Day 1 complete, sweep 1 complete (Not in our favour, I might add!).
We got up early on the Saturday allowing us the chance to get a good breakfast and a decent start to the day. Haha, i’m only kidding. We went to the Wetherspoons in the Metro centre and they’d already stopped selling breakfast, such was the time. I got a cup of tea and a Strongbow chaser. I also ordered a jacket potato to make me look respectable. I must apologise at this point for not taking a photo of the jacket potato. I don’t have a photo of a jacket either.
Instead, I got a photo of this fine looking jumper in Primark. If you’re looking to stock up on “interesting” gear before next winter, a fiver’s all it’ll take!
It lights up too. Perfect for those cold winter nights when the heating isn’t working and the power goes down. In the end I declined to purchase. I did manage to get 2 tshirts, 2 pairs of jeans, and a jacket for £26! However, easily the best part of this shopping trip was getting 2 carrier bags for free!
I also took this photo when we were in the Metro. I guess you’d call it an art installation or maybe a tribute? The issue of the poppy can polarise opinion – moreso in Glasgow than most places. I’m not going to have that debate here. There’s a little more info on it here if it’s something that catches your interest.
Rob got 12 Krispy Kreme donuts (Doughnuts?) before we left the Metro. I put them out in the car while he went for a last bit of shopping – probably for the type of jogging bottoms that physical anger me. The inventor of “drop crotch” joggies needs a drop kick to the crotch. Anyone needing that much room in their trousers is either this guy (possibly not safe for children!) or shoplifts chickens for a living. Rob, you’ll never know if I licked your donuts (or worse)…..
I first started coming to Newcastle/Gateshead around 10/11 years ago. On the way down, we stopped in Gretna and I bought Kirsty’s engagement ring (She was there so it wasn’t a massive gamble!). I’m still glad I did :o). On that first night in Newcastle, Kirsty and I asked the hotel staff to recommend an indian restaurant. They duly obliged, ordering us a taxi to the Jamdani in Whickham. We’re still going to it, it’s still great, and it’s still busy. I recommend it, as do all these people. If the staff are reading this, can I have a free meal for this shameless plug? Anyway, the 4 of us went for a meal here then went back to the pub/restaurant attached to the Premier Inn. Rather than a Brewer’s Fayre/Beefeater type restaurant they had a Taybarn’s. It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet type thing for a ridiculously low price (like £5 or £6). I dislike this concept in general. The idea of it makes me squirm. I only have this snobbish attitude when it suits me though. Had it been exclusively an Indian buffet I would’ve had 15 bits of chicken pakora before trying to force feed myself a main course. The place did have a number of redeeming features. They sold Strongbow, the staff were friendly, and they had a candyfloss machine! Several drinks and hours later, we went to bed.
Sunday brought a renewed sense of optimism. Noone really expected a win at Sports Central. The Wildcat’s Lair (Which sounds much cooler than the Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre) was an entirely different prospect. Durham have shown year on year improvement since they joined the BBL. This year they’ve been rather Jekyll and Hyde – losing to Leeds then beating London 2 days later sums up their season. The famous comeback win earlier in the season suggested we were in with a good chance. The teams came out to some decent noise. Fran Urli got a good cheer from the Rocks fans, Danny Huffor from the Wildcats fans. The Wildcats crowds (in my experience) aren’t as good as the team deserves. However, they are quite loud and their drummer is brilliant – possibly the best in the BBL.
The regular announcer, Howard, was back. He does the same job for Newcastle too. He asked us how to pronounce Egwuonwu. I can’t blame him although I do wonder how he managed two days before!
We started quite well in this game before a fantastic 2nd quarter meltdown. We didn’t regain the lead again until around the middle of the 4th quarter. As in the Newcastle game, Jonny Bunyan once again played exceptionally well. He hit the right shots at the right time to keep us on Durham’s coat tails. It’s hard not to give the MVP to Kieron Achara but JB’s contribution cannot be overstated. This was also Reggie Middleton’s first game. Like a classic car waiting to be restored, he was incredibly rusty but you knew there was something under there. We never looked back after getting the lead. Some might say it was harsh on Durham, I tend to feel that it was a long time coming. We won. Durham didn’t. The 20 or so Rocks fans in attendance went home happy. Our number also included Drew Lasker, who was politely informed that he might like to “get off his arse” until we scored!
After the game we hung around like a bad smell to chat to the players. Like Willy Wonka, yet creepier, Jill had sweets for all the fans and players. “They’re for my kid” “Don’t tell coach”… you know who you are!! I also got a shot of the Durham drummer’s stick (behave!)
As a final point, as can be seen from the last two photos, Durham really make an effort to make the Leisure Centre look like their own. The outside of the building is the same. Something for other clubs to look into?
Sweep 2 complete, it was onwards to the Emirates and the Giants….