01-04-03 ON THE HEAD
The men's head was relatively uneventful this year, as the weather behaved itself, no body ran into the black buoy and only one crew were disqualified.

A strong foreign entry helped itself to five of the top 20 places, but no-one managed to come close to Leander I, which was stuffed full of familiar national rowing treasures who easily powered their way to a 20 sec victory. Second place went to a strong Molesey crew, which also featured current GB internationals.

The drugs police were out at force at Putney this year, pulling in crews as they rowed back and plucking test victims who were escorted into LRC until they could produce a sample, leaving the rest of their crew hanging around waiting for them to return and finish the row home.

Peter Haining was one of those selected for testing, the fourteenth time he's been tested during his rowing career, which is surely a record. The slug can reveal that the blue-eyed Scotsman did in fact, test positve for bullshit, but as that only enhances past performances, he was allowed to leave...

Full race results are available HERE
and some piccies HERE

On the subject of river rules, the slug wonders at what point does using the exemption to the normal speed limit for launches accompanying rowing boats in training, become taking the piss?

Picture the poor individual who did a passable "rabbit in headlights" impression near Hammersmith Bridge on Saturday afternoon when faced with Oxford and Leander racing on a collision course with his cruiser, followed by NINE launches of various sizes, spread across most of the river.

When it became obvious that the two eights weren't going to stop or change course, the cruiser just about managed to dodge out of the way. We dread to think what could have happened if the flotilla had encountered a group of scullers or a novice crew...

Conditions at the women's head on Saturday brought a reminder of last year's cancellation, as strong winds whipped up the water through most of the first half of the course, despite the perfect blue sky above.

Crews starting at the front of the pack, got the worst of the wind as it had died down slightly between Chiswick and Barnes by the time crews in the second half of the draw came through the start. The approach to Hammersmith bridge remained messy for the whole race and overall, conditions favoured heavier crews.

With the draw being based on the 2001 finsh order, the year when the foot and mouth scare prevented most of the usual foreign crews from attending, there was an unusually large number of elite crews starting off in the mid 140s, at front of the new starters. Despite the Pink palace doing their best to poach good quality internationals with which to stack their hallowed walls, it was the international composite crew, coached by Miles Forbes-Thomas, who showed what they were made of, cruising home to take head, a comfortable 30sec in front of Leander.

Surprisingly, the composite crew that took head, gave Thames RC their only taste of victory, as they failed to take home any of the penants for the first time in some years. Interestingly, it was the girls in blue from the LRC-rent-a-cox scheme, who struck gold, with Charlie and Lottie steering home first and second place, London RC had representation in four crews in the top 50!!

To the relief of the organisers the event went smoothly without any major incidents. Indeed the only 'incident' that caused much radio traffic, was when Upper Thames rowed back with a bloke at 7. Which someone clocked and then every umpire up the river commented on until they eventually got out at Chiswick.

It turned out to be nothing sinister as their 7-girl had rushed off and catch a plane, which was subsequently borne out by the video record at the finish, confirming that they had indeed crossed the line with 8 wimmin on board. The slug can't help but that think the crews around them might JUST have noticed a large man at 7, particularly since he was about 6ft 9, and wasn't wearing the same kit as all the rest of the crew were.....

12-03-03 THERE'S NO FOOL...
Made the front page this time... www.sundaymail.co.uk/news/page.cfm?objectid=12714802&method=full&siteid=86024

oh dear.

Sunday's Boustead cup match, saw a hwt Thames crew walk off with the trophy for the third year on the trot, following a close race battled out with LRC over the length of the course.

Thames took the advantage off the start, then managed to sit on the (mainly lwt) boys in blue, resisting their attempts to claw back the distance and winning by 1/2 length in a time of 17min 18seconds, (which should give you some idea of how fast the stream's running at the moment).

In the other two races, LRC won, though the slug did notice that Thames seem to be a bit short of decent veteran men as they had to stack the crew with someone who actually knows how to row...

Reading head wasn't the only casualty of the recent heavy rain, as the Oxford Torpids (that's the lent bumping races if you're Tab-tastic) were cut short by a day, after the river went to full red board on Friday.

