Sunday, 21 July 2013

Hole In The Wall, Long Eaton, Derbyshire

The Hole In The Wall in Long Eaton is a real gem of a pub. A proper town centre local that's been in the same safe hands for almost 30 years. Continuity of ownership like this is becoming increasingly rare in the pub trade. It's sometimes obvious from the moment you walk into a pub whether the licensees are there for the long-term, or as is increasingly the case now, until the next upward rent review torpedoes their business plan and puts the pub back on the market.

There's little doubt in my mind that the Hole in the Wall is a long-term labour of love for the owners. Popular with the locals, yet equally welcoming to the many visitors who make a beeline to this fine back-street boozer. It's one of the very best pubs in town for beer, crammed with a fine collection of breweriana to keep the beer buffs amused, and which also contributes to a thoroughly cosy and welcoming feel throughout the pub.

It's a pub strong on games play too, with a very tidy covered Long Alley for the local game of skittles which adjoins an equally well maintained enclosed garden at the rear. There can't be many better pubs in the area to watch a hotly contested Summer League match than the garden of the Hole in the Wall.

The trough at the end of the Long Alley shows the original red brick surface of what was once stabling for the pub. The metal frame for locating the pins is set into a particularly durable aggregate, suitable for many years of  hard impact from the Applewood or more usually Sycamore balls. The balls thrown in this version of Long Alley are becoming harder to source now, so much so that perhaps they'll eventually be replaced by some form of composite ball similar to those which are increasingly seen in Western Skittles play.

The Hole in the Wall team are currently about mid-table in the 2013 Long Eaton & District Long Alley Skittles League, but as this piece of framed memorabilia shows, the pub team went unbeaten in 24 games to win the 1998 league (with only one draw apparently). Now a good team might expect to win all their home matches, but to also play so consistently well away is certainly an achievement worthy of a recording.

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