|DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME
The slug found the attached picture lurking in the old in-box yesterday, and what a fine example of the effects of too much excess at Peterborough regatta, it is ( click thumbnail to see enlarged).
What you may be surprised... nay astonished, to know, is that the gentleman in question (known only as "BIG G"), went on to win Elite 8's with Worcester RC a mere 12 hours later...
Quite how, we're not sure... all I can say is that the other seven must have been good (that or the opposition was in an even worse state....)
Readers of the slug may be interested to know that Kingston Amateur Regatta was held this year, without pots for the winners (due to a botch up with the delivery we believe).
However, if you look closely at the accompanying photo on the right (click to enlarge), you will see that the organisers did have a few left over from last year's regatta... and the Furnivall Sn3 women's VIII were allowed to touch one of these, following a win against Thames RC and Walbrook & Royal Canoe Club RC.
|MOVE OVER DARLING
The slug is concerned that Leander may have lost their Captain, after our national rowing treasures, Pinsent and Cracknell were recently spotted out paddling in an Empacher 2- with 'Quintin Boat Club' emblazoned on the side.
Rumour also has it that an order has been placed with the same German boat maker, heralding a change from the old blue and white. It looks like the virtual monopoly Aylings had on squad boats in the past, may have gone down the tubes after their recent acquisition by Lola.
The word on Chiswick Beach is that they noticed the name on the boat while racing the South African pair at Henley and approached 'The Empacher Breeding Centre' for a trial.
Unfortunately the loan has also meant that the QBC treasurer has had to delay the start of his training schedule for Vet G pairs at Barnes & Mortlake International while he waits for the boat to be returned.
Unfortunately, Mssrs C and P will miss Munich while they await delivery of their new vessel, but the slug will be watching with interest at Seville for conclusive evidence of that old rule of thumb (as oft quoted by many a Senior 3 club rower), that yellow boats make crews go faster, as no doubt, will the Australians...
The subject of what present to buy your coach at the end of the season can be difficult, but when OUWBC coach Gordon Buxton announced his retirement (in the Frank Sinatra style of retiring) earlier this year, the choice was an obvious one.
Knowing that their coach had long coveted one of the "Osiris" blazers, the grateful girls decided to club together to buy him one, and present it to him during the tea interval at HRR, so that in future years, he could swan around the regatta in true style! (as set out in the rabbit's guide)
Now, purchasing a blazer requires the measurements of the intended wearer and obtaining these without the wearer's consent was never going to be easy. However, not for nothing did the chairwoman and treasurer of the Oxford old girl's association obtain degrees from Oxford. Unfazed by their challenge they simply made a social call to the coach in question, and whilst one kept him talking, the other popped upstairs and liberated a shirt from his wardrobe.
But unfortunately, a further setback occurred when Walters ("the gentleman's shop") announced that a shirt was an inadequate model from which to make a blazer and so our intrepid rowers were back to square one: a new strategy was required.
It wasn't long before they spotted their chance, as it emerged that Gordon had gone on holiday and another former rower had a spare set of keys, so they set about re-entering the house in search of more conclusive data. This time removing a blazer was a simple process and was sufficient to obtain the correct girth of Mr Buxton
Alls well that ends well, though it seems the nice man in Walter's had to do some evasive talking when Gordon wandered in of his own accord and asked to buy a blazer!
|CHAMPING AT THE BIT?
As promised a while ago, more ranting about the Nats... ( and this is the toned down version)
The 2002 National Championships at Holme Pierrepoint saw some of the poorest performances ever seen at a major rowing event in the UK. Astoundingly, these complete shockers were not in the slightest bit perpetrated by the competitors on the water, but by a far more insidious presence; the commentators.
It is fair to say that, despite the fact that our sport is no longer restircted to "Amateur" status, no one earns more than a few pence as a result of their aquatic endeavours (er... unless you're called James or Matthew), but it is the view of this humble reporter that some hint of professional standards should be maintained.
Alas, this was not always the case, as the ineptitude, incompetence and complete lack of enthusiasm of some of the commentators, was belted out at maximum volume for everyone to hear, even those poor competitors struggling away 8 lengths down, who were described as “hopelessly out-classed”, while hearing mid race that “the result of this event was a foregone conclusion after 500 metres”.
The slug should also mention the fiasco caused by a certain female commentator (who's name unfortunately escaped the clutches of this reporter), during the women’s eights, when she incredulously described the Twickenham women’s eight as “actually looking like they know how to row”. We would, of course love to know whether the posterior of this particular commentator has graced a rowing seat in the past 20 years, and whether these same buttocks would be able to put on a demonstration of our rowing that is any less hilarious than that offered by your average novice eight.
