And that's his hundred. Bat raised to the crowd, he removes his cap in acknowledgement of their applause.
Dream on! My highest ever score was 16 not out. I put that down to batting at number 11, or possibly number 10 on good day, and always running out of partners. It certainly couldn't be down to any lack of innate batting ability on my part.
Anyway, I have reached a century. My hundredth post. So to mark the occasion here's a suitably named bygone boozer, the Century Tavern. Whilst virtually all the other bygones I've featured have at least had me pass by if not enter, this one, like the Black Diamond and the Cyclists Arms, I've never been within a few miles of but felt that I just had to feature it to mark this momentous moment.
Built in 1927 on Forty Lane in Wembley Park for brewers Watney, Combe & Reid, and named after the neighbouring Century Sports Ground, the Century Hotel, as it was initially known, opened its doors in time to make it into the following year's telephone directory - WEMbley 2638. (Who else recalls those place name exchanges? WHItehall 1212 anyone?)
Sitting almost opposite Brook Avenue, like may hostelries of the time it rushed to advertise its presence with the publication of some postcards. This first one is a view looking east along Forty Lane (later renamed Forty Avenue) towards the bridge carrying the Metropolitan Line to and from Wembley Park Station.
Taking in the view from the same point today it's possible to see that at least the bridge is still standing.
The second appears to have been taken after a few too many Watney's Pales or Reid's Specials but it's the best usable one that I've found showing the front elevation.
The smoking lounge was lavishly furnished with, err, wood panels. I suppose curtains and soft, cushioned upholstery would just absorb far too much exhaled tar. Too much comfort might also have attracted the ladies, of course. It looks like there's an early pinball machine to keep the punters entertained and note too the adverts for brews from each of the three original breweries.
I really like the postcard of the interior, but I do wonder why they bothered with one of the rear.
The brewing aspects of the Watney business passed into the hands of Scottish and Newcastle (in 1991?) which might help explain why it was a favourite haunt for Scottish fans when their team were playing the Auld Enemy just up the road. S&N closed the place in 2000 and it was demolished to make way for the flats seen further up the page a year later.
Cup finals. Internationals. Many hundreds of folk will have memories of the place. Some will no doubt have happier ones than others.
That's the hundred achieved. I recall some advice which came from that other great Norfolk batsman, John Edrich. “When you get to a hundred, take a new guard and start again.” He said that he'd been given that same advice as a youngster by Ken Barrington. He also said that he followed it when he reached his first hundred – and was out three balls later. Hopefully I can last a bit longer having reached my first century.
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