National Pub and Bar Awards 2022: Owners of Cricketers Inn in Curdridge 'absolutely ecstatic' to be crowned best south east venue

THE owners of a Hampshire pub are ‘absolutely ecstatic’ to be crowned the best in the south east.

Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 4:53 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 4:54 pm

The Cricketers Inn, in Curdridge, received the accolade at the National Pub and Bar Awards ceremony on Wednesday.

It came as a shock to the owners, Sally and Stuart Downie, as they were unaware that their business would receive the honour.

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National Pub and Bar Awards 2022: Cricketers Inn in Curdridge, Hampshire, crowne...

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The Cricketers Inn in Curdridge, have won the South East Pub of the Year Award at The National Pub and Bar Awards 2022. Pictured is: Landlords Stuart and Sally Downie. Picture: Sarah Standing (230622-7287).

Landlady Ms Downie, 37, told The News: ‘We’re absolutely ecstatic and really thrilled.

‘It was a big shock, as we went there to pick up the county award, and had no idea we would receive a regional award.

‘It was a massive surprise, and it’s good for the whole team, who have worked very hard.’

Landlord Stuart Downie attended the ceremony alongside 94 other representatives in Euston Square, London.

Landlords Stuart and Sally Downie took over the pub in July 2020. Picture: Sarah Standing (230622-825).

The Cricketers Inn received a County Winner title in April, but the regional accolade was kept secret.

Mr Downie, 39, said: ‘It was a nice surprise, as we had no idea about it.

‘There were video clips of customers before each regional award was given out, so we found out it was us.

‘It was a great night.’

The Cricketers Inn in Curdridge, have won the South East Pub of the Year Award at The National Pub and Bar Awards 2022. Picture: Sarah Standing (230622-838)

The Downie family have run the Cricketers Inn, alongside three investors, since July 2020 after they moved from Kingsbridge, Devon.

Roughly £450,000 has been invested into the business, Ms Downie said.

This bolstered renovations including a new kitchen – three times bigger than previous – outdoor pavilion barn, wood fire pizza oven, new patio, and new interiors.

The Cricketers Inn employs between 20 to 30 people at a time, and Ms Downie said this accolade, and others, are testament to everyone’s passion for hospitality.

A new pavilion barn has been built, which is among many renovations at the pub over the past two years. Picture: Sarah Standing (230622-836)

‘They have shown the hard work everyone has put in over the last two years’, she added.

‘It’s also a testament to the customers that keep coming back.

‘We couldn’t have done it without everyone, and the staff were thrilled.’

Ms Downie said the pub’s openness to families and couples, the large beer garden, and the strong reputation for food such as woodfire pizzas and Sunday lunches, makes it unique and award winning.

Mr Downie said the accolade will bring more publicity to the establishment.

He added: ‘More people will start coming here from far and wide.

‘It is a community led pub, and we’re doing more than other businesses in the area.’