The Cricketers Arms in Rickling Green wins a TripAdvisor 2020 Traveller’s Choice Award
The Cricketers Arms in Rickling Green has been bowling customers over since it reopened a year ago.
As a result, the inn run by chef Harry Kodagoda and wife Sam has already been awarded a TripAdvisor 2020 Traveller’s Choice Award.
Sam, 35, who grew up in Bishop’s Stortford, said: “We reopened the pub in August 2019 so have only been open for a year, so we think it’s quite an achievement for our first year of trading.”
The award means that prior to the pandemic, guest feedback to the internet review site put them in the top 10% of hospitality businesses around the globe.
The Cricketers Arms is the debut location of what the couple hope will become a chain for their Horizon Pub Company Ltd.
They have strong local links and both were already fans of its picturesque location – overlooking the village green which is the home of Rickling Ramblers Cricket Club – so they snapped it up when it went on sale.
Sam said: “I grew up in Bishop’s Stortford, attending Northgate Primary School and then Leventhorpe in Sawbridgeworth.
“My husband was operations director for Anglian Country Inns (ACI) who own Water Lane cocktail bar.
“After being on the board of directors at ACI for eight years, he wanted to take the plunge and get his own place, and when we heard The Cricketers Arms was up for sale, we knew it was the one.”
It made 2019 a busy year for the couple. Sam had just given birth to their second child, Autumn, a sister for five-year-old son Ellis, but they were convinced the time was right to strike out on their own.
She said wryly: “It was just a shame about the global pandemic that was to follow!”
Harry, 41, brings a wealth of experience and numerous awards with him to Rickling Green. After training as a chef, he went on to work in London and was then part of the team that launched Auberge du Lac at Brocket Hall near Welwyn Garden City.
In 2005, he became head chef at The Fox at Willian in Letchworth, which began his 15-year association with ACI.
His culinary skills won him the award for best fish and chips in the country, as judged by celebrity chef Tom Kerridge, and after he was made ACI’s director of food, the group won a clutch of accolades including AA rosettes, Michelin Bib Gourmand, Best Food Offer at The Publican Awards two years running and, in 2014, Harry was named Development Chef of the Year.