  Suffice it to say that the Team Coach has been sacked.  Good beer, good atmosphere and conversation, excellent throwing conditions – just a pity about the darts! (KS) Singles: K1-10, J-5, D-3

8
Wych Elm Pride, dry cider, diet coke   7th August 2009

Well, your reporter did his best to keep some limited action going in the darts league by drafting in ‘the wife’ for a quick singles match. We trotted down the Wych full of anticipation only to find the board occupied for the whole evening; our match was called a nil-nil draw, and Frances was able to settle for a solid point.  So you would expect the two of us to sit there for 30 minutes of limited conversation before retiring home for an early Horlicks.  Well, you would be badly wrong because we were joined by Malcolm and Holly and later Brian and Glen for an evening of stimulating conversation and jollity lasting out until 11.55. (KS) Singles: K-0, F-0

9
New Prince Seafarer  31st July 2009

A man returns from France especially for a ruby, but the turnout is disappointingly low.  K2 made a determined effort, turning up early at the Prince, unsheathing his arrows, getting a phone call, putting the arrows away, disappearing to the East End for a few hours, and returning to the Ajanta at 11.45.  Sheila and Frances refused to step up to the oche so it was a 3-person singles competition, where Dave proved that there is nothing to be gained (except frustration) from a glut of near misses. (KS)

Pub: 8
Ajanta: 8
Waggon Waggledance, Mixed 24th July 2009 Everyone’s a winner – three champions and John picked up a few useful points for the Green Jersey, his main focus for the evening.  Waggledance was a touch variable, but the main problem was another early bed on a Friday night; however, John and Dave did have valid excuses. (KS) D-8, K1-8, K2-8, J-6 8
Wych Elm ESB, Pride 17th July 2009 Mea culpa – fancy suggesting that the darts standard had improved.  I felt good cycling to the pub, even better establishing the oche, and super confident after some promising warm-up darts; then I spent the whole evening exploring various 3-dart combinations to give a score between 4 and 9.  My own personal Coriolis Effect caused each 20-targeted arrow to veer into the 1; the obvious compensation of aiming at the 5 resulted in…. a 5!  Truly abysmal – fortunately a partial recovery by K2, some solidity from John and some spasmodic excellence from Dave prevented a total wipeout.  At least we showed determination in staying till closing time.  Perhaps we play better when it’s noisy; the Wych public bar witnessed just one solitary other punter (Noel) in three hours. (KS) K2-11, J-10, K1-8, D-7 8
Spring Grove Bombardier, Ordinary 10th July 2009 Whisper it quietly in a darkened room, but I reckon there has been a slight improvement in the quality of darts recently, emphasized when we rose to a challenge by proficient outsiders and were narrowly defeated 3-2 in a Test Match Special.  There are two things of note about the Spring; firstly, it really is incredibly noisy as all punters, us included, shout rather than talk; secondly, it does not appear to be a hotbed of arrers, our scores from four weeks previous (12th June) appearing clear and untouched.  A good slow-drinking evening with a feeble early finish again. (KS) J-10, K1-7, B-6, D-5 8
Waggon Bombardier, Light and Ordinary   3rd July 2009

The Nut is shut but the Waggon rolls on; an excellent session down the Waggon, now one of only four darts venues still standing.  At times a reasonably high standard was witnessed, but concentration is so fickle that a touch of mild rabbit from Sheila had a disproportionately negative effect on all but Brian, who stormed on to win the evening with some rapid finishing.  ‘Partners for dough’ is perfectly illustrated by K1-9 (9 finishes); K2-6 (zero finishes).  The crowd expects a strong return to form from K2 next week; just a few weeks ago he was on top form!  What about the centre court ‘crowd’ for the Murray semi-final?  The four of us make more noise over a game of arrers – what we need is 15,000 West Ham and Millwall supporters at Wimbledon – then a Brit might win! (KS) B-11, K1-9, D-8, K2-8

9
Wych Elm Pride, Chiswick 26th June 2009 Even some tame moonwalking (watch out for the oche!) and some Wimbledon-style grunting could not disguise the fact that this was a very fatigued performance, possibly requiring John to liven things up.  With a large number of rest periods and time-outs the darts were predictably uninspiring.  Maybe it was the hot and humid weather, but we called it a day after 4 pints and I was safely tucked up in bed at 11.45 pm, 15 minutes before the pub stopped serving.  Disgraceful!! (KS) K1-8, D-7, B-7, K2-4 5
Wych Elm Pride 19th June 2009 It could have been a rather sad evening with just the two ‘medical cases’ left at home to contest the darts; far from it, an excellent 3 hour evening of competitive darts was enjoyed, with Malcolm and Holly and later Glen and Brian showing up to ensure that the concentration levels remained suitably low.  Some excellent finishing, including 5 three-darters and some pretty impressive two-darters.  A comment was made that the noise level was considerably lower than usual; so, maybe Dave isn’t responsible for noise after all! (KS) K1-12, D-9 9
Spring Grove Bombardier, Ordinary 12th June 2009

