Broad and Gurney bowl them over at stunning new village pub near Melton
He's built a reputation as one of England's greatest ever cricketers and now Stuart Broad is carving out a name for himself in the pub trade.
The 32-year-old pace bowler, who learned the game playing for Melton’s Egerton Park CC, has just opened the Tap and Run, at Upper Broughton, with Nottinghamshire CCC team-mate Harry Gurney and their friend Dan Cramp.
The trio have already made a success of The Three Crowns, at Wymewold, through their business, The Cat and Wickets Pub Company, which they founded two years ago.
And they have ploughed around £350,000 into the new pub, which was formerly known as The Golden Fleece, in a major renovation project.
There are some stunning cricketing themes running through the rejuvenated building, on the A606 Melton Road, such as lighting shaped like stumps, 18 bails dotted around to represent the English county sides and a sign at one of the entrances which displays the pub’s name in the style of a cricket scoreboard.
And the place has sentimental value for Stuart as he used to meet his mum, Carole, in the car park because it was a mid-point between his workplace, Trent Bridge cricket ground, and her home at Whissendine.
Stuart told the Melton Times: “It was the potential of the site which was the most attractive thing.
“It’s bigger than our other pub, The Three Crowns, and we were ready to take on a slightly bigger pub.
“We wanted somewhere people would drive out to for a great Sunday roast and a nice glass of beer and wine and this is what we’ve tried to create here.”
Stuart is hopeful the pub will be used regularly by players and officials from his old club in Melton.
“There is a bit of excitement at Egerton Park about this pub being open again,” he said.
“When they are travelling to matches in the Leicestershire League this was a regular stop-off before the A46 so I am sure we will see their players in here a lot.”
Chatting to Stuart and Harry, it is clear the pair are good friends and incredibly passionate about their new pub.
Harry (31), who played for England’s one day international and T20 sides four years ago, said: “There are a lot of pubs closing down but a lot of them are not very nice places to be fair.
“We’ve spent around £350,000 on renovating this place and it looks great.
“We are confident the food will be popular with our customers, we are aiming to use local produce and all the bread is baked on the premises.”
The pub has a number of different areas for customers to relax in. There is a garden room with a botanical feel, a room which housed the old village shop, a restaurant with old photographs of how the pub looked early in the last century and a cricket area, which the owners hope will be adopted by the Upper Broughton Cricket Club’s players and members.
There is also a wine cellar feature where customers can sit and taste different wines, a nod to Stuart and Harry’s love of fine wines.
Stuart says he plans to spend time in that part of the pub with his father, Chris, also a former England Test player.
For Harry, the pub business represents an attractive career path when he retires from the game, although he remains a key bowler for Notts, having helped the county side to victories in major one-day and T20 tournaments in recent years.
He said: “I would like to finish on my own terms. Owning the pubs is part of my plan to get into a position so that I can make a decision on when to retire rather than having nothing to fall back on.”
Stuart has now taken 433 Test wickets, the eighth biggest haul in history and the second highest by any England player.
He has been selected for the winter tour to Sri Lanka despite some commentators speculating he would be dropped.
He has seen former England skipper Alastair Cook, who is just a year older, retire this summer but is determined to play on for as long as he can.
“I’m a believer that if you start to think about retirement as a sportsman, that is when you lose your edge,” said Stuart, who grew up in Waltham and Whissendine.
“I really admire the way Cookie went about it – probably only 10 per cent of cricketers get to finish on their own terms the way he did.
“I’m only 32 and someone like my England team-mate Jimmy Anderson is a big inspiration to me.
“To be at your peak as a bowler between the ages of 33 and 36, as he has been, is incredible and it’s something for me to aim for.
“With the fitness and nutrition coaches we have in the game now there is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to extend my career a few more years.”
He said the pub trade was a viable career option when he does finally stop playing, though, adding: “You hit 30 and think ‘I’m more than halfway through my career now – I need a plan for the future’.
“Something which gives you something to look forward to once you stop bowling cricket balls.”
Harry said his Notts team-mates had promised to support the new pub venture, as they had done at their Wymeswold pub, joking that they are attracted by the promise of free sausage rolls, a popular snack for customers at The Three Crowns.
And Test Match Special radio commentator Jonathan Agnew, who lives just a couple of miles from the Tap and Run, has also pledged to visit.
Stuart said: “Aggers is very excited because this will virtually be his local.
“But he is not as excited as his wife, Emma, because this is on her work commute. They’ve both supported The Three Crowns and I’m sure we will see them in here regularly.”
The launch nights have been a success and director Dan Cramp, who has good experience of running gastropubs, added: “You hear the horror stories of four or five pubs closing every year but there are still lots of pubs doing it well.
“You have to get your offering right and we think we have done that with this place.
“There has been a real buzz around the village about this pub reopening.”