Kingston & Surbiton Pub Review 2016

Pub

Recommended
Beer

Visit Date Comments  Score
Berry Golden Hen, Dark Star  30th Dec 2016

And finally on the last Friday of 2016 we get some decent quality darts – some 180s, a bull finish and quite a few 3-dart finishes – unfortunately, this was on the tele as the real dartboard was fully occupied all evening by the locals; deprived of the pool tables, they have switched their allegiance to darts.  The Berry is a good pub with some excellent beers; however, the chances of a game of darts are really quite low – bring back the pool tables! (KS) Darts Singles;  ‘Barney’- 5, ‘The Power’ - 3

6
Wych Elm Pride + many others  23rd December 2016

We’ve had the ‘Golf Dinner and Dance’, numerous ‘Birthday Curries’, the ‘Swimming Curry’, the ‘Climbers’ Curry’, the ‘Golf Breakfast’ and now, out of the blue, the inaugural ‘Friday Night Darts Celebration Dinner’ – 11 specially invited guests eat a meal under a dartboard – a very successful event.  The post-meal darts match was incredible – Malcolm, looking for double-12 was invited to hit the small chalk dot in the middle of the double...which, of course, he did first dart.  In the following game, requiring D17, Dave thoughtfully added a small chalk dot – Malcolm, of course, hit the dot first dart.  So, are small chalk dots the answer to our finishing troubles?...and, are they legal?! (KS) Doubles; Malcolm-5, K1-4, D-3, K2-2

10
Willy Weltons  Sussex Pride   16th December 2016

Another year gone by and it’s the climbers’ curry – an enjoyable evening down the Willy with plenty of chat and some arrers in between.  Weltons (Horsham) do some excellent beers – tasty but no headache. (KS) Singles: K1-8, D-4

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Wych Elm Pride, Seafarers  9th December 2016

Bizarre happenings at the Wych – we see off the challenge from a couple of guys enjoying a bottle of wine – it later transpires that they had brought their own bottle of wine, asked for a couple of glasses and the pub darts and enjoyed the facilities for free.  Cheek – pity Pete didn’t find out earlier.  Darts immensely popular this evening with queues forming to get on the oche.  A traditional evening at the Wych concluded with twenty blokes in the pub and not a single woman - plus ca change...(KS) Singles; B-4, K1-4, K2-4

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Waggon Tribute, Ordinary, Waggon Beer?  2nd December 2016

A rapid return to the Waggon with Dave hoping to build on the form that produced the 180 last week – oh dear!  As usual, the Waggon delivers good beer and atmosphere and the opportunity for good arrers – the highlight was the K2 3-darter bull finish with a loud celebration encouraging a punter to check it out and take a photo! (KS) Doubles: K2-7, B-7, K1-6, D-2

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Waggon Tribute 25th November 2016

A really top singles match with the darts sticking in.  A small variation in scoring quality – we had a 1, a 2, two fishes in one game, a 120 Shanghai (K2), a 140 (K1) and a 180 (Dave) mixed with in with some slow and rapid finishing – all of this was washed down with excellent pints of Tribute.  It’s always a good evening when you see a 180 and the Waggon has always been the top venue for the maximum. (KS) Doubles: K1-9, D-7, K2-3

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Willy Rudgate Ruby Mild, Green Jack Trawlerboys, Oakham Citra, Tiny Rebel Cwtch, Itchen Valley Godfathers, Old Dairy Snow Top  18th November 2016

A rapid return to the Willy for a ‘The Beerfest of Champions’; the darts played second fiddle to some serious chat and some excellent beers.  Mixing one’s beers is always a risk; I was a touch wobbly at the end of the evening, maybe as a result of quaffing the Old Dairy Snow Top at 6%!? (KS) Singles: K1-6, K2-2

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Willy Weltons, Grandstand, Bombardier  11th November 2016

Good to see a decent crowd down the Willy firstly to see England beat Scotland 3-0 and later on for the music event upstairs and general drinking.  Anyway, we got seriously into the chat and drinking; nobody could be bothered when the darts area cleared – no surprise we are getting worse! (KS) Doubles: K1-0, K2-0, B-0, D-0