The dart area in the Waggon has become a store room (temporary hopefully) and surely there’s no more Lazarus for the dead-again Kellys, so that just leaves the Spring.  Fortunately we know the table-occupants, so it’s game on.  The normal mix of sublime and ridiculous ensued.  K2 had a fun evening with Mr Plod, but managed a few late unfruitful games. (KS) K1-8, B-7, J-6, D-3, K2-0

8
Spring Grove Bombardier, Ordinary 5th June 2009

After successfully occupying the ‘public bar’, marking out an approximate oche and adjusting the lighting, we finally got a decent session down the Spring – and it was worth the wait.  The normal dross was interspersed with some high scoring and snappy finishing.  Your reporter kicked off the evening with a ‘3’, the first of a hat-trick of ‘3s’, but, as always, it’s the doubles for dough.  The Spring – a top darts venue, when you can get on the board! (KS)  K1-11, JR-7, K2-6, B-6, D-6

9
Kellys Landlord, Bombardier 29th May 2009

Probably the most desirable table in the Spring is located right in front of the dart board, so after early hydration a brief cycle tour was organised to the Kellys via the Waggon (too many punters).  Fortunately the Kellys was fine with reasonable beer.  Following the noise problems in the Wych, this week we were subjected to a young Asian woman doing a passable imitation of the Sid James laugh.  The darts were of a reasonable standard; same again next week. (KS) Doubles: K2-8, K1-6, D-5, JR-3 Singles K1-3,K2-2,D-1

7
Wych Elm ESB, Pride, Chiswick, various soft drinks 22nd May 2009

Given the current state of the Team’s health it’s probably fortunate that, in this traditional cycling week, rather than being up a mountain in the Alps we were firmly ensconced in the Wych Elm.  A big night of darts was the shout and that’s exactly what we got, your reporter having secured the board at 8.30 pm.  Despite some excessive noise trouble in the crowd, the evening of doubles was highly competitive.  K2 deserved his victory, especially as he nailed a hat-trick of 3-darters.  Slightly worrying was the fact that K2 was alcohol-free; perhaps one does not actually play better after a decent gargle – it just feels that way.  The evening, with guests Malcolm, Holly, Brians 2 and 3, and Glen, concluded at midnight – the legs certainly felt the pressure of 3.5 hours vertical. (KS) K2-12, B-10, K1-9, J-9, D-8

9
New Prince Seafarer 15th May 2009

An excellent turnout for the triple birthday although it has to be said that the team was not generally in the best of health.  Another cameo of just 4 games of darts but at least it gave Evan the opportunity to open his account for the new summer league.  The delay in the arrival of the curries got the train-boys worried, but I thought the food quality was very good. (KS) K1-3, J-3, K2-1, E-1, D-0, B-0

Pub 9, Ajanta 8
Spring Grove Bombardier, Ordinary, Guinness    8th May 2009

England 2 (Shepherd, B; Shepherd K) Norway 1 (Amunsden); the Rejects exact revenge for 1981 “Your boys took a hell of a beating”.  A competitive international arrers match to welcome the Spring’s new look.  A trio of Vikings over for a weekend of football (Millwall/Leeds, West Ham/Liverpool, Arsenal/Chelsea!!) were firmly put in their place.  A rather strange evening with a trio of fans attired in Scunthorpe shirts NOT watching the Iron playing on the big screen (that must be a first), K2 late, Dave with a mystery trip to A&E, and John making a cameo appearance with a rucksack.  A few singles games temporarily restored a semblance of normality, but just when K2 was hitting form the Vikings returned and pillaged the board. (KS) K1-2, K2-2, B-0

9
Waggon Bombardier, Ordinary 1st May 2009 As usual the Shepherds brothers showed some early form finishing 9 out of the first 10 games. Then a most unlikely bust of finishing from K2 and I left the Shepherds stunned and defeated. A couple of attempts at 180 and two 3 dart finishes were a true misrepresentation of the quality of darts I'm afraid. K2-9, D-7, K1-5, B-5    8
Wych Elm Pride, Chiswick 24th April 2009 I have passed the Wych many recent Fridays and the dartboard has been free; unfortunately this Friday it wasn’t free but was occupied by a crowd who throw a few cursory arrows between numerous phone call breaks etc.  We would have laid down the challenge but our conversation was enlivened by a welcome return of Malcolm and Holly and a duo of climbers belaying in for a late beer.  Good conversation but missed the arrers! (KS) 7
New Prince Seafarer  17th April 2009

