The Tideway small boats head took place last weekend on a rather cold Sunday. As the Auriol Kensington run event was scheduled to have only about an hour between the end of the first division and the beginning of the second, many crews (especially those coming up from Putney), decided to just turn and stay on the water.
In the cold conditions, this would have been just about palatable if the second division had started on time, as many crews were in place for their second run by 1-45pm. Alas, the alloted 2-00pm deadline came and went and it wasn't until around 2-30pm that the first crews finally departed.
Many of the crews lower down the starting order were by now starting to resemble icecubes (and soon confirmed they were frozen almost solid by moving very slowly in the race).
The slug's twitchy feelers picked up a few rasied eyebrows as, although many representatives of the organising club were on time, it couldn't help also be noticed that several of the latest arrivals on the scene were also sporting pink and green kit. So late, indeed, to provoke evil thoughts that they could have left AK after the alleged start time ....
Slug readers of old, may remember that this is not the first time in living memory that similar allegations have been levied against the pink and green .... as previously reported gripes include crews waiting an age for an AK crew to appear, who then had the advantage of being warm and proceeded to win their event by 2 seconds ... in a race they also (totally co-incidently of course - cough, cough - Ed), timed.
Perish that thought...
|DIGGING THE DEPTHS..
Some bad news from Dorney lake where reports suggest that one of the gravel diggers managed to fall into the lake on Wednesday, trapping the driver underwater.
The incident is believed to have happened when the ground subsided while they were digging out the partition. Luckily it one of the rowingemcoaches who saw it happened managed to get the unfortunate (unconsious) driver out, but he had to be resuscitated and taken to hospital.
Meanwhile the JCB is still stuck under water, its arm visable around the 1500m mark and will probably pose a bit of a headache in getting it out. Of more relevance to the rowing community is the high liklihood an inquiry may be in order. All of which means that it looks like Eric's garden pond may be destined to stay at 1500m... for a rather long time to come.
So there was the slug was in the gym on Monday night when the Beeb news starting running a bit on whether Brits are really born losers (ie cricket induced whinging).
In an attempt to illustrate both sides of the arguement, they then proceeded to wheel in some winners :-
Take one Mr Cracknell and place him in a scull at Leander club - then pan out to a scenic shot of said scull paddling about in the dark... atmospherically backlit by the shop lights of Henley and car headlights...
ah yes...... for obviously a rowing superstar such as he glows so brightly that he doesn't need lights on his boat...
|A SIGN OF THE TIMES
Perhaps it was all down to weight - power ratio, combined with a fast stream and no wind, or maybe it's because top lwts tend to be a bit mad (which helps), but whatever the reason, the skinny boys walked off with the top four places in the nutter's head at the weekend.
Scrubber Tim Male steered a fine course to take a convincing first place, having started off at 102 and beating fellow squadie Hugh Mackworth-Praed into 2nd place by 3 secs. Hugh was sculling as Auriol Kensington rather than Leander - assuring him a raucous cheer as he passed Hammersmith... and the AK contingent did not disappoint shrieking "get out of his way Pooley" at the Crabtree sculler, as they went under the bridge.
The scullers' head often throws up results which look surprising, the inclusion of two Molesey Senior 4 scullers (Andrew Trigg-Hodge and Simon Fieldhouse) in the top 10, being this year's offering. Of course, their performances are less of a surprise when their sweep experience is taken into account, but a noteable effort all the same.
The move of the nutter's head to November from it's old position in the regatta timetable, seems to have been a success, but there were a large no of competitors who scratched (near to 100). This may seem a disappointing figure considering the good conditions and the amount that this event is oversubscribed but the organisers confirmed that they still had 50 more finishers than last year.
More amusingly, on Saturday afternoon, event organisers Vesta RC, got a phone call from inspector knacker of Scotland Yard. Apparently they'd received several nervous calls from various concerned Chiswick residents...