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Berry Grandstand, Trumans Swift   4th November 2016

Over the decades your reporter has watched many Fulham matches (away matches of course) in the pub; the result is generally an ignominious defeat or maybe a scraped draw – so it is with great pleasure that I record a famous win.  The match was accompanied by excellent beer and followed by some better quality and quite exciting darts.  It may be biased but for me that counts as a 10! (KS) Football; Brentford 0 Fulham 2, Darts Singles; K1-8, B-6, D-6

10
Waggon Ordinary, Tribute  28th October 2016

Humiliation, desperation, shame!  Difficult to find an adjective strong enough to describe the quality of the darts.  A much anticipated doubles match was ruined by some desperately poor darts, both scoring and finishing – we used to be reasonable at this game!  There are two aspects to a decent dart throw; firstly, the dart must stick in the board and secondly the dart must stick in the right place – we were struggling with the first aspect.  The team coach is more upset than Mourinho and has some sound advice for the team: “sharp darts and a sharp mind”.  Never mind – the beer was good and we had a sociable chat. (KS) Doubles: K1-8, B-6, K2-6, D-6

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Willy Weltons English Pride, Twickenham Redhead  21th October 2016

A low turnout again, but a couple of decent beers and a competitive singles match; the score rather unfair on K2 who had a couple of good attempts at 180 (140 and 135) and opportunities to finish most of the games.  Time seems to accelerate in the Willy – one moment you think you’ll be tucked up in bed by 11 and the next moment it’s midnight and you’re still struggling for that elusive double-1. (KS) Singles: K1-12, K2-5

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Black Horse Park Brewery Gallows Gold  14th October 2016

Like going back 30 years – a pub ram packed on Friday night with plenty of noise and some queuing to get a beer – why is this happening here?  An excellent evening at the Horse with Dave retaining his unbeaten darts record because we couldn’t be bothered to play – in fact three punters amused themselves for ages by throwing the one pub dart from increasingly longer distances.  A bizarre incident occurred with K2 bothered for a while by a female Donald Trump.  Dave and I were just happy it wasn’t us! (KS) Singles: D-0, K2-0, K1-0

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Wych/Willy Pride, ?? 7th October 2016 K2 & D hyperspaced the Wych as private function occupied the public bar. The Willy was as quiet as ever but after a little conversation, darts commenced with D going down 2 sets to nil;. K2-6, D-3 7
30th Sept 2016 A week off 
Berry Hophead, Trumans Swift   23rd Sept 2016

Conditions for dart-playing have improved considerably in the Berry with the unfortunate consequence that other punters now play regularly – by the time the board was clear any enthusiasm for a match had long-since waned.  Never mind – the Berry saloon is lively and welcoming and they had two good beers for us test out. (KS) Singles; B-0,K1-0,K2-0 

7
Wych Elm Pride, Chiswick  16th Sept 2016

Blimey – darts doubles!  The first traditional doubles match for 3 months and it got off to such a slow start that it was reduced to 301; even then we only just finished!  An excellent evening of chat with some incidental darts – Brian got two 3-darters but the highlight was Dave’s 2-dart 82 (T20, D11) to finish the evening and put an end to a minor dispute on scoring that could have involved the stewards.  Currently the Wych seems good for darts (and beer) on a Friday night. (KS) Doubles; B-8, K1-7, D-6, K2-3

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Waggon Doom Bar, Tribute 9th Sept 2016

A relaxed very warm evening with more chat than darts – low on concentration and low on quality.  Perhaps we need to offer a prize for the evening to encourage a touch more effort!? (KS) Singles: K1-5, B-3, K2-1

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Wych Elm ESB, red wine 2 Sept 2016

In a desperate effort to improve the quality of darts an evening swim was organised to relax the throwing muscles and that was followed by some refreshing ESB to relax the brain.  No beneficial effect whatsoever and the score does not reflect the match; your reporter was a few micrometres away from an ignominious defeat!  In the absence of the rest of the team, out training in foreign climes, a quiet evening out with the wife was much enjoyed. (KS) Singles; K1-4, F-1

