Season 2007-2008CLARK'S; 46 Exmouth Market, Finsbury
(5 pts)
(4 pts)
(3 pts)
(2 pts)
(1 pts)
GRAHAM DARLOW123210127399
NICK EVANS102310126211
RICHARD LUCAS90310116179
EDWARD MOSSE111210117151
ALAN SMITH6111011377
BEN HAYES5031011677
THOMAS KRAFT5021011252
REHAN QAYOOM4021011248
TOM CRICK1021011212

A bucket of fresh liquor was laid on specially for the pinnacle of the pie and mash calendar. Talking of which, check out the liquorish smirks on this pair of 'pinnacles' [right]. Dave R-K (left) is an upcoming songsmithy who has his own 'myspace'. Dave, if you can pen a relevant song — it could be about pies, for instance — we'll put it up on 'piespace'.

The Pie and Mash Club welcomed two newcomers to the world of traditional London nosh. One Nicholas Kingston-Smith esq. added to the number of 'double-barrels'. The league may soon be the preferred listing of gentry, blue blood and filthy rich, who's who knows? We could call it 'Dirk's Peerage'. For here is the eponymous Dirk Freisler, waving his up-pointed thumb with delirious Deutsch enthusiasm. We were delighted that the chap from Bavaria chose to expand his cultural knowledge of the capital with a basin of the ambrosial scoff.

Mister Q joined us from Barking, where he has been regaling readers of the Romford Community Times with his resume of East-side Pie Shops. [Read it here]. A member of the John Betjeman Fan Club, he cannot quite believe of my involvement with the upcoming publication of 'Poems in the Porch'. It's a collection of witty limericks what John B wrote when he got locked out of his gaff after closing time. Sir John — a champion of British heritage and tradition — tucked away quite a few pies on his poetic peregrinations around the capital and home counties. So surely it's time someone baked a Betjeman Pie in his honour? Something with pastry steeples is what I have in mind.

For Graham Darlow, the league's 'Noshferatu', the trophy was already in the coffin and the lid nailed shut after a Season of Abundance in which he amassed a shattering 399 points. Not a drop of liquor was spilled, nor eelbone left unsucked; no mash left unscooped, no pie unpunctured. On this occasion, he cruised home to the Carpathian Mountains with a modest 27-pointer.

By his [not inconsiderable] presence, Tom Leader chugged into second place with a filling if not thrilling 35 point chomp. It should have been 37 points, but he left a slick of liquor on his platter with cavalier abandon.

Thomas Kraft's theology often finds its most sustained and compelling expression through an efficent dispatch of two pies, mash and liquor. After all, it's highly unlikely Karl Barth wrote his 31-volume 'Church Dogmatics' on an empty stomach. Whether it's some bearded fella feeding 5000 with a stale Hovis and a tin of sardines or an open packet of biscuits in your vicinity, it's an even bet Tom will be less than three paces from the centre of the action.

Nicholas Kingston-Smith was 'game for a pie'; it was the lad's first outing and he asked for his lemon shandy to be taken into consideration! If you ask me he needs building up with a diet of wholesome stodge.

Edward James Mosse was the League's second-most consistent attendee, and this was reflected in his massive improvement from last season's Wooden Spoon to Number Five in the World 2007—2008. He's seen here displaying a well-honed shovelling technique that comes only from hours of practice.

Tom Crick was the third Pie and Mash Debutant on the day. Apparently the gravity of the situation was not lost on him. Tom, none of us can defy gravity but a pair of these would certainly make light of any scenario you can think of. [Not recommended after a big lunch.]

His comrade in the upper room was Mister Ben Hayes, whose season did not fulfil its early promise. I caught him in a thoughtful moment, chewing over what might have been and hopefully not looking back in anger. His enthusiasm for meat pies and history remains undiminished.

In the interest of Anglo-German culinary relations, and with thanks to Tom Kraft, we can reveal that Eisbein is Ben's favourite German dish. And also that top author Justin Cartwright has run into a spot of bother with his gastronomic metaphors: 'He has never eaten Eisbein, but he has seen it, reaching up from the plate like a cathedral spire in a bombed city.' It's hardly dreaming pastry spires (see above). I am minded to commission him for a prose-sharpening pie and mash piece.

When the clatter of cutlery and crockery had ceased, we ceremonised (in reverse order, as you do). The outgoing champ's ginormous jiffy contained priceless valuables not normally conveyed by public transport.

Firstly and leastly, The Wooden Spoon for consistent mediocrity went once again to Jill Cropper. Her prize was accepted sportingly by long-suffering partner Big Al Smith. Alan, put pies on the menu at home — she'll soon change her ways!

Then there was Third Place Bib award — your statistician was, well, ju-biblant.

Tom Leader took the Silver Spoon of Second and then promptly handed it back to the club for safe keeping as he could not guarantee the security of his lodgings in the coming year. Surely someone out there could offer him the dream scenario — tidy, furnished rooms above a pie and mash shop? For there is nothing the big man likes more than forty winks after his favourite face filler.

Realistic Clay Pies went to Golden Graham™® [for nutritional information click here] who announced this year would be his 'Swansong'. We heard that in 2003. The pies are now safely ensconed in Mister Darlow's Trophy Room wherein they occupy pride of place among diamond-studded diadems and the stuffed heads of hornéd beasts.

Then we went to the pub.

Cheers Big Ears,