Firstly, it needs to be reported that the Prince had masses of chalk and had replaced the tasty Buster with a similarly-tasty Seafarer; the Prince is a top venue for darts.  ‘The wife’ assembled her darts professionally with great efficiency but then failed to step up to the oche all evening.  Dave had a top evening, registering a 160 and following up with a 180 attempt and taking the title over some rather wayward competition.  The ruby was good, but worryingly we were again untroubled by other punters. (KS) D-9, B-7, K1-5, K2-5

9/7
Waggon Tribute, Ordinary  10th April 2009

Who’s ever heard of a pub without any chalk, not even a little piece hidden in a nook or cranny?  We hardly need excuses to play worse.  Considering the normal arithmetic problems, the evening went reasonably well, with few disputes, although Brian and John’s form was sadly adversely affected by the absence of chalk.  Beer and atmosphere were fine but the pub cleaners had been too efficient. (KS) D-8, K1-8, K2-5, J-4, B-3

7
New Prince Butser 4th April 2009

The increasingly-popular Dave brought a good crowd to his birthday bash; unfortunately Evan, Tony and John Armitt coming on a later train proved an unfounded rumour.  The darts start was somewhat delayed as one punter was struggling to spot the difference between a pub and an office.  John and Brian were hitting top form and it is quite fortuitous that we were forced to adjourn to the Ajanta.  The curry was again up to standard although, yet again, there were very few other punters. (KS) J-6, B-5, K1-1, K2-1, D-1

9/7
(Kellys) / Spring Grove Landlord, Bombardier, Deuchars      27th March 2009

Evicted from the Kellys by the Landlord, we took refuge in the Spring.  Some rather excellent darts ensued; John had a really good attempt at a 170 finish and then followed up with a 3-darter 114 (20,T18,D20); K2 collected a bull finish and, to prove it was not a fluke, nailed another bull in a ‘nearest the bull’.  Brian was consistently good and won the evening.  The Spring is due to shut for an 11-day renovation; that’s 9 days to repair the seriously malodorous men’s bog and the remaining 2 days to rip out the dart board and replace it with comfy seats and table lamps – let’s hope not! (KS) B-10, J-6, K1-5, K2-5

Kellys 2 Spring 9
Wych Elm Pride, Chiswick 20th March 2009

The high quality lighting, new flooring and general space was not to Brian’s liking; he thought the oche was too far from the board and his form dropped considerably from the previous week at the Kellys.  K2 approved of the hour’s chat to warm up and, after a few early near misses, stormed ahead with rapid finishing to take the evening.  Your reporter kicked off the evening with a 3-dart 67 finish; unfortunately that was by far the evening’s highlight. (KS) K2-10, K1-5, B-3

9
Kellys Bombardier, Young’s Ordinary  13th March 2009

Your reporter had a few sneaky practice games in the Wych during the week, with the consequence of starting the evening on a confidence-boosting 9-game losing streak; due to some rapid-fire finishing from Brian this soon became 16 defeats on the trot.  A few consolation wins were then gained as the Bombardier-effect kicked in, but any hope of a recovery was squashed by a classic 3-dart 117 finish (T19,20,D20).  Cue the pool and a hard-fought 2-2 draw.  The Kellys continues to amaze with another recovery; good beer and a reasonable number of raucous but friendly punters – a return visit is proposed for next week.  (KS) B-12, K1-3

9
Waggon Tribute, Bombardier, Ordinary      6th March 2009

Good beer choice and, for a while, a completely empty public bar – you cannot forecast the Waggon.  For some reason the arrows were very slow, but it had an exciting finish with three champions and one sad loser.  We even had the first recorded incident of ‘a refusal to chalk’! (KS) K2-8, B-8, J-8, K1-6

8
New Prince Butser 27th February 2009

A decent noisy crowd down the ‘Prince’ and a really top low-strength tasty drinking ale in ‘Buster’.  John had some early problems with focus, worrying about his gloves, pouring his beer off the table and playing with the wrong set of darts.  Despite the circulation problems, the Prince provides an excellent venue for arrows and there could have been some top throwing if anyone could concentrate for more than a few minutes.  Brian returned from France, looking suspiciously like a man who had been practising, and took the top spot; he does, however, deny the presence of a board in France!  The Ajanta seemed to be back on form, although it wasn’t proving popular with punters; we were the only ones there! (KS) B-5, D-4, K1-2, J-2, K2-1

Pub 8

Ajanta (7)