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Wych Elm Pride 26th August 2016

An excellent morning hot-weather cycle to Box Hill by the 3-hills route and most of the peloton reassembled in the evening for beer, darts and chat.  Concentration levels low and not helped by a swearing ban due to the presence of children in the public bar – somehow darts and swearing are inextricably linked. (KS) Tennis Singles; K1 beat Dave by 3 sets to 0; 3-1,3-1,3-2 

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Waggon Directors Vinegar, Mixed, Ordinary, Guinness   19th August 2016

The Waggon reopens, thankfully largely unchanged.  However, is the Waggon the new Vinegar Palace?  A pint of vinegary Bombardier on Wednesday followed by a seriously vinegary Directors on Friday – of some concern was the fact that they kept the Directors ‘on’ even after we had rejected a pint and they were trying to flog it off for £3 per pint later in the evening.  Apart from the beer problem all was good and the music was much improved.  Plenty of chat and a low-concentration darts match. (KS) Singles: K1-5, D-4, K2-3

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Wych Elm Pride 12th August 2016

A late start and late finish again for an Olympic (real and  rejects) sporty evening; watching the cycling (Wiggo’s 5th gold) and attempting to play darts at the same time not conducive to concentration.  The evening concluded with some excellent Olympic ping pong. (KS) Singles; K1-5, K2-0

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Wych Elm Pride 5th August 2016

A late start at 10.20 due to Friday night football but Dave and I managed to arrive at the same time to the nearest second.  Darts was a possibility but after an excellent ride to Box Hill in the morning and an evening ride to Fulham, focussing on the beer seemed a better option.  Some exciting football, some swift drinking and a 12.15 finish left your reported feeling a touch wobbly. (KS) Singles; D-0, K1-0;   Football; Fulham 1 Newcastle 0

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Waggon Youngs Ordinary, Mixed, Guinness 29th July 2016

Questions: Will the Waggon reopen?  As a proper pub?  With a dartboard?  Without the awful music?  Worrying times as a favourite previously-popular pub shuts down for another refit.  The darts finished early as Sheila put in a guest appearance to celebrate retirement.  Has Dave missed the final opportunity to finish in the Waggon, a venue that has brought him some success in the past? (KS) Singles: K1-2, B-2, D-0

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Wych Elm Seafarers, Pride 22nd July 2016

With the hot weather sending the punters running to the garden we had the public bar to ourselves to play a few quiet games with much intervening chat.  After solving the wobbly board problem there were no excuses left for bad play except the normal lack of concentration.  The coldish beer was much appreciated. (KS) Singles; B-5, K2-4, K1-2

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Black Horse Harveys 15th July 2016

After a 30 year gap we returned to the ‘Horse’ after just 2 weeks.  All was set fair when the games area suddenly turned into a kindergarten.  No matter, it allowed time for a civilised chat in the new front ‘garden’ and a few late matches hindered by a game of Jenga taking place on the oche.  At present Dave is undefeated in the Horse – can it last? (KS) Singles: D-3, K2-1, K1-1 

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Waggon Sundancer 8th July 2016

There are only three persons in bar and they are at the table under the dartboard; no matter, they were quite happy to move.  A highly competitive match ensued, despite some annoying background music.  Sundancer is a weakish but tasty beer that doesn’t produce a hangover. (KS) Singles: K1-8, D-6

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Black Horse Harveys   1st July 2016

A ‘new’ pub – I am pretty confident that I last visited the Black Horse (Kingston Gate) on 9th October 1987 when it was rated a lowly 4 with a comment ‘big and nasty with undrinkable beer’ – for those with a poor memory the nearby White Horse was even worse but was thankfully demolished decades ago.  Anyway the Black Horse has undergone a major refurbishment and is now ‘big and nice with very drinkable beer’.  Add in a great football match (Wales 3 Belgium 1) and Malcolm’s successful darts debut and this must be rated a 10; many more future visits are eagerly anticipated. (KS) Doubles: D-4, Malcolm- 3, K2-2, K1-1

