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Branch chair Colleen presents the Pub of the Season Winter 2018/9 plaque to the staff at the Wuthering Heights, Stanbury, February 2019

Branch chair Colleen presents the Pub of the Season Winter 2018/9 plaque to Nicci and Darren at the Wuthering Heights, Stanbury, February 2019

Cricketers Arms, Keighley

Cricketers Arms Sign Len Hutton square-cutting yet another four may be on the pub sign but inside John and Joyce have now upstaged him by winning their FIFTH trophy in as many years. This popular Keighley town centre pub is yet again the branch "Pub of the Season" to go alongside previous awards as "Improved Pub" in 1999 and as the pub selling the best pint of mild in last year's Mild Trail (plus a couple of other seasonal awards along the way).

Later this year John and Joyce will celebrate their fifth birthday in the Cricketers, and we hope that Joyce's recent poor health will be on the up by then. John came to Keighley in 1975 as a “troubleshooter for Ladbroke's” - not the betting shops but their Hilton hotel chain. He emerged from Hull, recently voted the country's number one CRAP town and the winner of the 'worst place to live in the United Kingdom', and had five years at the Victoria on Cavendish Street before moving on to the Bracken Arms on the estate and then to a spell in foreign parts as steward of Nelson Golf Club before successfully reapplying for his Yorkshire passport and coming to the Cricketers.

The Spring 1999 edition of this journal contained some very prophetic words and whoever wrote them (an anonymous piece by the so-called Craven Crawlers) deserves to also get an award, having written thus:

“Formerly a Taylor's house it [Cricketers] is now tied to the Worth Brewery [RIP]. This pub is a real survivor, and it is good to see it has a bright future.”

Spot-on as they say and today’s six handpulled beers go pretty quickly. Moorhouses Premier and Black Cat mild are the house beers along with Eastwood and Sanders 'First Light' and the three guests come from mainly small breweries with Durham and Phoenix amongst the most favoured. And the prices are competitive with only the impending Wetherspoons likely to offer cheaper ale in the town centre area.

The Cricketers Arms remains a true PUB. Do not go there for food, or for music, or to play a fruit machine or for a game of pool. Conversation, and plenty of it, is the only entertainment though its strong following of locals operate a highly successful 'hundred club' every Sunday lunchtime. Its unique 'tram seating' is renowned locally and - dare I say it - the secretary of a neighbouring branch is on the bar Saturday evenings (You guessed right; go there to view John (the Hat) Bell in action!).

Do not miss the presentation. It is arguably the most civilised pub in Keighley. I have never had a bad pint there and my two sons go whenever they are home which is not often as they live in Aberdeen and in Seattle!

Bruce Wood

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