The slug is currently hedging bets on Sir Steve's Liverpool 8 project turning into the Liverpool 12, as they seem to have formed into an eight and a four, and the four is the one who have been winning things... (One to check for at the Met perhaps).

Incidentally, at Chester the other week, all 12 raced each other in fours and it seems that the two fours that did better are now in the eight (we think the decision had already been made, but that confirmed it).

At Northwich Regatta last weekend the 8 won S4 8+ (3 races) over 1000m and it looked like (though I could be wrong) that they raced for the first time truly "above status" in S2 8+ (straight final) over 1500m, and beat a reasonable Stourport crew by about 3 lengths. S4 4+ and S3 4+, suffice to say their ARA cards were duly decimated with a hole punch at the end of the day and they won't be racing S4 any more...

Perhaps more amusing was the fact that regatta organisers sent the Northwich Guardian (and Chronicle) a production-company-approved press release (Paul Rafferty, who's coaching them on a day-to-day basis, is from Northwich, and coached Matt Langridge to Junior Worlds gold), only for the papers to completely ignore said press release and make up their own stories. The Northwich Guardian declaring on the back page that Sir Steve himself would be present. Which he wasn't.

They do seem to be bringing an entourage of tracksuited semi-chav scouse mates/relatives with them to support, but at Northwich they spent most of Sunday propping up the bar, so the notbody was complaining! Photo of the 8 racing here: http://www.photoboxgallery.com/nvphotographic/3107333 - scroll down on the right hand side and click on "Regatta 4"

Nice way to keep them all involved to the end... now, any takers for the Brit?

The slug has heard rumours that a certain rowing club has now banned its crews from racing if the club believes they are not competitive, restricting them to training instead, as it "does the club's reputation no good whatsoever to be associated with crews which perform badly".

Now, you may agree that this is a perfectly valid stance, and indeed the slug can see their point, after all, the club is to rowing what royalty is to the common proletariat, being established at the dawn of amateur rowing in this country (allegedly by Sir Francis Drake who thought that a club that rows on the Thames would be an entertaining way of keeping his men in shape when they weren't engaged in high seas piracy or giving the Spanish a jolly good thrashing). After all, it simply would not do to have the current rowers ruin the club's hard earned reputation, cemented through several recent Henley wins.

Mind you, quite how one's supposed to get race experience without being allowed to race...

All very curious

Picture the scene... it's Twickenham regatta and the enthusiastic coach of a certain women's crew decides to support her charges as fully as possible by cycling alongside their race.

Realising the Surrey towpath isn't the smoothest of the Queen's Highways, she prepares her nice shiny mountain bike for the task, and duly sets off in hot pursuit.

Unfortunately, as the towpath is an integral part of the trailer park, boating area and car park, and is also a popular strolling route with locals, their dogs and assorted small children (even on a rainy Saturday afternoon) it soon becomes obvious to our keen coach that it isn't particularly conducive to peddaling along at any great speed.

Undeterred, she abandons her trusty steed to the nearest patch of shrubbery, and continues her progress by fleet of foot, complete with much enthusiastic supportive yelling.

The good news is, her crew won.

The bad news is, the bike was apparently accepted as an offering by the faries of the forest, and had been mysteriously spirited away by the time she returned to the shrubbery.

To add insult to injury, because she hadn't bothered to read the competitors' instructions (like not a few others) she had to trudge all the way back up the towpath to registration then back to the enclosure to get the crew's ARA cards verified at registration before they were allowed to collect their pots.

Still, its all good exercise, eh?

The slug was somewhat surprised to note the following comments, courtesy of that great interweb institution Popbitch...
"Which celebrity was, yesterday, being driving down Putney embankment by his wife, at a decent clip, en route to the recycle bins. The car then managed to mangle their offside wing mirror by hammering into an eight sat at the side of the road on trestles, bending its bow rigger and knocking it off onto the road. How the husband of the driver, himself in the passenger seat, doing his best impression of Sadaam, having a beard and right arm in a sling, seemed like someone recognisable off of the telly.

His Big Impression (on a Jano 8)?

Not sure which club or whether the insurers are involved, but very amusing :)

Now the slug is sure that you all know that those at Iffley special School are truly "special" but it seems that they are determined to prove it this year.

Not sufficiently pleased at proving that some of their finest cannot count (see wallingford dq for pembroke below), it now seems that the egos of University College got the better of them when they entered Bedford Regatta as a University College/ Nepthys composite. Since obviously One Lightweight Blue and One Nepthys oarsman makes all the diiference..!