10
Waggon Grandstand, Youngs  24th June 2016

Nothing much happening in the world – we’ve brexited, Cameron’s going, Corbyn’s deluded and we should have anticipated what Iceland would do to England the following Monday and made some money.  Plenty to discuss with definitely an adverse effect on the arrers.  Anyway, it was a good evening and it wasn’t raining. (KS) Doubles: K1-6, D-5, B-5, K2-2

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Camping le Soleil Fruite,  Chateaneuf sur L’Isere Leffe, beer, wine, food 17th June 2016

You get a poor turnout for Friday nights locally, but organise a venue somewhere in the middle of France and you get a full house minus Evan!  Excellent evening fuelling up and hydrating for the Ardechoise. (KS) No Darts but big screen football)

10
Willy Doom Bar, Grandstand  10th June 2016

The start of Euro 2016 with a boring match between France and Romania – the highlight was Malcolm in his newly-acquired Romani shirt – a good evening, but darts out of action for the next month as the flags are covering the board. (KS)

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Waggon Sambrooks (River) Wandle, Ordinary, Mixed 3rd June 2016

Sorting out the French trip, rejecting a pint of River Wandle, challenging two brothers to a doubles match (lost 3-1 due to ‘doubles for dough’ although we matched their scoring, except a poorly celebrated out-of-the-blue 180) and then time for a singles competition.  Alex Ferguson reckons a top sportsman needs the ‘3 Cs’; concentration (we’re not too good at that), confidence (not much of that until the beer kicks in) and consistency (we have that in spades – we are consistently poor).  Anyway, Dave finally gave himself a touch of the hairdryer treatment and nailed a finish.  A productive evening. (KS) Singles: K1-10, D-2)

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Montys  / Wych Elm Cobra, Pride 27th May 2016

Just ‘cos all the chaps are away it doesn’t mean that darts are cancelled – one just has to bribe the wife with a trip to Montys before the arrers.  Unfortunately the cunning plan was stumped as a crowd of twenty plus were blocking the board; a transfer to the Willy seemed to be pushing things to far! (KS) Singles; K1-0, F-0

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Berry Doom Bar, Youngs Ordinary  20th May 2016

Finally we get a game at the Berry where darting conditions are much improved – new board, good lighting and a permanent new oche – however, this did not much improve the quality of the darts and Dave, in particular struggled badly in his home pub.  Unfortunately the beer seemed rather bland – the Doom Bar was rather poor and the Youngs seemed extra Ordinary.  Good to get the Berry back on the darts rota. (KS) Doubles; B-7,K1-6,K2-6,D-1 

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Willy Doom Bar, Sundancer  13th May 2016

Firstly kudos to K2 for a 6.5 hour session, starting at the Kingston beer festival at 5.30 and still gamely throwing arrows (with slight blurred vision) at midnight.

Three good things about the Willy:

1. Excellent choice of ales

2. Pretty much guaranteed a game of arrers with two boards available

3. You can make as much noise as you like – celebrate that single finish (it’s good to see it!) with shouting, banging on the table, Henman fist-pumps or taking your shirt off and whirling it around your head – nobody notices or bothers.

A particularly noisy night contributed to some good darts with a 3-dart ton (D20,20,D20) and the classic 3-dart 6 (3,1,D1) and some good comebacks from 2-0 down. An excellent evening. (KS) Doubles; K1-9, B-7, K2-6, D-6

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Waggon Light/Sundancer, Sambrooks Junction  6th May 2016

The normal low concentration doubles in the Waggon with the game only livening up towards the end when the beer takes effect and the chat dries up.  Warm dry evening, excellent beer and very few punters. (KS) Doubles: B-8, K1-8, D-6, K2-4

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Willy Doom Bar, Shere Drop 29th April 2016

A festival of darts in the Willy with boards A and B in action; on Board B was a man who was playing darts under medical orders – apparently a great way of  curing a wrist injury – finally a doctor talking some sense.  We had the normal game on board A; a mixture of the sublime and the ridiculous.  With the assistance of the correct amount of beer, K2 recovered from a very poor spell to take the evening.  And the Willy smelled slightly less unpleasant. (KS) Singles; K2-7, K1-5, D-5

