Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Cricketers Arms, Horbury

I was convinced I knew this pub – right up until the moment I arrived at the wrong one. Although not over-familiar with Horbury, I had spent my early years at school in the town but for some reason, when I finally did find it, The Cricketers Arms on Cluntergate just didn’t ring any bells.

In contrast to the formulaic makeover at the latest Ossett pub in Knaresborough the other week, this Field & Barnes production would be much less contrived - and remembering back to the opening of The Sportsman in Huddersfield, I got there thinking 'try to keep an open mind'. But whilst the duo's last project was a somewhat acquired taste (though well worth acquiring!), this pub is instantly lovable.

Should anyone need to see just what a transformation there’s been here (and you really do) then there’s a photo album available for perusal on the bar detailing every stage of the metamorphosis. The pub looked to have rather lost it’s way under the stewardship of Tetleys so it’s great to see it’s dignity and character restored once more.

The bar is a real piece of work with panelling from an old German dresser making it an eye-catching feature. The décor, whilst understated, makes the best of the natural lighting through the etched glass and the (obligatory?) historical prints of the locality in the front room are perfect.


The eight handpulls were heavily biased in favour of the most local producers during my visit, with Fernandes, Five Towns, Ossett and Tiger Tops making the Mallinsons look positively foreign! As with both The West Riding and The Sportsman, Taylors Landlord and Black Sheep Bitter will be permanent here.

Alongside the cask, the pub also serves Amstel, Guinness, Aspall, Pilsner Urquell, Heineken, Blue Moon (an American take on Belgian wit), La Chouffe and de Koninck on draught. A selection of continental bottled beer is also available.

Manager Lisa Wood is confident that beer festivals, quiz nights and acoustic sessions will feature at the pub once the dust has settled, and we would like to wish her, Mike and Sarah all the best with their latest adventure! (map)


Jibber said...

No question, it's a good pub, as you would expect from Mike Field.

My concern is its accessibility. It's a bus ride out of either Wakefield or Dewsbury, with no train option. And whilst I'd like to think I'll be visiting on a reasonably regular basis, we are so blessed with real ale pubs in the West Riding within easy reach of railway stations, I wonder whether I really will!

Pubs like the Cricketers need to rely almost entirely on local trade. The itinerant beer drinkers of the area - and I include myself in that merry band - will visit, if only out of interest, but may not bother to go again however good the beer is.

The same applies to the Yeaton Cask in Kirkheaton. An excellent pub, but a tedious bus ride from Mirfield or Huddersfield.

I hope I'm wrong, and I wish both pubs every success. I just worry that they might be the right pubs in the wrong place.

Michael said...

Horbury has a good bus service from Dewsbury and Wakefield, every 10 minutes during the day and half hourly in the evenings. The last one back to Dewsbury is at around 23.00 so it's no real effort to get there and back. That one connects with a train to Huddersfield too! The bus service from Huddersfield is less frequent, but it also runs evenings and I'm already considering a bus-based pub crawl taking in the Reindeer and Boons (Horbury) as well as the Cricketers.

IAN said...

It's a good bus serivce from Wakefield, the 126 and 127 stops are a two minute walk. Never had a bad pint since it oened, but fair to say some beers are not to my taste, but that is the way it should be. Cheese boards are a recent addition and are good value for money with decent cheeses, not having a kitchen, pies etc.. from a local butcher are available, I know what you mean about local trade only, but I know of people who visit quite often who come from the other side of Wakefield and several from Pontefract, Sharlston, Gomersal etc.. CAMRA Pub of the Spring Season 2011, less than a year after opening, a good omen for more awards... A good contender for Waskeield CAMRA Pub of the Year perhaps.

Anonymous said...

May I suggest putting the postcode on the website?

Will said...

Normally we would link to a website with address details etc but they only seem to use Facebook and all you get there is a phone number. It is WF4 5AG btw. The map link is accurate though if you're walking/driving.