Or:- What were you doing when England lost their way in the World Cup?
A 9 o’clock departure on a Saturday was always going to be a bit tight but being at Preston by 11.30 was good. Then came the M6 M61 junction and a ferry arriving at Lancaster. Our diversion via the Forest of Bowland was picturesque. The drive through the inner relief road at Lancaster was not. We arrived (Rose and myself) at 2.30. Too late for pre-match pints. The others contacted us to say they were in the York Hotel. Ah well, another time then.
Morecambe 3 Bristol Rovers 4 Attendance 1712 (386 Gas)
Entertainment Value 5
Man of the Match: Lee Mansell. It has taken a while for him to get up to the speed of the team this season but he was everywhere without losing his central midfield responsibility.
Away Fans: Noisy and funny for most of the time. Some linesman baiting was honestly a bit embarrassing and unnecessary but they had a positive contribution to make to the atmosphere.
The first priority was to drop off our bags at the Sea Lynn hotel. This hotel was worth a recommendation for others to use, good value and well located just off the seafront. The plan was to meet the others, who were staying in the Clifton hotel, somewhere on the seafront. We headed to:-
And, annoyingly, we were beaten to the pub by Ronnie and Bob. Gradually the others arrived. Marcus, as he does, came from watching Kendal V Scarborough, Paul settled to get a description of the game. Andy, Paul and John eventually sorted out their left from right after optimistic personal preening, ready for their full “night out in Morecambe” experience. The Ranch had several good beers including an excellent Thwaites Lancaster Bomber. It had big screens and the attendant northern bar huggers making the outside benches attractive. The pub, as its name suggests, has a Wild West theme of a wooden exterior façade. It is far better than it looks from the outside.
The Royal Hotel
This pub had a long list of beers and was by far the best of the night. We timed our arrival to get a seat in view of the large screen. 3 beers in two hours was a good pace for watching England lose with a measure of comfort to their Australian rugby rivals. The game confirmed all that I dislike about watching the game. Frustrating pauses in play, no need for a commentary and infuriating refereeing were no excuse for not enjoying what was a good Aussie team performance. As Rose said they were just tighter and more together than the England side. At the end there was a collective shrug and a walk to get the next pint. In all honesty no one was surprised, or particularly cared.
The Royal is a good new addition to the CAMRA guide. I left wondering if the Palatine is struggling to keep its reputation. There were 6 beers, including a Bowland Hen Harrier. This is a must drink beer for me so it was so disappointing that it had reached the bottom of a barrel. What followed were two more beers that were seriously past their best, One is o.k. two is unfortunate, but half the beers being less than good quality starts to raise alarms in my head about too many beers and not enough custom. The pub was also by far the most expensive of the day. Our £20 kitty was stretched to southern price levels after beers never more than £2.50 in the others.
We walked around town. Apparently there are no curry houses open after 11. We eventually found the Masala who stayed open after 11 for our takeaway and then extended their hours when the others arrived to take their seats for the full sit down experience. I guess the preened three would have been disappointed with the lack of night club potential but we were quite happy to take in the seafront and curry in the hotel.
Pub of the Day: Royal Hotel
Beer of the Day: Thwaites Lancaster Bomber in the Ranch
Food: This deserved a mention because it has a recommended status from fellow fans. Quite frankly the food was an expensive disappointment. The Leek and Chicken Pie was very good. The Meat pie was poor. No milk with the tea and of course no Curry pie or pasty option.
The full scores are given below:-
Curry Pie 0
Tea / Bovril 1
Cost 0 (£3.60 for a small pie?)
Extras 2 Inside and quick service
Add-ons 1 (solely for the Chicken and Leek Pie)