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Berry/Waggon Doom Bar, Youngs, Sambrooks  22nd April 2016

Three keen sportsmen in search of a game of darts.  You cannot play in the Berry ‘cos a crowd are playing a game where a dart is thrown roughly every ten minutes.  A transfer to the Waggon seems promising, but a couple are enjoying their dinner at a table that just about blocks the board.  Never mind – we focussed on the talk.  Surprise, surprise – it was raining when we were in the Waggon and pretty chilly for the end of April. (KS) Singles; K1-0, D-0, B-0

6
Akbar / Wych Elm Cobra, Kingfisher, London Pride, Seafarers   15th April 2016

A successful curry evening celebrating your reporter’s 63rd.  It was also a good sociable move to reintroduce the ‘talker’, a role in which Dave excelled to the detriment of his darts.  With Fulham taking a 5-0 hammering it seemed only fair that the birthday boy should take the darts prize, again demonstrating that it’s scores for show..... (KS) Singles; K1-7, K2-5, B-2, D-talk

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Willy Doom Bar, Grandstand   8th April 2016

The Willy is getting more bizarre each visit, not least because it smells like a dirty nappy.  Tonight we had a poker competition and goddamn golf booming out from the giant screens.  However, we did manage some arrows with the Keiths just seeing off Brian 8-7.  The beer is good and you’re guaranteed a game but..........! (KS) Singles; B-7, K2-4, K1-4

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Waggon Sundancer  1st April 2016

An old-time hammering; early doors the score was K-2,D-1,B-0, but 2 hours later B had won 15 games and K and D had not troubled the scorer – and Brian was handicapping himself with blunt darts and/or weak throwing leading to a glut of t20s on the floor.  Fortunately we were challenged at one stage by two punters who did at least win a few games and break Brian’s run.  Is this the return of form or is it just a blip?  Actually Dave and I didn’t play too badly, we just couldn’t nail the doubles.  Good to witness a few more drinkers in the Waggon after last week’s dearth. (KS) Singles: B-15, K1-3, D-1

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Waggon Sundancer 25th March 2016

It could have been anticipated in the Kellys, the Lamb Kingston and many smaller pubs in the backstreets but surely pubs like the Waggon could not run out of punters – it used to be packed for every session when I first moved to Kingston.  A really worrying lack of clientele on Good Friday, but, on the bright side, no problem in getting on the dartboard and buying a round.  A good long sociable session with some reasonable arrows and a decent beer to keep the whistle wet. (KS) Singles: K1-11, D-9, K2-7

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Akbar / Wych Elm Cobra, Kingfisher, London Pride, Seafarers  18th March 2016

Another successful curry evening designed for the older participant – i.e. an early curry followed by beer; this one was in celebration of Dave’s 60th.  We have to thank Bossog for an excellent evening in the Wych Elm – amazingly the Boss was playing at the original choice of darts venue.  Just for a change John did not turn up and show us how to play darts and an exciting doubles competition was taken by K2.  An all-round enjoyable evening with a suitably late finish. (KS) Doubles; K2-7, K1-6, JR-6, D-5, B-4

10
Berry  Doom Bar, Youngs 11th March 2016

A rapid return to the Berry to assist in Dave’s recuperation from appendix removal.  A good chat, some FA Cup football and a pretty good game of singles – and then an early bed – a satisfactory evening’s entertainment. (KS) Singles; K1-8, K2-4, B-4

8
Waggon Grandstand, Wandle 4th March 2016

A bizarre start to the evening; Dave and I, standing outside the Berry awaiting punters that never arrived, were mistaken for astronomers Brian Cox and Patrick Moore by young lady partygoers – having identified the three heavenly bodies just visible through the light pollution, we were then able to hyperspace to the Waggon for a very poor game of darts (Patrick Moore was particularly bad) with low concentration levels until late in the evening.  It is strongly recommended that everybody downloads ‘Stellarium’ to their computers in case they are asked astronomical questions on a regular basis whilst lurking outside pubs on a Friday night. (KS) Doubles: D-7, K2-7, B-7, K1-5

