|GOLD FEVER RETURNS|
Readers may be interested to know that the BBC are currently filming the sequel to the sucessful Gold fever series, again featuring Mssrs Redgrave, Pinsent, Cracknell and Foster. Alas, for some reason the powers that be at the Beeb have decided against giving the boys their own cameras this time, and instead have been sending out a small camera crew to follow them round.
Anyway, it's been a busy couple of weeks for the cameras, what with following Sir Steve running the Marathon, Jim and Matt picking up gold at the World Cup in Princeton and um, filming Tim at UL making excuses about his back...
The slug isn't convinced that the new format will work as well as the personal approach, but I suppose we'll just have to wait and see.
|THE LAST LAUGH???|
The slug was amused to hear that despite the destruction of his Tideway Scullers kit, while on training camp with TRC last week (see below), it appears that Mr Green may still have the upper hand...
For it seems that Andy was organising the finances for the camp, and due to currency fluctuations, still has 40quid in reserve... which just happens to be enough to cover the purchase of one smashing brand new JL Scullers' all-in-one
live and learn.
|SHOW US YOUR NUS CARD?|
As ever, in the aftermath of BUSA, accusations are flying around as to whether members of at least two of the medallists in Championship eights were actually student members of the Universities that they represented.
A Mr suede ball bags was overheard moaning that members of both the Brookes VIII and the Nottingham University were not eligible... as to the whether these allegations had substance or were merely sour grapes, as his boys finished third, the slug does not know, though we did spot one Ms Quarrell coxing Brookes....
|BUSA 2001 COMEDY FESTIVAL|
Last Saturday saw the sun rise over Nottingham for the annual BUSA premier University Rowing Festival... Glistening water, rippling young muscles and close racing......? Not quite..
During the morning the heats for the lower status events trotted along quite happily in reasonable conditions, but the slug was not to be disappointed, and soon enough the god of costal rowing reared his head... up came the wind and out came the white horses.
The costal universities (who are used to training in crap conditions), wrung their hands with glee... but a spate of sinking coxed fours made the organisers, quite justifiably, suspend racing for a while at 1pm.... just as the visiting senior inter-regionals were due to start. However, the god of coastal rowing is a fickle beast and let it not be said that he has no sense of humour, for almost immediately that racing was postponed, the skies cleared and the wind dropped.
"Oh Slug, did they restart immediately?" I hear you cry... <
Well no... instead the organisers had another meeting and then declared that the Senior Inter-Regional Championships would start at 16:30 and BUSA would restart with a revised Draw at 18:00. (Though, to be fair the slug would like to point out that to run a single race down the course requires 90 people in boats or on land and it does take a little time for them to get into position.)
With the racing suspended for the afternoon, those who had turned up for the internationals were left pacing around wondering what was going on. At 4pm, the announcement came that, once restarted, all racing would be over only 1000m, not the original 2000m and that the Senior inter-regionals would be time trials, oh and competitors would have to come back for a second day to complete the events...
The allotted time arrived and out went the intrepid Inter-regional athletes and ploughed through worsening conditions, which made the men's quads look like six clouds of spray approaching the finish.
Finally after the lightweight women's coxless fours had nearly be blown off the course, the organisers decided to abandon racing with the men's coxed fours the only boats left to start... So having run all the races with the less experienced or less heavy crews in them, the biggest boats were stopped from racing... Men stepping on shore were heard to moan, "we paddled down in lane zero and it was fine, why couldn't we have done it as a head?"
As to why racing was stopped at this particular point, the slug cannot say, although it might be of interest to note that the chairman of BUSA, (being regional chairman of the Eastern reason) appeared slightly worried when observing that Thames Downriver were being Represented by London; and Thames upriver by Molesey. However, it is thought that East Midlands were to be represented by Notts county and so the slug is sure that a great contest would have ensued...oh well we'll just have to wait until Henley.