Wych Elm Pride. ESB   20th February 2009

A week is a long time in the world of arrows; from the despair of a ‘nul points’ evening to a convincing triumph.  Dave gained confidence from a few early wins, eventually nailed his first finish in a while with a convincing three-darter, and then never looked back; the evening was regularly punctuated with the sound of exuberant over-celebration.  We do now have a slight problem; whenever there is a threat of a big finish (eg a bull), in anticipation of the overloud acclaim, players are covering their ears, and by this act preventing the big finish by disturbing the thrower’s concentration – perhaps we should agree on a decibel restriction?  There was much groaning and generally aches and pains evident on the oche; however, a top evening was enlivened by the arrival of a bivouac of mountaineers. (KS) D-12, J-7, K1-6, K2-5

9
Spring Grove Bombardier, Mixed  13th February 2009

Barracking and heckling are great as long as they are reasonably humorous and original; unfortunately we had to endure some early heckling that wasn’t, and this appeared to affect  the players’ form, not least Dave, playing in his ‘home pub’.  Particularly annoying was the contribution of the self-appointed ‘Queen of the Spring Grove’ with banal bunny so boring that it could be included on a self-help CD for insomniacs.  What followed was very strange; without any really obvious swings in form, John won his first six games, your reporter chipped in with six-in-a-row starting from game four and K2 won his final six games.  Without playing particularly badly, Dave endured one of those evenings when it is best to pretend that you weren’t there.  I would be desperate for next Friday to come round and demonstrate with focus and determination that it was just a minor blip. (KS) JR-9, K2-9, K1-6, D-?

8
Waggon Tribute            , Ordinary, Red Wine   6th February 2009

No music, no crowd.  After the sort of conversation that reminded us why we play darts; body odour, halitosis and cat sickness (Jake’s Progress); we actually played some darts.  Sheila was exhibiting excellent form, and good celebration, finishing the first game in style.  For a while she was looking a potential champion until K2 struck form with five straight finishes.  Brian’s lack of finish may have been due to his impending exile to rural France. Tribute is a good tasting beer but definitely not a session beer; just four pints each were consumed in just under three hours – maybe it was a hangover from the disappointing 4th place finish in Thursday night’s pub quiz. (KS) Doubles: K2-5, K1-4, B-3, S-2, Singles: K1-3, K2-2

8
Spring Grove Bombardier, Ordinary   30th January 2009

For some reason, a surprisingly large number of punters out and about and a capacity crowd in the Wagon forced a rapid transfer to the Spring.  Some exceptionally slow darts ensued, punctuated by regular bouts of rabbit; amazingly a mere 13 games were completed in just under 3 hours.  Dave proved yet again that the Spring is his home venue with an impressive display of finishing.  A darts modification to Monsieur Hulot’s tennis serving technique certainly didn’t help the concentration; however, I have finally seen the light in the style of professional Dennis Priestly and cannot wait to demonstrate this next week! (KS) D-8, K2-8, B-6, K1-4

9
Wych Elm / Canbury Arms Chiswick, Pride, Landlord, Sussex?, Red & White Wine   23rd January 2009

There have been one or two changes since some of us first ventured into the Canbury Arms 35 years ago (that’s horrible) and a decade ago when the world’s largest dog, Baldrick, slumped on a pile of blankets in the ‘saloon bar’.  Contrary to all expectations the Canbury survives and thrives as a decent pub/restaurant.  An excellent choice for the MPGS dinner and dance, although dancing was definitely off the menu.  A very good turnout – funny how the attendance improves when solids are on offer! (KS)

9
Wych Elm ESB, Pride, Cheswick 16th January 2009 A top session!  Over 3 hours, 6 pints, noise, barracking, inconsiderate chalking, poor darts, some good darts (what’s happened to John?), guest appearances (including the wife!) and an evening highlight – Dave’s first finish of 2009 greeted with a loud celebration, requiring an explanation to other punters in the pub.  More please. (KS) Players and Supporters. J-15, K1-8, B-7, D-6, K2-4 9
Spring Grove Bombardier, Ordinary 9th January 2009

What is it about professional darts? – every time it’s televised our standard seems to decline.  A good crowd in the Spring, mainly crushed into the public bar; this made circulation rather difficult and could be used as a tame excuse.  In the immortal words of Bobby George ‘You cannot throw darts with your mouth’.  Dave yet to finish in 2009 despite the new style, but at least he resisted the temptation to throw his darts (like the pros) into a lake.  The rather boring alternative is just to leave your arrers in the pub.  A top venue with excellent Bombardier. (KS) K1-6, J-6, B-5, K2-3, D-2

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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. (KS) K1-10, K2-6, JR-6, D-6

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