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Willy Doom Bar, (Wimbledon) Common, Grandstand 26th February2016

The minute the ref blows the final whistle the rugger buggers are off, leaving the darts venue deserted.  Maybe it was because we had drunk a couple of beers before the start but the quality of the darts was much improved with generally rapid finishing.  When Brian equalised it seemed the opportune moment to call it a day and head off for an early bed. (KS) Singles; K1-4, K2-4, B-4

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Waggon Grandstand, Wandle Junction 19th February 2016

Brian with new equipment still not firing on all cylinders – fortunately Sheila turned up when I was winning and that signalled the end of the match.  A really worrying lack of punters in the Waggon – it could have shut before 11pm without worrying too many people – where is everyone?! (KS) Singles: K1-6, B-4

7
Wych Elm London Pride 12th February 2016

Great to get back to a very crowded Wych Elm.  After a good chat with Holly and Malcolm the dart arena cleared and there was ample time for a good quality singles match with plenty of treble 20s and some snappy finishing – the secret is to be well-hydrated when the match starts.  Dave’s recent good form deserted him (just like Newcastle) prior to his mid-winter break for warm weather training. (KS) Singles; K1-5, K2-3, D-2

9
Berry Doom Bar  5th February 2016

Dave carrying on his recent good form (two 3-darters) and Brian still having trouble with his spinning wobbling stems.  Conditions for arrers are gradually improving in the Berry; the mat is now fixed, the lighting is excellent and the board is relatively new – so no excuses.  Decent Doom Bar to keep the players hydrated. (KS) Singles; K1-8, D-8, B-4

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Willy Edinburgh Castle, Flying Scotsman, Shere Drop 29th January 2016

Two surprising occurrences this Friday: ManU scored a goal (3 actually) and Brian’s poor dart form continued from last week – the two Ks have endured some horrible drubbings in the past.  A couple of cracking beers from Edinburgh’s Caledonian brewery kept us fully hydrated.  Solid evening in the Willy. (KS) Singles; K1-7, K2-4, B-2

8
Waggon Grandstand, Wandle, Youngs  22th January 2016

A surprising dip in form from Brian and Dave took advantage with some entertaining darts; an unprecedented two bull finishes in one evening, the first a 102 finish (T12,16,Bull) and the second one the final dart of the evening to clinch the deciding game – excitement down the Waggon!? (KS) Singles: D-7, K1-6, B-4

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Berry Doom Bar, Youngs, Hophead  15th January 2016

Pretty poor fare on the oche with quite a few species of fish.  K2 was unwell but still managed a creditable 6 wins whereas K1 was perfectly healthy but achieved zero finishes the whole evening.  For some reason we are getting worse!  Concentration? (KS) Doubles; B-9, K2-6, K1-5, D-4

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Willy Grandstand, Shere Drop 8th January 2016

A fine game of FA Cup football (Grecians 2 Scousers 2) to start the evening followed by darts with only K2 managing any consistent finishing – when left on 40, why go for double top when you can finish D5, D10, D5 for a 3-darter?  Fortunately a large raucous crowd of young people has been recruited to the pub and consequently our over-zealous celebrations of single finishes or Dave’s doubles are not so obvious.  Good to see a revival of the atmosphere in the Willy. (KS) Doubles; K2-8, K1-7, B-7, D-4

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Waggon Grandstand, Wandle? Cannot remember but it was fine  1st January 2016

Happy New Year to all old and new (surely not!) readers and another year of ‘Friday night drinking’ – comprising beer, arrows and general chit-chat re beer, arrows, bikes, football, music, films and pretty much anything else.  Again a traditional New Year start in the Waggon where the chat was far better than the darts – 14 games in 2 hours!!  Fish, minnows, royal fish and a good attempt at getting zero – we are awaiting the Shanghai fish (probably dog). (KS) Doubles: B-10, D-7, K1-4, S-4, K2-3

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