Friday, 16 August 2013

Evesham Crib League

I recently spent a day exploring the pubs in the Worcestershire town of Evesham. The day was a simple pleasure trip for the most part, but I was also hopeful that if I went a little bit off the beaten track I might be lucky enough to find that most rare of pub games, an Evesham Quoits or Dobbers Board. Sadly, that goal proved fruitless, it really does seem that the once popular game of indoor Quoits has disappeared entirely from the pubs of Evesham, though it's quite likely a few boards might still be in situ gathering dust in the loft. The only pub in the town listed in the current Good Beer Guide had nothing interesting to offer this blog, it is a Wetherspoon after all. I do wonder whether there are any Wetherspoon bars in the country with even so much as a Darts Board to play. Perhaps someone will tell me if there is, I don't make a habit of drinking in this chain of bars to be honest.

What I did find in Evesham, still thriving, particularly in those pubs located a little way out from the town centre, was the card game most strongly associated with pubs and clubs, the game of Cribbage. Crib is not an easy game to master. It's a game where you really have to keep your hand in to play at anything like league level, and that involves a level of time and commitment which many people simply can't give these days. It's therefore one of the traditional pub games which is perhaps most likely to struggle or even disappear in the near future. I've only very rarely seen the game played by younger pub goers, and the recent trend for Poker in pubs and clubs is likely to put even more pressure on the survival of Cribbage as a league game.

You have to venture a short distance out from the town centre, over the river to Port Street to find The Bear, a popular multi-roomed corner pub. The multi-room bit is important, it means there's a space for everyone at The Bear. There's a smart, recently refurbished corner lounge bar, a more basic but tidy front bar (below) where the Ashes cricket held sway, and a larger lounge bar (above) which is where the locals gather to throw Darts or play Cribbage. The image above shows a Saturday afternoon game in progress.

The Angel Vaults, also on Port Street, is the kind of unassuming single room corner local you might easily pass by, but I found it one of the friendliest boozers in the town and well worth popping in for a pint. The trophy shown below is for Cribbage, as indeed are most of the trophies on display in the town. This one is the Bill Harris Secretarys Cup, which is played for in the Evesham Crib League. There's a Pool Table in the front part of the tidy traditional bar.

The Railway Hotel (below) close to the station has recently been given a sensitive refurbishment after several years of neglect. Sunday afternoon is Cribbage time, and as can be seen from the blackboard in the bar, lessons are available for beginners.

This trophy cabinet at the Coach & Horses, Harvington near Evesham, has all manner of cups, shields and engraved glasses on show, but once again they are mostly for Cribbage. This pub is one of the few in the area which still has an active Skittle Alley, and this will feature in a future post on the pub.

Some more examples of the limitless variety to be found in Crib Boards.

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