Readers of the slug familiar with the goings on at Thames Rowing club, will be aware that Andy "incredibly tall" Green has a nasty habit of defecting to Tideway Scullers and then crawling back to Thames when he gets fed up.
As if this behaviour wasn't bad enough, he also takes great delight in flaunting his Scullers' lycra in front of his black red and white crewmates at any opportunity, usually to a chorus of hissing and spitting. This blatant taunting has occurred on the Thames training camp for the last 2 years, so you will not be surprised to find out that various threats had been made. Indeed, the slug has heard that this year, it was decided that enough was enough - and one of the threats was carried out...
While on camp, the offending lycra was stolen from his laundry bag and taken into the woods where it was dyed black, and apparently, the whole incident was filmed a la Blair Witch - with a message at the end. The lycra was then washed and returned - although now the once bright red, yellow and white of TSS were more of an um... charcoal colour..
Keen to share this masterpiece of the film-makers art, everyone was invited to a screening at which 70+ people turned up, but sadly Mr Green did not. He has not mentioned anything about his lycra's new colouring and we think he assumes the French laundry system is to blame.
Of course this is not the first time such territorial behaviour has been observed at TRC as the slug remembers a certain female member's Thames Tradesmen RC kit being burnt and hoisted up the flag pole.
|TANTRUMS AND TOWPATHS|
It's been quiet down Henley way recently, but with the towpaths open again and things getting back to normal, the Slug decided to slime on down to see what was going on Upriver. And a delightful week was spent witnessing the silly season developing nicely.
Oh yes faithful reader, the Slug could not believe its feelers - for while slithering around the banks of God's River, its delicate sensibilities were assailed by rowers hurling abuse and arrogance around at one another. It is quite clear that every crew down there thinks that it is THEIR river, and theirs alone. Visiting crews from Thames were treated to a constant barrage of "when you're on this river, you must do this, that and the other in order to make ME very happy" type of instruction.
They could do no right.
While moving around, they were shouted at from the bank "while you're on this river, you must do etc etc etc", and while stationery, they were shouted at from other river users with the now familiar "when you're on this river etc etc etc".
But one must be fair - and never let it be said that the Slug does not report all the facts. For bad behaviour was not reserved solely for the visiting crews - indeed the Slug witnessed a fine display of stroppy behaviour from the perpetually premenstrual lightweight women - absolutely furious that some other local crews impeded their paddling progress by all of a small steering effort. Let us not forget that the river is theirs, and theirs alone.
Interestingly, the Slug also spotted some other squad individuals, out paddling and "enduring" the same annoyances of other crews occupying the same bit of river. But they were not observed hurling abuse, patronising advice or arrogant comments. In fact they were chatty, friendly and businesslike.
And why might this be?
Well, it did not go unnoticed that the more tolerant, well-behaved and - dare it be said - humble squad individuals all had medals to their names.
So the Slug calls upon all river users in the Henley area to take the utmost care, and be unstintingly generous when in the presence of an up-and-coming squad individual. Theirs is a hard lot, and they have every right to be rude to you. After all, you are a reminder of what they "once were", doing things that they would never do....
Yeeaaah - right.
Thanks to the wonders of modern communication, another snippet of information has reached the slug's little twitchy feelers from across la Manche and the Thames RC training camp... Overheard on Tuesday:Room Mate R (In a slightly accusational and possibly jealous tone): "You've been spending quite a lot of time on the phone to *Girl's Name* this week". (presumably his sweetheart back in Blighty)
Room Mate A: "Yes, I suppose I have"
Room Mate R (whistfully): "It must be worthwhile... it must be costing you a lot..."
Room Mate A: "Yes, I suppose it is..."
Room Mate R: "It's not perhaps because she enjoys phone-sex, that you have been ringing her so often?"
Room Mate A: "Well, actually, yes she does..."
The slug has heard that the people at UNL, who are organising La Boucle de Liège in Liège next month, have come up with a neat (if not slightly cheeky) way to calculate the handicap for a mixed veterans' crew:
"la moyenne d'âge du bateau est calculée en ajoutant 10 ans à l' âge des dames".
