Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Chequers, Swinford, Leicestershire

A welcome respite from the rush-hour queues and frustration of the infamous Catthorpe interchange can be found in the nearby village of Swinford. Here you'll find the cosy and welcoming Chequers, a village local noted for its real ales, and a regular in CAMRA's Good Beer Guide. The pub is also noted for the traditional south Leicestershire game of Table Skittles, with league play on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Other games on offer at the pub include Dominoes and card games including Cribbage.

The dedicated games area of the main bar is to the right as you enter. You'll know it by the sturdy skittles table which is the main feature, and less obviously by the numerous framed pictures on the wall which should be familiar to anyone in possession of the book Pub Games of England by Timothy Finn. These include fascinating vintage images of games such as Daddlums, Ring The Bull, and Shove Ha'penny. The games area has the added attraction of a wood burning stove for the winter gaming months.

The pub is currently represented in the Dunchurch & District Skittles League, which straddles the divide between Warwickshire and Leicestershire in the Lutterworth and Rugby area. There's a ladies team, and both 'A' and 'Z' teams in the mens league. The 'Z' team presumably feel they know their place (currently mid-table in the mens 'B' league), and don't want any lower level upstarts taking it!

The table is a well maintained W T Blacks model, with the regulation yellow plastic pins and cheeses found throughout the south Leicestershire and Warwickshire area of Table Skittles play.

Tucked in an alcove of the games area is a well-worn table which has been augmented with raised edging for games play, specifically Dominoes. On the wall above is the trophy cabinet, which combines a homage to Leicester City FC, and the spoils of success in the local game of Table Skittles.

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