Surprisingly, it wasn't the large number of insane people in small boats that had worried them, rather the two maroons set off ahead of the start of the race... One of the approaches to Heathrow goes over the start line for the (Scullers) head ... and the shots were mistaken for attempts at shooting down aircraft preparing to land! ....
|DRY ANOTHER DAY?
After suffering the after effects of the OUBC wash-a-thon at the weekend, as their trial VIIIs (somewhat ironically named "health" and "safety") bombed up and down the river followed by their usual over exuberant launch drivers, it was nice to hear of a mystery launch driver who rescued a sculler without washing him down.
Saturday morning on a busy Tideway, a Kings College womens eight (displaying interesting bow rigging) had an encounter with Paul Brewster in his sculling boat just under Barnes bridge. This resulted in breaking the spoon off one of his sculls... Mr B did an excellent job of not falling in, and fortunately was just by his club house (TSS). Where Gary Watson (barman and coach) spotted his predicament and quickly got a launch out and rescued him (without tipping him in.. Very skillful)all to a chorus of cheers from the club balcony.
Having made it back to land without getting soggy, Paul then went and presented the dead oar handle to the guilty coxswain..
of course, while on the subject of wash, and before we post this year's poll, we should point out that even coaches who are normally low-wash, can be goaded into action if the right buttons are pressed.
The slug's spotted a fine example of this last Tuesday when Mr Seb "mini-giblets" Pearce the 14 year old IC cox and Mr Tinkler (in his zodiac), had a little contretemps when poor mini was coxing a novice womens four.
Being a mouthy little er...cox.... he told Mr T to stop "mincing around in his launch, after being washed down by him while no MA&A crews were in the area at all.
Richard obviously wasn't impressed with Mini's (He's 1/8th normal size) abrasive style and proceeded to perform doughnuts round the crew while threatening to throw Seb in the next time he sees him and calling him a "mouthy little shit"
|MUSIC SPEAKS LOUDER...
A slug reader sent us the following link recently, commenting
"I suppose this saves me saying it to all the launch drivers on the Tideway - and with a musical slant too! "
very threaputic... just don't play it in work.
|FRONT OF THE NET?
Just to prove there are always, at least two sides to every story...
(though we can confirm the offending Man-U phrase was indeed employed)
Picture the scene...this bloke walks into a coaches meeting, looking of average unfit-person athletic ability and says he has been rowing about 6 times and is looking for somewhere to learn to row with other novices and he is expecting to train 2 - 3 times a week.
After being told that LRC don't have the resources to cater for novices and don't run a novice squad as such, it is suggested that he might find a more suitable setup elsewhere on the embankment so perhaps he would like to try there and see what t aey have on offer..
He was also given a brief rundown of how often a week LRC expect people to train etc and he agreed it didn't sound right for him.
ahh, life is never black and white...
|BACK OF THE NET
Picture the scene, a fresh-faced provincial youngster, his first time down in the big smoke. He might be new but he's a keen one. He's not rowed much, but he's put in six weeks or so's practice at a lake near home in the north-west. His uncle, being a man of the world, suggests that when down in London he visits the similarly named rowing club.
So... timidly he enters the hallowed Blue halls, pushing his tall, slim frame (he's definitely the right shape) through into their bar, where he finds several of the senior members. Nervously he enquires about joining. His brief history quickly examined.... he wonders if he might be worthy.
One of the grumpy old men deals out an analogy, "we are to rowing as Manchester United are to football - does that answer your question?"
Suitably admonished and failing to think of a suitable response...he slinks out, wanders down the hard, finds a friendlier port and gets bought a couple of pints to soothe his ego.
However... the slug can't help but wonder, what could the old boy have meant....
A club which few others like, who aren't as good as they think they are?
SWIMMING LESSON no 2Never one to turn down a good challenge, the club in pink and green appear to be taking on the long established members of the TRC swimming club at their own game, after some of the AK boys managed to upend a 4- on the line of boats at Chiswick pier at the weekend (again a permanent fixture).