Seems Belgian women must stay younger (than Belgian men), for longer??
The slug was sliming around at Dorney lake at the weekend keeping an eye on the men's lightweight 4X time trials, when the crews were suddenly told to wait, as there was "debris in the water".... debris which, um.... soon turned out to be a Twickenham pair...
Abandoned by the main forces of the TwRC Mens Squad, Vet pair Brian and Nigel staged a valiant rearguard action at Dorney Lake to preserve the Honour of TwRC in the face of stiff competition for lanes from Tim Foster's crack UL stormbahn-rowers, and a squaddie girlie, or two (or three, or four; well, you get the idea)
Having successfully completed their first run down the course, our Intrepid (decrepit??) Heroes returned to the 1000m mark. Actual details are a little hazy, given the distance from the main boathouse, but the slug believes the ensuing conversation went something like this:Brian [to Nigel] 'We're a bit out-classed here, my son, but I've got a cunning plan....'SPLASH!!
Brian [to Tim Foster] 'Oi! Timbo! your crews might be a bit quick, and do all that clever square blade, an' stuff, but are they SAFE?'
Brian: 'Like, can they do the Official ARA Capsise Drill??'
Timbo: 'Wozzat?' [Man of few words, is Timbo]
Sadly for the Twickenham Vets, the drill was not entirely authentic, as they missed out the part about getting back in the boat and paddling on. Instead, they chose to walk back, carrying the pair from the top end of the course back to the car park.
This was apparently due to the cross-bar on Brian's gate somehow deciding that life was better at the bottom of Dorney Lake than staying on the 'Naz'. Which of course, was nothing to do with the Capsise Drill demo.
Still, at least the lads had one rigger by each seat on their pair, unlike the first time they went to Dorney this year, with the world's only coxed scull (and we've still got the video footage to prove it.....)
|MALE CREW BONDING|
It's seems it's not just the coaches at Thames who have a liking for men...
The club in black red and white are currently off for a week of training in France, but the slug was interested to hear that Charles "Chuck" Berry turned down the chance of sharing a room at camp with his beter half, Rosie... prefering instead to bed down with club captain, Ian Pritchard and suggesting that the rest of the men's squad could "play musical beds when they got there???"
Horrified by these relevations, a worried Mr Pritchard was last seen asking if anyone knew where he could buy a can of mace...
|CARING COACHING THE REEDY WAY|
The slug has heard a tale of woe and gore from the recent inter-regionals, where a London crew, stroked by star of Cilla Black's Blind date Phil "But I really love you Caprice" Vondra clashed badly with the Auriol Kensington crew they were racing about a minute into the piece.
Not your normal crash, it resulted in the handle of Mr Vondra's blade slicing through the side of the new Stampfli boat the Boys in blue were racing in, leaving a sharp ridge of carbon fibre exposed.. a sharp ridge that then sliced through poor Phil's finger.
With blood gushing over blade, boat and shoe, Mr Paul Reedy the LRC coach rushed over and annocunced that he was er..."going to restart the race" and they should turn around and go back to the start??
Let down by the man he should have been able to depend on, Phil whimpered at the prospect as he watched his life blood run out of him (all over his shoes). So he turned to the AK coaches for support and asked if they had a first-aid kit.. they passed him a medical wipe and a bandage but soon the race was on again.
Despite having lost "at least two pints of blood" which was all over the blade handle, making rowing rather 'interesting', I am informed that the LRC boys still managed to "whip AK's arse".
Once he was finally allowed out of the boat, our injured hero was whisked off to hospital by a crew mate to get 4 stitches in his finger, the nurse commenting "you mean he made you ROW like that" in disbelief. The medcial profession also sugested that a week off rowing to allow proper healing would be a good idea, but when this option was mentioned to Coach Reedy, the heartless antipodean replied "...week? you've had the afternoon off, I'll see you tomorrow"
oooh, so harsh!