In Not the News today (content may offend) there was surprise, and some confusion at the World Rowing Championships at Lake Karapiro as the event came to a close.
In a triumph of misunderstanding, the Saharan International Rowing Team, not previously seen or expected, appeared lakeside and immediately set about verbally abusing any other teams they could find.
Peter Taylor and Storm Uru look on unamused by the antics of the Saharan rowers. Photo by Colin Morison Photgoraphy.
Mystified officials tried to restore order, but soon became embroiled in a row over their participation.
‘We come here to row, don't care who with,' said a man who appeared to be their team captain, and later identified as Iben Dis'ear.
I managed to get a word with him, and discovered that this largely Arab based team had travelled overland for six weeks, purely in search of world class rowing – or as he put it ‘row, bloody good argument, whatever!'
Apparently a good row passes the long nights in the desert, and is seen as a culturally significant sign of intellectual ability.
‘The chance of international competition was too good to miss,' added team coach Ahmed Issinu.
Once the problem had been identified, sympathetic officials arranged an informal afternoon row with volunteer teams. There was almost an argument over who should go first with the Welsh pushing in ahead of the keen Aussies on the chance of a free spat.
Nothing like a good row to please the fans. Photo by Colin Morison Photography.
Eventually a highly experienced Scots team represented the collected oarsmen and women, and provided an entertaining, if not unexpectedly good, standard of cut and thrust rowing.
Early disqualifications for simple gain-saying, and some contributions that barely got above heated debate, ensured that two quality teams slugged it out in a full scale screamer.
A large Kiwi contingent added to the atmosphere with a bottle heaving Mexican Wave, reminiscent of Eden Park in all its glory.
The Kiwi contingent practice and check their gear for a row. Photo by Colin morison Photography.
Quality won the day, and there was no denying the experience of the Saharans who won with a stunning series of one-liners on coming home drunk, never washing up, and being rubbish under the sheets.
Walking away from the lake edge Mr Dis'ear looked at the other rowing and was heard to remark, ‘What the **** are they doing?'