Sunday, 11 August 2013

Bat & Wickets, Northampton

The current licensees of the Bat & Wickets have recently celebrated their first year at the helm of this traditional back-street local. I'd have to say that the last time I passed this way, the pub looked pretty uninviting from the outside, but a lot has changed since then. A fresh paint job, new bespoke frosted glass windows, and attractive new signage, all of which are thoroughly in keeping with the age and traditional character of the pub. The landlord has even sourced a couple of vintage Burtonwood Brewery pub lanterns for the frontage of the pub, conveniently liveried 'BW' to match the pub name.

Work is also progressing at a steady pace inside the pub, sensitively refurbishing and modernising the neglected interior without destroying any of the essential character of the place. The patio beer garden at the rear has also been given a freshen-up, and is now a delightful space for a Summer afternoon drink. Pub games still play an important role at the Bat & Wickets, and I'd highly recommend a visit to the pub if only to give the Skittles Table a work-out. This traditional Northamptonshire game has become very scarce in pubs this close to the town centre.

The games area is very well appointed, with Darts, Pool and a fine W T Blacks Skittles Table tucked into the corner. The locals are active in a number of leagues, including Ladies and Mens skittles, and a Thursday Pool league. The pub also supports local football, and hosts a very active Golfing crowd.

The pub's slightly unusual name apparently derives from its close proximity to the Racecourse Public Park, where Cricket and other team sports have been played since the post-war years. The main sporting interest at the Bat & Wickets now is the game of Golf. Several competitions and trophies are competed for at the pub, which includes the largest collection of Wooden Spoons I've ever seen in one place! One corner of the bar, shown below, is devoted to numerous golfing trophies and a series of wall plaques which record individual honours dating from the late 80's.

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