Edition number 2; dateline 1 July 2007

In the front row
What a momentous time to be launching a column onto the murky waters of sport and leisure with The Broon trundling into Number 10 and Richard Caborn moving out of the sports  minister’s chair to focus on soccer. We wonder whether he will notice the difference. And will we, common cogs in the mighty machine that is the sports system, have our lives materially affected by whichever faceless Gordon clone with a newly minted Premiership season ticket as his only sporting credential takes over? From our seat at the back of the stand we can summon little energy to care either way. However, we are exercised by the appointment of Tessa Jowell as the minister for the Olympics, London and the South East and await with bated breath the announcement of the Minister for the Olympics in the Midlands and North of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

By any other name
2012 is drawing foreign coaches and opposition to the UK like flies to dog poo and UK Sport’s communications team do a grand job of keeping us informed. Recently we were told, for example, of developments at British Volleyball. It transpires that our women are to play Switzerland and that our new coach, Lorne Sawula, used to coach them. As it says on the UK Sport website: “Lorne Sawula was Switzerland coach from 1990-93, where she led them to a bronze medal at the FISU Games in her final year.” All very interesting and exciting for the team and no doubt for Sawula. Just one teensy detail is amiss however; Lorne is a big, rough, tough Canadian BLOKE.

Nottingham or bust
Like so many of the target audience for the National Sports Development Seminar, Sideliner was informed that there was “no money in the budget” to fund the attendance of underlings – only to find that the boss was going! You can read elsewhere, therefore, the official TLR view of the event but we will give the view from Row Z seen through that most astringent of lenses – the rumour mill. We were overjoyed to hear that the talismanic little Welsh woman Bev Smith was on form, in charge and looking really well. One of the nicest people in sport has had a hard time in the past twelve months – above and beyond the angst generated by Mr Punch of Loughborough – but she seems to have come through and developed a taste for Sambuca on her journey. The low point of the two days, it seems, was the treatment by Mr Bullyboy of Loughborough of a young 2012 hopeful who might well be leaving synchro swimming in search of a more empathetic environment any time soon.

Cheerfully cheering Chearsley
As yob behaviour invades cricket’s Twenty20 county competition, we bring you notice (courtesy of the free copy of The Oxford Times provided by Jaeger on the Cornmarket in the eponymous city) that at the lower end of the performance pyramid similar encroachments are being fought off with a will. It seems that the Chearsley club from near Thame in Oxon has been docked 120 league points and had no fewer than four players banned after “sledging and swearing” that involved “a lot of nasty sexual innuendo”. Row Z applauds the Cherwell League and its secretary Peter Tomlin for their stance in protecting village cricket from the curse of creeping yobbery and would align ourselves foursquare alongside Peter when he describes the whole affair as “particularly nasty”.

Row Z
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