Village pub adds welcome cheer to cricket club

NOTHING says “English summer” quite like a pint of beer while watching cricket and the two have come together in Chobham.

The village’s White Hart pub has set up a marquee on the next-door cricket club ground and is serving drinks and food to its regulars and members of the club.

The Barnes family inside the White hart marquee with pub manager Stan Morgan

The idea came from Nigel Sturt, Chobham Cricket Club’s bar and facility manager, who suggested that co-operation could help the club and the White Hart.

Coronavirus restrictions meant that the cosy pub and the cricket club’s hospitality area were likely to be closed for many months. Both were closed during lockdown and do not have the space or resources to open under the recent easing of restrictions.

A solution was arranged between the cricket club and Brunning and Price, which owns the White Hart, for the pub to set up a marquee, with suitable social distancing measures, on the club grounds.

Stan Morgan, the pub manager, said the food and drink are prepared in the pub and served in the marquee, with plastic containers for those who want to take their drinks onto the pavilion to watch the cricket.

The marquee is set behind safety netting on its site beyond the boundary
Pictures: Anthony Gurr

“It’s been really good,” Stan said. “All the regulars have been coming along and it’s good to have this as we don’t have a garden.”

Julian Broughton, the cricket club chairman, said the arrangement was a link to the past when teas were served for players and spectators from a hatch in the 500-year-old pub before the club had its own catering facilities.

“It’s absolutely brilliant,” Julian said. “Our members are very happy.”

The marquee will be serving food and drink until at least mid-September when the current cricket season is expected to end.

The arrangement could continue into autumn and winter and might still be in place for the next cricket season, depending on what is happening with coronavirus.

Julian said the club provides a good level of cricket right in the middle of the village.

“Our under-14s were county champions last year and four of the squad are in the first XI this year,” he said.

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