Who knows what secret chip sits on her shoulder, but surely slagging off crews who have trained hard all year to put in a good performance, when they are able to hear every word during their heats, is neither fair nor very professional. Now the slug is all in favour of entertaining commentating, but we do feel there should be a certain standard maintained and the effect on the crews, while in ear-shot, should not be underestimated.
More eyebrows were also raised when one of the starting umpires demanded, that an eight straighten their boat at the start of their race by passing bow’s blade to two, a technique we know as scratching. This was, however, physically impossible, due to the ERB rigger design on the girls’ boat. Despite being told repeatedly by the crew that there was no way they could do what was being asked, the umpire kept on ordering them to pass the blade forward...
On Saturday afternoon, a junior ladies sculler had a wee bit of a moment off the start and unfortunately came to grief after learning that sculling boats don’t Eskimo roll. The umpire following the race came to the stricken girl’s aid leaving the rest of the (upright) competitors to get on with it, but this still didn’t stop another umpire launch and the ‘rescue’ launch from barrelling into the scene of the accident creating mile-high washes, and nearly drowning the aforementioned stricken sculler in the process.
This reporter wonders (should he ever race again), whether he can request that the ‘rescue’ launch stay well away from him unless :
(a) he has been torpedoed,
(b) he is being attacked by the Loch Ness monster, or
(c) the launch is manned by someone who knows what he is doing.
Finally, Sunday morning saw the hilarious sight of the Molesey men’s eight rowing enthusiastically into a moored pontoon on the way to their final. Those of you who know the Holme Pierrepoint course will know that this is easily done, due to the proliferation of bends and tides that make compasses and maps a necessity for coxing the course.
Whilst Molesey were trying to extricate themselves from their position, a passing coach from Vesta was heard to remark, “Ah, it couldn’t have happened to a less arrogant club…”
|THE SHAG TREE
Long time readers of the slug will remember the intense nervous interest generated in the rowing community by the mere mention of the Molesey web of shame. Well, it would seem that they're no longer alone, for following an intensive session over the weekend, involving copious amount of beer, tequila and wagers, a crack research team at Kingston Rowing Club set about creating the club's "Shag Tree", showing who had "enjoyed" each other's company.
The elite group, armed with only a fistful of crayons, a large sheet of paper, mobile phones and a keg of Stella set to work with vigour, but within the first hour had realised that Pandora's box had been well and truly opened... linking all major Thames clubs with each other, as well as many further afield (and back again, not necessarily by the same route).
The moral of the story in the run up to the summer regatta season....?
6 degrees of separation (shurely 2 degrees...Ed) DOES exist in the sordid world of summer regattas, so if you're thinking of misbehaving you really are asking for trouble!
While on the subject of the club in red and white, readers who noted the slug's Henley report, of a certain gentleman being escorted out of the Falling over bar in Stewards, despite wearing a frock well below the knee, may find the following photographic evidence of interest (check out the look on the security guard's face)
Picture the scene, some members of the GB women's squad were having a meeting with the squad food technologist about improving diets etc... and eating the right nutrients and calories when jokingly, one squad member suggested that a Cadbury's Creme Egg could be the perfect food... after all it contains all the nutrients they need (fat, carbo, more fat etc...and well, it is an egg!)
The food technologist (Jacky) retorted, that they couldn't (quite rightly) get all the calories they needed from eating these eggs alone. Yet a certain athlete persisted, and worked out that they needed to eat 21 creme eggs a day to get sufficient calories.
But after leaving Jacky (who was probably in a mood of despair), the idea refused to lie, as for, for two individuals, this represented a challenge: to consume the suggested daily calorific requirements for an elite athlete purely from Creme eggs (er - on top of what they'd normally eat...)
So over a period of hours, they stocked up and off they went....
To cut a long story short, one athlete bailed out after eating eighteen. The other, however, made it to an impressive, if sick making, twenty two! Only stopping because she ran out of creme eggs!
And who were these two fine specimens dedicated to nutritional advancement in the sport of heavyweight rowing...?
Katherine Grainger and Sarah Winkless
(beats eating lettuce...)
|TURMOIL AT THE TOP
The following choice comment about the GB men's 8, was overheard while chewing on the vegetation in Lucerne...
"It takes real effort to get a crew of that calibre to go that slow."