Far be it from the slug to speculate, but someone at the special school obviously took a dim view of this approach as the entry was changed to the mere University College before the regatta. Though fortunately the numerately challenged Pembroke Boys have preserved the proof by publishing the original college eights draw on their website www.talkrowing.co.uk/pcbc/bedreg2.pdf.

Of course, looking at the Bedford draw the slug also wondered just how Catz can be novice and S3 with a certain Frenchman on board...

Mind you Jesus College Oxford were defeated in S2/3 8s at Bedford on Saturday even though their 6 seat was occupied by none other than World Champion and scourge of unattended bicycles, Barney Williams. Needless to say the after race autopsy was a little heated!

As if this wasn't proof that the special school have much to be proud of, the Trininty College Men's First Eight have been proudly displaying some of the

worst Kit in living memory - Orange body, white ars with blue flash all topped off with a lovely set of matching pink collar and cuffs - Trinny and Susannah would be so proud !

But dear reader - it gets worse, for not simply content with looking like a bunch of pr**ks, they have confirmed everyone else's view of them as such, by sporting a green flourescent dildo on their bows as their mascot as well (that or they couldn't find a replacement bowball).

With a fortnight to the start of the Festival Of Comedy Rowing at the Special School, the Slug is already looking forward to camping in the Hedges of the Isis, Godstow, Abingdon and Wallingford, awaiting further sightings of elegance and proof of just how "special" these people are.

It appears that the big hair / boat speed thing is alive and well on the Merrimack!

Side show Bob - coming soon to Round 1 at Royal Regatta near you...

Despite trying their best to snatch defeat from the hands of victory, UWE took the Bristol Varsity 4:1 last Saturday.

Their mens crews may have been just 0.5 seconds apart at the HORR but Bristol won silver at BUSA in the champ eights with UWE not even qualifying (don't mention the lane draw -ED) the previous weekend, so you would have thought that the results of the men’s eight in the Bristol Lloyds TSB Varsity might have been a foregone conclusion.

but no, nothing so simple - instead the event saw its first ever dead heat after UWE tried their best to throw the race away.

Having already secured overall victory by winning the novice women’s, senior women’s event and taking the alumni race by five lengths, (albeit many of the guys in the two boats had not seen a blade in the last few years), with one notable exception being Peter Reed in the UWE five seat.

So it was the turn of the senior men to show what they could do in a race which had enough drama to put the novices to shame. For those wanting proof, the drama can be seen unfolding on lightoverwater.

It was all going to plan, Bristol eeked out a half length lead and then UWE’s gargantuan president caught a boat stopper.

As the slug never actually manged to make it to Bristol as promised, no one was there to save the crowd from Nige Mayglothling’s indecipherable commentary - at one point he got so excited and high pitched that only dogs could hear it.

The boat stopper was enough to make Bristol ease off but UWE soon got it back together and took the rating up to 49 to row through them. Then throwing it away once more, two of UWE’s rowers confused a boat's buzzer for the finish line and stopped rowing - seeing Bristol come back to secure a dead heat.

Unfortunately for those rowing (and the event in general) a decision to re-row was made... So much more dull! In the end, UWE, who wanted it more, took it home to win by a length over the dejected Bristol boys.

Bristol’s only win on the day came from the novice men who also took bronze at the BUSA regatta. Still, unless Nige was just spouting rubbish when inebriated at the post race ball - the Bristol boys will at least be able to console themselves by crying into their GB lycra at EUSA.

It would appear that the landlord of the Jolly Gardeners pub in Putney, has become rather fed up with groups of rowers causing trouble in his drinking establishement. The pub, off behind the High Street/Lower Richmond Road, has been colonised by Putney rowers over the last few years and Sunday nights have really become quite riotous ...

After a recent incident when the other boys in blue were called in to sort out some trouble, the landlord finally had enough and has now approached the Putney clubs and asked them to not go there in large groups.

Which pub is 'lucky' enough to pick up the trade remains to be seen, but let's hope they're all much better behaved from now on...

At Chiswick Regatta last weekend a distrubingly large number of school boats were presented to Control Commission in a very poor state. Rather unsurprisingly, most of these were found to be non-compliant with the Rules of Racing, and in fact one school presented six boats that were illegal under ARA rules.

Three sculling boats had badly fitted bow balls (one was also perished and split) that had to be temporarily 'fixed' using duct tape supplied by the Regatta - as the insulating tape produced by the school was somewhat inadequate for the purpose.

