Edition number 20; dateline 17 June 2008

Change for the locker still required
No sooner had Row Z reported that the Welsh were letting their children swim free than the Westminster government followed suit and announced a convoluted plan to let everyone doggy-paddle gratis. Quite whether the IOC will view this development as fulfilling LOCOG’s legacy promise remains to be seen but since even Boris Johnson has seen through the persiflage and “criticised the failure to develop a comprehensive legacy master plan” we can assume others may catch on eventually.

“Mudguard: are you ready?”
True story. It seems that two young men employed by Leicester Tigers’ community department were marooned on the Loughborough University campus on the afternoon that Tigers’ first fifteen were due to play Gloucester in the semi-final of the Guinness play-offs. Twickenham beckoned and the chaps naturally wanted to watch the game so hied off to the ‘union’ of “the country’s premier university for sports development, research and education”, where they were virtually the only people watching the ‘big game’. With only the final quarter to be played and Tigers coming back into things after a poor first half, the bar began to fill up. Had word of the local side’s come-back filtered out? All became clear with ten minutes on the clock when a reminder flashed up of a programme on another channel. Apparently the television was ‘booked’ and the bar staff turned it over, leaving our heroes to perform a Le Mans-style dash for their motor and a frantic search for a pub with a television tuned to rugby. And the programme that had dragged so many of the next golden generation from their books? Gladiators.

Stand by your phones
Those of you with a strong stomach should be pencilling the legend “Check TLR” on the 2 July page in your diaries. Those of you with one of these fancy-Dan, new-fangled pocket computer things had best get a nine-year-old to do it for you. Why? Because that is the first chance you will get to read the full, unexpurgated industry view of Jennie Price’s master-plan. Rather than regurgitate the media release in which various beneficiaries trumpet their not-unexpected support for the latest new strategy, TLR is promising to go behind the headline, get to the nitty-gritty and do something else in a vaguely tabloid vein, all intended to make us believe they did something other than ring round a couple of old pals for a goss. Mind you, when your pals are running governing bodies, county sports partnerships and leading consultancies perhaps their view is worth a quick look. Only one way to find out.

Outshone in the sunshine
It is always nice when at a summer sporting event to indulge in a little people- watching. Television directors, of course, join in with a will. Drunks in fancy dress at the cricket, women (always women) asleep at the golf and a parade of celebrities, major and minor, at the tennis. Don’t ask why the woman who does the books was watching the Artois tournament last weekend when she should have been shopping, gardening or getting the washing in (her words) but she reports a remarkable spot. First set of the Nadal/Roddick semi-final and it’s a beautiful summer’s day. After footling about with shots of passing war planes on their way to Trooping of the Colour the director gets down to the real work of finding a celebrity in the stands; and who does he spot but everyone’s favourite auntie, Cilla Black. Fantastic. But who is that sitting next to the Liverpudlian song-bird-come-television-hostess? None other than our own Sue Campbell, ligging like a good ‘un and going completely unrecognised by the stumbling, bumbling commentary team who named everyone in vision except the most powerful woman in British sport herself. Off with their heads!

The price of everything: job done
Row Z is not enamoured of Mr K Pietersen and all he stands for. There, we've said it. The ability to tonk a cricket ball out of the ground wrong-handed does not a gentleman make and the general feeling around the office is that this particular jumped-up Yarpie should go back to the land of his birth, accent and bad manners, taking his reverse sweep with him. Sideliner, having spent his Saturday afternoon nursing a warm beer beyond the boundary rope as Holy Trinity Dinting’s second XI battled it out with Hawk Green (he thinks), offered only this quotation as evidence of what is wrong with our summer game in general and KP in particular: “If I was a fast bowler,” said the man himself, “I would be in the nets all day every day perfecting the art of the yorker and make myself the best yorker bowler if the world,” Because Kevin? “Because my price would go through the roof.” Exactly.


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