Two busy weeks of exploration have seen Warwickshire hunting titles as the cricket season reaches its crescendo, not to mention the small matter of the Tamworth Beer Festival...
WORCESTER: The Bears are in the running for the County Championship crown as Nick, I and the two Mr Beardsmores descend upon New Road. Having bowled Worcestershire out for only 60 in their first innings, things are looking good as the second day of the match is spent accumulating runs and getting into a strong position. The St John's area of town offers a couple of nice local pubs (the Bell and the Berkeley Arms) although the biggest treat of the day is reserved for tea and cake from the Ladies Pavilion.
- Awaiting the presentation by the Graham Hick Pavilion -
Going into the third day of the match, Warwickshire needed to take a further eight Worcestershire wickets in order to secure the club's seventh Championship title. Stephen and I were determined to witness cricketing history being made, and were duly rewarded just after lunch when Chris Wright clean bowled Alan Richardson to complete a resounding victory. It has been a remarkable effort from the Bears squad over the last few months and they have undoubtedly proved themselves the best side in the country - congratulations!
- A Victory Drink in the Eagle Vaults -
TAMWORTH: The glow of that title glory was still with us as Nick and I made our way to the Assembly Rooms, Tamworth for the town's 19th beer festival on Friday 7th September. Despite us going early, the venue was already crammed full although everyone was having a great time sampling some interesting and unusual ales. The Church End and Tunnel Breweries had particularly indulged in some flavour experimentation with Coffee & Walnut Cake and Cherry on the menu, although nothing quite prepared me for the Rusty Mo-ta carrot beer which came with a free specimen of the said root vegetable - I think the carrot tasted nicer than the actual drink. The theme for the festival was the Olympigs (a cross between the Olympics and Tamworth pigs) so we had to try the Olympig Snout, my favourite out of the tipples tasted. Whilst in the area, we also tried out some of the local pubs with the Globe and the Robert Peel particularly standing out.
- Yes, that really is a carrot in my beer -
NOTTINGHAM: the final round of County Championship fixtures sees the Bears facing Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, a ground that is my favourite of the larger Test arenas I've visited thus far. The match was evenly poised after the first day (Notts 155 all out, Warks 139/6) but the second day was largely notable for persistent showers, taking cover in the Trent Bridge Inn Wetherspoons and Nick's flaskful of fennel tea. I did enjoy a lunchtime walk around Nottingham with my sister, sampling lunch in the Bell Inn, a historic pub that claims to be Nottingham's oldest. We had better luck with the weather on Thursday, but spent the whole day watching Notts racking up the runs as the game and the season eventually ended in a solid draw.
- The view from Trent Bridge -
The cricketing season may now be over, but it has certainly been memorable with visits to Derby, Hove and Taunton leading up to that title-clinching moment in Worcester - absolutely brilliant. I look forward to following the Bears again next year as they try to defend their crown, and in the meantime I'm sure there will be plenty to keep me occupied over the winter months...