Once they had hit the mooring of one of the boats, their blade (which we think they'd bent in half whilst crashing) got caught up, which meant that, unable to move, the boat started to swamp leaving them with nothing to do but panic.
Three of them made it onto the substantial metal buoy which is there, leaving their other crew member with the boat, but luckily he managed to float off to the inside of Chiswick Eyot and was able to clamber out, while the other three made the decision to swim the short distance to land rather than wait for rescue and the onset of hypothermia.
Now bearing in mind this all happened about 100ft from where the RNLI are based, can you guess who was first on the scene??
Yup... Two coaching launches made it (one of which wasn't even on the water when they crashed) before the men in orange appeared.
By all accounts the crew memebers were slightly shocked but otherwise unharmed by their little adventure.
WOT A CORC-ER...It would appear that City of Oxford are the latest club to release a nudey calendar, so those who are lamenting the nearing demise of last year's effort from Putney town can rest assured that they will be able to feat their eyes on wobbly bits and wellies for another year.
The slug was slightly concerned to see a familar face or two amongst the preview pictures... (cue bad jokes about boatmen and tools... Ed ) but can't say I was really that surprised...
don't try this at home children...
Get your own copy of this (hopefully) never to be repeated flesh-fest from the CORC website.
THAT WOULD BE A BARGE THEN...On Saturday, the slug spotted a new member joining the illustrious ranks of the Thames Rowing Club Swimming Section, but this was no learner sculler... oh no faithful reader, rather this was TRC High Performance Programme coach Mr G. Stubbs, who er..... managed to vacate his coaching launch.
Picture the scene, Mr Stubbs was out with a gaggle of girlie scullers between Putney and Wandsworth Bridges when he managed to er.... drive into the cage thing attached to the PLA barge. That would be the BIG GREEN barge, which is, of course, a permanent fixture.
Having been introduced to a large metal thing at speed, the front of the launch goes up while the back of launch goes into water ... aided, of course, by Stubbs' mass (he used to be a lightweight you know) and he's left with a situation kind of a cross between the endings of Titanic and The Italian Job (but sadly lacking in glamour), as the launch nearly sits on it's end and every little move he makes, causes it to ship yet more water...
Eventually, rather thank sink, entirely he abandons ship.
Now the talents of the scullers come in handy. There is the relaxed, cool Australian (Anna Crawford), unflappable in a crisis, and there is junior doctor Aimee Di Marco, who keeps track of his remaining survival time. Stubbs is in the water for 15 minutes while he swims the launch to the side and empties it out.
Safely back in his launch a rather soggy Mr S returns to the comforting sympathetic surrounds of TRC, where the classic comment comes from Lou Engel:
"I hear Gary went in, how terrible". Pause. "I WISH I'd been there to see it".
Lou, you're not the only one....
PENALTY SPOTSBoth of Quintin's men's quads received a 20 sec time penalty at the fours head last Sat, for committing the sin of rowing past crews still waiting to race, while returning from the finish to their boathouse. This rule is not new, but both crews claim that one marshall told them they could proceed, while another gave them the penalty, and that other crews around them weren't penalised for doing the same thing.
Whilst their griping might simpy be attributed to the usual Quintin paranoia of being unfairly penalised, from a safety angle (they were soaked and fast chilling down after racing) they may have a point, and having to sit beind the last crews to race before getting back to their clubhouse, does put those clubs boating from near the start at a disadvantage to those at Putney who have no such requirement.
Although the slug knows, all too well, the difficulties in herding 550 crews in order, down to the start, maybe there is an alternative that could be investigated by the organisers. The QBC boys also noted that Thames only got a 5 sec penalty for swearing... (can't have been too rude then...Ed)
Mortlake meanwhile, managed to have two of their crews hit each other, one returning up the bank (well clearly not up the bank but more out in the river) below Hammersmith Bridge, and the other still racing. At least it makes arguing about whose fault it was easier, but what are the odds of that happening?