Two of the sculling boats had heel restraints that were too long and one sculling boat was presented with the hatch cover between the slides undone – the scullers explained that this was common practice at this school as the boats are carried from the water using the hatch access as hand holds, though this can't help but impact the integrity of the watertight seal over time.

Three other boats, fours and quads, were also presented where the heel restraints were either too long, missing, not fixed independently of each other or broke under test. On top of which one cox’n, diminutive and visibly underweight, had no dead weight provided by the school and was forced to scrape up pebbles from the foreshore and carry them in a Tesco bag.

Another school presented a sculling boat with a missing hatch cover that had been patched with some form of tape. This had deteriorated to the extent that the tape wasn't sticking to anything, so the school concerned used the highly technical solution of - brown parcel tape (ahem) to 'repair' this deficiency. Again, the Regatta’s duct tape was used as a very temporary 'fix' to enable the competitor to race, just about allowable, given the benign weather and river conditions.

Presumably all these defects (with the exception of the Cox’ns dead-weight) did not occur in the time between the last outing and the Regatta and crews from these schools must therefore have been training on the Tideway with deficient equipment.

The truely unbelievable thing about this, is that all the defects were and are easily spotted and cost pence to remedy, so there really is no viable excuse for it apart from shoddy coaching and administration by the school's concerned.


The slug wandered over to Wallingford Regatta last weekend, for a change to chew on the Dorney weed. But after arriving at Eric's garden pond, the feeling that we were in the wrong place became very strong... had the slug accidentally stumbled across the All Berkshire Range Rover and Labrador Show instead...??

But no, it was just the parents out in force, picnicking in the gorgeous 11 degree weather.

But alas they were not just picnicking, oh no, no no... for it appears that the enterprising parents have made a discovery since last year, namely the Dorney cycle path system... And why not? After all, What better way to follow the wee ones thumping down the course? One WJ15 4x+ heat had nearly 40 bikes chasing it, which is a lot of parents.

Now all this is fine, but for one key word: system. As in rules. For example, that the path to the start is the one further from the lake, so if you ride up on that one, you won’t get killed by the Tour De Novice 8s coming the other direction at speed.

For those who have never had the misfortune to experience it - let me assure you that it is not fun having to swerve to avoid running into a Radley parent - on his way to the start on a borrowed bike - while taking Spot for a run - to go and cheer Rupert in the J16 4x heats... Especially with 40 bikes coming up behind you... With everybody watching the rowing and not the bike path... (god forbid that more of them start trying it at HRR)

Elsewhere at the regatta, there was some classic muppetry on show when one school's eight tried to get attached bow on to the start pontoon... then got themselves jammed between two buoys when turning, but other than this causing 11 hours of racing to finish 4 minutes late, there was nothing of stunning interest on the water.

Pembroke College managed to get theselves DQ'd from S3 8. After declaring 16 pts on their entry form, they rather carelessly went on to win, so sent a sheepish email to the organisers following the race grovelling that they's just "realised" (??) that they actually had 17!!!! Oriel are now the winners but don't get any points as it wasn't declared on the day. Don't you just love Iffley Special School ???

Despite the behaviour of some of their parents, the athletes were very well behaved, polite, patient, and helpful, and it would appear that most coaches have finally twigged that it pays to teach their crews how to get attached (well, apart from Shrewsbury - ahem). Alas, boat safety checks revealed the usual glaring faults as happens every year e.g. the W's 4+ with bowball hanging off and 2 sets of feet totally unattached.

It's worrying to think what they've been rowing in all winter.

The only downside, was one or two rude spectators who were abusing regatta staff -

"who do you work for?"
"I'm a volunteer"
" F*** you and *** " etc etc.

Funny how money and education seem no guarantee of good manners!

On LRC's last night of training camp in Seville, they all went out for a "couple" of drinks. At about 1 am, when everyone’s speech was a bit impaired by a wonderful drink called "Vino de Naranja", the boys were rather taken by a blonde beauty, who stood out from all the other American exchange students that were surrounding the London/Liverpool Victoria posse.

The blonde in question was none other than minor American sleb Jessica Simpson and all credit to one of LRC's newest acquisitions (name kept incognito so his girlfriend doesn’t kill him) who even managed to get her to wear a fake gringo tash - Gonzo stylee...


Now, beat that Thames - who seem surprisingly silent about their antics on training camp - "borrowed" catamaran story anyone?