Readers will probably not be surprised to learn that since round 2 of the WC, the eight has been re-jigged with the 2nd heavyweight four ( the boy Biff, big Ben Burch and friends ) being moved into the 8, while golden boys: Mssrs Grubor, West and Trapmore, have been moved out into the 4 along with Mr Stallard)
On an even more worrying note the slug has been told that the blue eyed Scotsman has suceeded in landing himself a seat in the lightweight eight...
It's all just too much for the slug, time to lie down in a darkened room I think.
The slug points the finger of blame at Molesey for the treatment of their cox after their eight came third in the Nat champs final and their bowman threw his medal into the lake. They were spotted ganging up on her in the car park and by all accounts it got pretty nasty.
There's really no excuse for that sort of behaviour, especially from allegedly experienced oarsmen.
Shame on you.
Following on from the recent attack of the stomach bug at the Pink Palace, "someone in the know" suggested the slug might like to take a closer look at the medal winning Queen Mother quad, because, what the slug had overlooked, was the other crews in the event, or should I say - the lack of...
Now we all know that the lightweight Leander composite quad had to withdraw from the Queen Mother due to two illnesses, but.... this was supposed to be a straight final...yet did the other crew, the Leander composite British heavyweight quad withdraw?
No. They rowed over the course to pick up their Henley Medal. The most worthless medal in history - because they didn't even have to do a qualifier. So they've won a Henley medal in an Open event by beating...er..... no one.
Who was the individual in the crew who wanted that little red box so badly that he made the decision to row?
Step forward one Simon Cottle??
|ILLNESS, DUCKS, APPLE TURNOVERS AND
THE HARRY PARKER SHOW
Finals day at the Royal started in the early hours on Sunday morning with several of the Leander boys phoning their coaches complaining of stomach pains, vomiting and other unpleasantries. The Leander coaches instantly suspected that food poisoning might be to blame, the crew buffet being the main suspect, but after it became obvious that the stroke of the Harvard Temple crew was also suffering, some people were claiming it might be gastric flu, though it's not yet clear if the 2 'outbreaks' are related.
The sickness resulted in a delay to the Fawley, to let the ill Leander 2 man re-hydrate. In the meantime, his crewmate at 3 Peter Gostling, jumped into the Leander VIII, to replace another sick oarsman and won his first medal of the day. When the quad raced in the afternoon, they had a tough battle with Windsor school, but crossed the line first. Mollison looked in a bad way afterwards, his decision to row despite being ill, making their victory all the more impressive and landing Peter his 2nd Henley medal in 4 hours.
A double Henley medal was also achieved by the stroke of the winning Harvard Brit crew - Graham O'Donoghue, who replaced the stroke of the Harvard Temple eight, winning a very close race against Oxford Brookes and preventing Brookes from avenging their defeat in the Temple last year. Harvard also won the Ladies Plate final against Molesey.
In one of the more bizarre events of the day, the final of the Visitors was re-rowed after Brookes/IC successfully argued that killing a goose by Remenham club had affected the result of the race. The announcement was only made an hour after the first row, by which time Cambridge had de-rigged their boat (though luckily hadn't got round to hitting the Bridge Bar).
In the re-row, Brookes/IC were behind for the first half of the race but rowed through to earn their medals. After the crews got back to the competitors' enclosure, tensions were running high and there was nearly a punch up between the two camps, not that there's ever been much love lost between Brookes and Cambridge...
Philip won thePhilip when the Molesey/Brookes crew, featuring the boy Biff, and big Ben Burch in the stern pair, stomped on Cambridge uni in the final of the Prince Philip challenge cup. The crew will be racing coxless at Lucerne next week, so not a bad result in advance. Well done chaps.
Some unexpected results in the other Open events included Pinsent and Cracknell nearly losing it to the South Africans at the end of the Goblets final, when they had a bad patch and nearly hit the booms. Their rowing was far from pretty and the general consensus is that they'll need to be a bit cleverer about it, if they're going to stand a chance against the Australian pair of Tomkins and Ginn in Lucerne next week.
Finally, with both Matt Beechey and Steve Lee, suffering from the lurgy, the Leander/Molesey crew withdrew from the Queen Mother, leaving the Leander/UL crew to row over.
The other crew had also been hit by illness, leaving bow man Pete Gardner with the option of pulling out and handing his replacement a Henley medal on a plate, or rowing the course (very slowly) and collecting it himself. Unsurprisingly he picked the latter option, though I'm sure he could have made a bit of money if he'd been taking bids for his seat!