Saturday dawned gray and windy here in the Delaware Valley. It was in the high 30's and there was a chance of flurries. However, the Lehigh lacrosse team was in town to play Villanova and I was not going to miss a chance to see the Lehigh boys right around the corner. I grew up near Villanova's campus and as the old saying goes:"familiarity breeds contempt." I never was a Villanova fan. So I was ready to see the Lehigh Lax team, fresh off a season where they made the final four in the NCAA play-offs, come to the Wildcat home field and administer a beating.Lacrosse is a sport that begins in the cold of early Spring when you are a high school player...I can remember freezing fingers gripping the metal shaft in early March practice. These college guys start earlier and the game they played Saturday was in windy,numbing cold.
After a 5-0 goal run, Lehigh had a nice lead but the Wildcats staged a come-back in the 2nd quarter. At the half, it was 6-5 Lehigh. I was dressed for the cold and I did not envy the boys on the side lines wearing shorts.
In the 3rd quarter Lehigh came out strong with aggressive defense and some goal scoring fast-breaks. Despite my hands gloved against the cold, I managed to capture a particularly sweet 4th quarter goal by senior attackman Dave Dimarira who had a stellar day posting 4 goals and 3 assists. The 11-9 final score kept Lehigh undefeated and was a satisfying victory for this alumni and Wildcat hater.
Later that evening, the wife and I headed South to the horse country near Unionville for beers and English Pub fare at The Whip Tavern. Owned by an ex-pat Brit, the Whip serves excellent fish and chips, the best Scotch eggs I ever had, a tremendous watercress salad and wonderful bangers and mash. The Shepherds Pie is authentic, made with ground lamb as it should be. I loathe a joint that boasts Shepherds pie and then lists beef as the main ingredient. Query, would that not be Cowboy Pie? Shepherds do not follow cows around right...
The draft beer list offers great English pours like Bass, Wells Bombardier,Old Speckled Hen, and good Irish selections like Harp, Guinness and Smithwick's. The Black Velvet, a Guinness and hard cider half/half, is my wife's favorite.
The Whip is a friendly place,warm and inviting...you sit by the fire with a pint in your mitt, the local jockeys who train at the steeplechase farms in Cochranville are at the bar and you watch English league soccer on the big screens. Housed in an old building, the Whip looks like a country cottage.The wait can be long but it is a fine environment to pass the time.
After a brace of delicious Scotch eggs to start, we hit plates of fish and chips and a Shepherds pie.
We retired to the fireplace bench after dinner for a a last pint..then back into the cold Chester County night for the drive home. A Lehigh victory and dinner at the Whip...a perfect Saturday.