An evening in a Hotel, in this case the Holiday Inn Express, Filbert Way, Leicester, the one opposite the King Power Stadium, tends to mean dinner alone.  The hotel don’t have a restaurant so I wandered round to the Steak & Grill Restaurant attached.  And so, the lady eating alone in the evening scenario occurred, somehow I often feel as if I have a spotlight over my head, or that maybe I have 2 heads!  But no, I’m just hungry.  I ordered chicken breast (s) and fries; 2 butterfly chicken breasts appeared and were very nice too.  A little on the expensive side but I’d recommend the place.

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I’m not so sure I can say the same for the hotel; I picked it because it was close to Welford Road and I was unsure about the parking; I now know you can park at the Football Stadium for a mere £5.00.  The room was nice enough and the staff very welcoming, but for a hotel out of town it was very noisy!  There seemed to be lots of cars coming and going and in the early hours a party returned from a night out, quiet didn’t feature.  Then I seemed to have a family of baby elephants in the room above me, bad luck on that one, but next time I’ll stay outside of Leicester and take the parking option.

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Check out was 11am with the game starting at 2pm, I wanted to keep my car in the car park so settled myself into a comfy chair and wrote some of my debsknig.com blog.  I’d say the hotel is missing a trick with its position, I’d have bought a cuppa and I’m sure you’re already realising, a cake, but there was no facility.

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I set off for the ground at about 12:30, it’s really very near to the Leicester City ground; one year I watched City play in the morning and Tigers in the afternoon with my football mad friend Maria.  Well when I say I watched Tigers, I was wearing trainers and we stood, so I saw moments of the game as at 5ft 2 I’m rather vertically challenged!

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My 1st visit to Welford Road was in 1999 to watch London Broncos play Bradford Bulls – yes, the ‘other’ code!  My team lost that day but I recall it being a good day out, albeit at a very different look Tigers ground.

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The ground I visited for the visit of on fire Bath Rugby has grown somewhat; and for this game a capacity crowd of 24,000 turned up.  There was some difficulty finding my ticket when I arrived which was a bit of a worry, but that was soon resolved, thank goodness.  I did my homework on the food and drink bit this time and have quite a list for you!  Rugby venues are certainly learning that people want a variety of food in particular.

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My seat was behind the posts, not my usual choice, but being only 4 rows back did give me a great view when play was at the right end.  I found myself watching the big screen when play was too far away or the posts got in the way.  I’d say the seating was ‘snug’,the 2 very nice men I was sat next to in the 1st half weren’t sylph like so things were quite cosy.  I was relieved that none of the balls kicked at the posts made it into my lap!  Phew!

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And so, a quick mention of the game itself; a lot was at stake for the home team, the result at the Rec was a surprising Bath 45 Tigers 0 – well I say surprising I think what I mean is shocking!  Not least for the very loyal Tigers fans.  It was highly unlikely that we would see a repeat, and a wounded Tiger is a very dangerous one.

On a damp and cold day Tigers went out with the intensity of a team intent on setting the record straight. Sam Burgess, he who must have taken more newspaper column inches than any other player this season was starting at outside centre. I’d say he had to star back and watch what was mostly a forwards orientated niggly game.

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There seemed to be many handbags thrown throughout the whole game; the referee didn’t really seemed to be prepared to deal with them and so it continued pretty much all the way through.  I’m afraid his whistle was also a huge feature in what was a stop start game; Bath gave away a lot of penalties in the ‘red zone’, yet saw no yellow; perhaps Mr Carley left his cards in the changing room.

The best moment of the game came as Bath attacked with all the flair they’re capable of, passing the ball across the line for Sam Burgess to touch down.  No try though as the final pass was adjudged to be forward – a harsh call I do believe.

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Both teams scored a ‘forwards’ try, Tigers with Tom Youngs and Bath  through replacement Hooker Ross Batty.  Owen Williams added 4 penalties to the home teams score, George Ford only adding one, that was a fair representation of possession and the number of penalties given away.  Ford had the chance to take away a losing bonus point by converting the Batty try in the final moments but missed with a very poor kick.

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Enough about the game; I have to say that the atmosphere was superb; before the game an announcement was made about crowd expectations including being quiet for both kickers.  That was the case and was very nearly as impressive as the absolute silence at Munster.  And the roar of virtually 24,000 people was great to hear.  Something to be admired and envied.

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Some of my stats as is my want – The list could be a lot longer there was a good choice of food

  • Cost of Ticket                         – £45.00 + £6.76 Stub Hub Fees
  • Pint of Guinness                    – £3.90
  • Pint of Fosters                        – £3.70
  • Wine 187ml                            – £4.60
  • Shorts (alcohol!)                   – £2.10
  • Mixers                                     – £1.90
  • Soft Drinks                             – £2.30
  • Hot Drinks                             – £2.10
  • Chips                                       – £3.00
  • Gallops Burger                      – £4.10
  • Hot Pork Roll                        – £5.00
  • Ladies Toilets – you know I always will!  I used the loos in the bar, again plenty of them, clean (bit disappointed they weren’t red and green!) a bit dated but perfectly fine.
  • Safety – perfectly fine all day, it will tend to be the way in a big rugby crowd.
  • Nicest moment of the day – an award for the very highly regarded Marcos Ayerza at the end of the game
  • Best moment of the game – the Burgess try that wasn’t

The journey home was longer than it needed to be, I’d recommend staying for a drink rather than go straight to your car, it was a long queue.  I have a confession about my choice of entertainment for the drive – 606 wasn’t on and I couldn’t get my I Tunes music to feed through – so GLEE it was on Spotify – there, it’s out now, I am a fan!  They can sing those American TV people – I have a good go at joining in and did for virtually the whole 2 hour journey! Thank goodness I was alone!

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My only moan on the driving?  Fog lights – if you can easily see the person in front go you?  You DON’T NEED YOUR FOG LIGHTS ON!!   They’re really quite blinding when they’re not needed!  Other than that – the inside lane of the A14 had cars in it!  Next up…… You guessed it – rugby!

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