Wednesday, September 26, 2007

2007 CHAMPIONSHIPS REPORT

SANDGROUNDER SWINGS HIS PUDDINGS IN ROLLERCOASTER CHAMPIONSHIP RESULT!
What a Championship 2007 was!!!
Not only was there a record breaking number of entries at close to 900 (how soon in this millenium before the World Black Pudding Throwing Championships gets a three zero number of entries we wonder), but PUDSTOCK / PUDFEST was a treat to behold with an awesome line-up of bands that continues to grow and improve year on year.
Entries were taken from as far a Nigeria and Malaysia as the world-wide appeal of this ever challenging, fascinating and above all addictive sport continues to reach the parts of the world that other sports just don't.
The Championship was placed under a high security alert by rumours of a planned attempt by international criminals to steal the priceless Golden Grid, which is part of the ceremonial heritage of the event, and also serves as the contestants' oche. Intelligence reports surfacing in May suggested a 'real and imminent' danger, and the Grid was placed under heavy security. As a result, the traditional scottish piper was replaced this year by a military escort that accompanied the Grid from it's secret location, via steam train in an armoured carriage, to Ramsbottom Station. From here the military escort accompanied the Grid to the barks of the squad sargeant and the metronomic sound of precision marching. Close guard was maintained on the grid throughout the event, and thankfully there proved to be no attempt to steal the grid on the day.
The weather, as is customary for Black Pudding Throwing, was fit to melt clog-irons, and the new landlady at the Royal Oak, Elaine Singleton, was on hand to ensure that all contestants and organisers maintained adequate fluid intake.
The final, if not as spectacular a finale as last year, exhibited the ukelele-string tension that typifies many of the finest Championships, something that real pudding-throwing connoisseurs find far more satisfying as they wring their flat caps in anticipation.
For nearly four hours, Paul Rudge of Southport (known as Sandgrounders in those parts, on account of the fact that everyone builds their house on sandy ground - and presumably, as biblical wisdom would indicate, there are no wise men in the town! Although rumour has it that there are also no... oops!... better not go there!)
For nearly four hours, Paul 'Rollercoaster' Rudge of Southport, had to wait for his winning throw to be verified as the highest score. But as he wiped the sweat from his brow with white knuckled hands and absent mindedly chewed the famous Royal Oak window ledge, contestant after contestant stepped up to come within inches of equalling his score and knocking him off the top of the leader board.
At one point no less than six contestants were officially designated 'Yorkshiremen' (or 'one pudding short of a trophy') tied as they were in second just behind Rollercoaster Rudge.
But the Rollercoaster held on despite the butterflies in his stomach leaping up, like a naked burglar in a mousetrap factory, each time his puddings were threatened.
Closest of all were defending champion Tony 'The Puddingmeister' Burke, and past champion Steve 'Swaddler' Pilkington. Both pushed the Rollercoaster hard in the final ten minutes of the competition, resorting to a blistering pace attack that rattled the scaffolding at every throw.
The crowd cheered, they groaned, they felt the tension in the very heart of their being. The clock ticked down, and as one the multitude counted with it, TEN!...NINE!...EIGHT!...and between counts, an eerie silence, no traffic, no chatter, just pure focus and concentration...THREE!...TWO!.......ONE!
And it was all over! The Rollercoaster Reigns!
Meanwhile, on the junior platform, young Regan 'The Destroyer' Duckworth swept all before him to commandingly win the Junior Championships. This young talent amazed all present with his mastery of the 'yorkwise reverse seam lob', a technique seldom attempted by today's 'fast lobbers'. The reverse seam lob employs the magnus effect, in the same way that Beckham swerves a football, to loop the platform from the yorkwise (or eastern) stack of puddings before reversing it's delicate trajectory to clear the opposite stack. Could Regan be a future seniors champion. Experts agree that if he had stepped up, as allowed by the rules, and entered on the Senior platform, we could have been looking at the youngest winner since Sean Taylor in 2002
Finally, we have received no news as yet about our status as an Olympic Sport. Despite our shortage of medal hopes in other sports, there are real potentials for British glory in Black Pudding Throwing. With all the home nations in the top half of the World Rankings, and a British born World Champion three years running, Team GB would form the backbone of our Olympic hopes. A lobby group has been set up on Facebook and we hope to organise a petition via our new blog. Please post to the blog to lend your support... All Together Now... 'THREE PUDS ON MY CHEST....!'
And so another year draws to it's scintillating conclusion. Contestants will rest briefly before embarking on their strict training regimes, to get ready for the most eagerly anticipated sporting event of 2008
Be there on the second sunday in September 2008 for the next chapter in pudding throwing history. Swaddle yer puddings! LOB ON!

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