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Shirlow keeps Black Widow at bay

By editorial assistant Sandi Toxic

Posted September 08, 2012
colin shirlow retains crown
The Dromore Destroyer: Colin Shirlow (centre) retains his oyster crown and apron. © Ignatius Rake

Colin 'the Dromore Destroyer' Shirlow has beaten off stiff competition from Sonya 'the Black Widow' Thomas to retained his title as World Oyster Eating Champion.

All eyes were on Ulster today when the World Oyster Eating Championship got under way at the 2012 Hillsborough International Oyster Festival near Belfast.

As he prepared to defend his title, the Dromore Destroyer told the Rake and Herald that he was looking to slurp down 234 oysters in order to set a new Guinness world record.

However, despite putting in a sterling performance throughout the entire three-minute all-you-can-eat gobathon, he ultimately fell one short of his target and in so doing equalled the 233-oysters record he set on his remarkable début back in 2005.

Making her much welcomed return to the Hillsborough oyster sesh, the Black Widow, internationally recognised as Rake & Herald's favourite gurgitator, upped her showing from 191 oysters gulletised in 2008 to a new bivalve count of 208.

This she achieved through a superb demonstartion of her famous hand-speed expertise that left chief hack Ignatius Rake literally speechless.

"I was literally speechless," he says, slurring down the phone from some bar in nearby Lisburn.

"We were expecting a third competitor but as it turned out this year's Championship was a straight forward head-to-head between Colin and Sonya, both of whom I can happily report are total dudes."

"As I was standing next to the Black Widow with a video camera in my hand I never really got see everything Colin was doing but, believe me, watching Sonya eat was truly mind-blowing."

"She's like a machine gun."

"I just can't wait to listen to my voice recorder and report what both Colin and Sonya told the Rake & Herald on an exclusive basis that'll make the earth quake."

"But first I'll finish this pint then see if I can get a bus back to Belfast."

"If not, I'll just stay here and keep drinking."

"After all, Sonya says she's up for another rematch next year so I might as well stay put."

"Besides, the Guinness round here's fantastic."

The three-minute slurping fest followed a 30-oyster race that saw numerous international and local competitors trying to better Soon-Ok Potter's record of 22.01 seconds.

To this end, one competitor proved triumphant: Belfast man Richard Gamble, who scoffed the lot in just 21.93 seconds.

A full report, including video footage and exclusive interviews with both the Black Widow and the Dromore Destroyer will appear here just as soon as that Rake Bloke pulls his finger out and gets back to the office. So probably in a fortnight then.

See also Ulster oyster eater sesh, posted 6/9/12.

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