Pub of the Year 2013 entrant: The CricketersBy Stephen Lloyd
March 13, 2013
A TRADITIONAL village pub with one of the best views for miles around – The Cricketers in Hartley Wintney is guaranteed to bowl you over.
Overlooking one of the oldest cricket pitches in the world, the quintessentially English pub has just been taken over by husband-and-wife team Mark and Penny Thornhill.
Mark, 46, has taken up the role of general manager at the pub, operated by The New Pub Company, while 45-year-old Penny is deputy manager and daughter Amelia is assistant manager.
Mark and Penny had seen many successes at their previous pub, The Bell at Fetcham in Surrey, but said the time was right to move on.
“We had taken The Bell from a Hungry Horse and transformed into a Good Food Guide and an AA-listed house within the first 18 months of management,” said Mark.
“It truly is a privilege to be selected and included in these guides and we will be bringing the same, if not higher, service and culinary experiences to our new customers and neighbours at The Cricketers.”
The couple were welcomed at The Cricketers on February 22, with 22-year-old Amelia overseeing the restaurant side of the business.
Amelia, who has worked for Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay, won the Virgin Limited Edition Rising Star Award in Hospitality 2012, which aims to improve the status and awareness of food and beverage service as a viable career choice.
She was also a regional finalist for the Gold Service Scholarship supported by the Academy of Culinary Arts and The Academy of Food and Wine Service.
The family’s most recent honour was a nomination for Team of the Year with Eat Out magazine and Mark was also nominated for Pub Personality of the Year by Imbibe magazine 2013.
The Bell at Fetcham was featured in the AA Pub Guide 2013 and the Michelin Eating Out in Pubs guide. In recent months it secured a coveted spot in the Good Food Guide 2013.
Its inclusion, for the second year running, was based entirely on readers’ recommendations and inspection reports, and only seven other Surrey restaurants, pubs and eateries were included.
Now Mark is keen to transfer his family’s success to The Cricketers.
“The pub is in the very heart of the local community and we want to be an integral part of it,” he said.
“We are a traditional country pub with great locally sourced food, brilliant ales and a fabulous wine list.
“We love it, especially the location and the views.”
Mark, who was a constable with the Royal Parks Constabulary for 14 years, said all the food was locally sourced.
“We use meat from the butchers in Hartley Wintney and bread from Simply Organic in the village,” he added.
“Everything is made from scratch. We’ve had our application for the Good Food Guide and we’ve just got our first Square Meal listed window sticker.
"2012 proved to be an outstanding year for us and we had major reasons to celebrate. We are hoping that 2013 will be even better.”
For more details call 01252 842166 or visit www.thecricketers-hartleywintney.co.uk.
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