Wimbledon V Bristol Rovers 8.4.17
Travel to the game:
I had noted the night before that the Supporters club coaches would be leaving for the game at 10.15 from the ground. Rose, therefore, was not quite her happy-go-lucky self when the alarm sounded at 6 and we headed off to Bristol Temple Meads in the early morning mists of a Severn Valley not so much Fun Day.
The train we were catching was the 8.06. We would be in Paddington before the coaches assembled in the car park in Horfield. We would be in the pub before the mandatory coach stop at Membury Services. Moan? Maybe I did a bit.
It also had a near end of season full view of the Lord Powell spreadsheet. Coming soon is the end of season, vote for away pub of the year, award voting form.
The famous Lord Powell train planning sheet
The assembled team for this jaunt was myself, Ronnie, Bob, Mumbles, Peter, The not so good Lord and Geoff. Incredibly we appeared to be the only Gashead on our train, and then Desperado walked by and all was again right with the world. As the first four on the list above were together we had another treat. The first few beers were still under the kitty rules of the last away game. Topped up with another £20 for the day this always makes for an illusion that we might be going for a cheap day out. If only Ronnie could remember that he still held the kitty for last summer’s trip to Southampton. There is a whole £35 in a Greene King wallet waiting for our help in clearing it. That however, is for another day. Not that we will stop reminding him.
At 10.15 in the morning the obvious problem is finding a good pub that is open. At first we ventured to the Mad Bishop and Bear, where there was the prospect of watching the others eat a breakfast. That idea ended as every table appeared to be taken and long queues for the bacon and sausage fest was not in order. We moved on to Waterloo with three advertised options. The first fibbed about its opening times. The second was open so we were up and supping.
The Beer House (8)
In the station concourse. At Unit 4 actually. Not that any units have a number to find. We guessed that 4, being a low number, must be at one end or the other of the concourse. Yes of course it at was the other end. Bob was in charge of the kitty and the first four pints cost over £20. Crafty? No such thing. Four pints of Fullers London Pride (7) and the kitty had been rubbed up the wrong way. It was a good pint, but over £5 for the privilege? It wasn’t as if we were paying for a view from this windowless dungeon of a pub. One might have expected the tables to have been cleared of the previous visitors’ glasses. They evidently left in a hurry and had plenty of spare cash as they left their eight pints of lager unfinished. It must have been Bath Rugger boys heading off to Twickenham. It is the old Rugby club trick of doing everything in a hurry, thus creating the impression of drinking loads but on fact at least half gets left on the table of the last pub.
Around the corner to:-
Hole in the Wall
I am sure this pub used to have two entrances. I took the longer route via the lost back way in and so the chaps had started the round without me. Poor form I know but that was the way they were working. The impressive bar list included one of those never to be ignored beers. When it is on I will always go for it and it certainly didn’t disappoint again. Hogsback TEA (8) was the first. The Jurassic DBA (6) followed. The time was fast approaching 12 and we were three pints in and I was happy to get the train out to Norbiton. The bar had a rare meet up of fellow Gas in Luke the Restless and Terry Nutkins. They must have been on old man’s day out as they left asking if we were also going to the Willoughby. They will be getting girlfriends, jobs at Rolls Royce and settling down to domesticity soon. Maybe not.
Geoff in the Hole in the wall, wistful?
It is a nine minute walk from Norbiton Station to the:-
On the way I told the team about the great back garden, the turtles and crocodiles. Rick the Landlord, Archers Meet the Brewer nights and the Beer in the Wood society. I needn’t have bothered. We were meeting up with Ian and Hazel and I envisaged a leisurely session in a warm sunny garden. I could adapt. Hearing of our early plans they had understandably got early trains to be at the pub for 12, Ian and Hazel were in place, their usual place. Scargill, Graham and Sean had joined them and we soon made an extended table of 11 near the door. You have to love this pub. Rick has things organised. Sean and the locals have things organised. Graham and a few blokes at the bar sorted taxis and I could relax and enjoy a few pints. At 1.30 an old boy came in with food and we could join in a snack or two from the bar. Rick had a chat, the other Gasheads could sit in the garden. All was very much right with the world.
The full team doing the football fan thing
For the record the beers were:
Welton’s Horsham Pale Ale (5)
Westerham Spirit of Kent (5)
Park Brewery Spring Pale Ale (7)
Wimbledon 0 Bristol Rovers 1 Attendance 4,792 (490 Gas)
Joe Lumley 8 Lee Brown 7 Tom Lockyer 8 Ryan Sweeney 8 Jake Clarke-Salter 8 Daniel Leadbitter 7 Stuart Sinclair 5 Chris Lines 6 Byron Moore 6 Billy Bodin 6 Ellis Harrison 7 Subs 16. Lee Mansell 5 Joe Partington 6 Luke James 5
Entertainment Value: 1
Man of the Match: Tom Lockyer
Sometimes I leave a game thinking that I would hate to have to watch that every week. Usually this is after a dour game when the away team has won one nil, created little but won comfortably without playing a lot of football. This was the Rovers today. The fastest ever Rovers goal after 11.5 seconds is something to remember. That is probably about it for the game. That we had two more goals disallowed is incidental. The linesman in front of us was given a torrid time and he deserved it. It must be all the much harder to run the line here. The only view we fans have is that of his backside and his frantic attempts to catch up with play. He was one of those so out of touch with reality that he constantly looked across the line when the defending side had a throw in, just to check again for offside and thus missing every nudge, foul and foul throw. Not that it was a dirty game. There were rightly few bookings. The game was a challenging one but there appeared plenty of respect between the teams who were forever hauling each other up after knocking each other over. I will say it. The referee was pretty good. It was as bad a Rovers performance, entertainment wise, as we have seen this season. It was much like Coventry away game but in this case we scored and all was o.k. Well almost all. It was a flat day on the terrace. The terrace is so shallow it is a bit of a guessing game as to what is happening at the far end of the pitch. We were in the best position that Peter could find. We had a wall to offer a break in the rows of heads and to rest a Bovril. It also was the space used by old friend Ed Johnson who tapped me in the shoulder and watched the game. It had been such a long time for him to get back to an away game.
The view from the away terrace.
We raced back for the train. We suffered a screaming child all the way to Clapham Junction. By the time we reached Paddington we had no time for a final pint. By 8.46 I was in B.T.M. and the train to Severn Beach had gone. Rose came to rescue me and I was home for Casualty rerun by 10
Pub of the Day: Willoughby Arms
Beer of the Day: Hogsback TEA in the Hole in the Wall
Gillingham Away 14.4.17