Despite the untimely end, Friday's racing provided plenty of entertainment, especially in the women's first division, when the bow of the Pembroke women's 1st VIII, decided that the PCBC men didn't deserve all the press attention for trashing their boats and caught a monster crab -- ejecting herself out of the boat and into the murky waters below. General chaos ensued as they were bumped by Oriel but nobody in the following crews realised what had gone on.

On the men's side, Oriel 1 stayed head despite wearing some of the most revolting lycra the slug has ever had the misfortune to lay eyes on.

We would just like to point out that whoever is responsible for putting them into full length shiny WHITE leggins, should be arrested by the RSPCR and never allowed near a kit shop ever again. Think of the emotional scars he's inflicted...

It would appear that the police had a bit of a result yesterday, when they raided the old Aylings site which was vacated when Lola bought them out last year.

By all accounts, rather than finding an empty building, they instead found that the plant had been put into 'good' use as er... the biggest Cannabis factory in the UK.

The slug suspects that the recent occupants have probably made more money in the intervening months than the would be boat-builders.

All gives a new perspective on "Pot Hunting"

06-03-03 PEM-BROKEN
The Oxford festival of comedy rowing continues apace, but we can't pass without mention of a spectacular "whoops" by Pembroke's 1st men's crew on the first day of racing.

Despite starting off in 2nd place in the first division chasing Ooooorieeeeel for the head, their plans for world domination were somewhat scuppered when they bumped a tree instead and ended up.... bottom of the 1st Division, after being bumped by the following 11 crews.

Then to add insult to injury, some sod was around to record the post crash carnage for posterity. Click the thumbnails to enlarge -- will open in new window...

06-03-03 ACT YOUR AGE
Overheard in a club bar, somewhere near Hammersmith... during a vet women's crew de-briefing after a head race on Sunday..

"well, at least we went over at X, like we planned"

"yeah, but you still can't stroke your age..... "

26-02-03 CRASH, BANG...
Collisions were the order of the day on the Tideway last weekend, with the slug hearing of at least two unfortunate incidents. Read on and take note...

Saturday saw a Vesta 8 (fortunately not their new, still unnamed one) come a cropper, when their cox, proceeding along the line of boats at Putney with the tide, managed to take the eight between the 2 hulls of the catamaran (belonging to Chas Newens) moored on the line of boats at Putney

It turns out that the cat was on a loose mooring (after some anonymous craft moored to it illegally a couple of weeks ago and dragged it out of position) and at lower tides it is tending to drift out of line, sometimes by 30 feet or more - right into the racing line.

The eight were coming to end of a piece --rating about 34, flat out -- at a comfortable gap from the moored boats, but the cox (who'd passed the boats earlier, when the cat was properly in line) only saw the obstacle at the last moment. There was only time for a quick warning which slowed the boat slightly before the eight went under the cat, between the two hulls, to about the 4 man.The crew backed it out but the boat will need lots of attention from Eric Sims...

The bow man took the brunt of the collision as his rigger exploded, his blade broke and his almost brand new Oakleys bought it . He also needed some medical attention and is now sporting a lovely Beckhamesque crossed-dressing over his right eye.

On the plus side, no other boats involved and there were no serious injuries.

The second incident happened on Sunday and also involved a Catt, one who was supposed to be acting as a lookout in the launch while accompanying the Impaler on an LRC coaching session.

Alas, it would seem that neither Ms Campbell nor Mr Reedy saw the LRC veteran sculler before they er..... ran him over.

Impaler 1, sculler 0

We've all been there... the plan to have a 'few' drinks the night before an early morning outing, turns into the mother of all drinking sessions, so spare a moment of empathy (if not sympathy) for the poor unfortunate oarswomen who sent the following email apology to her crewmembers ... (This is from the boat who usually meets up for outings at 6.30am, twice a week.)

To set the scene, the rower in question normally sits at No.6 ... but she was looking so green - that it was decided she would cox (and the usual cox rowed) ... read on ...

" Dear early rower types,

I just wanted to offer my most sincere and humble apologies for inflicting my stinker of a hangover on you all yesterday morning. Especially sorry to stroke, who had to sit opposite me as I leant out the boat to throw up lots. Maybe now I'll learn that drinking and exercise are just not compatible activities.

Anyway, I really am sorry for wasting your time. I promise to be good in future. In fact, I've given up drinking for a month, just to test my theory that I am actually an alcoholic.

See you tomorrow "