1976 : Mr Sparrowhawk out-drinks horse in Bucks Head

From the Sunday People, 31st October, 1976, via the British Newspaper Archive.

Mr Sparrowhawk out-drinks Boozy Toby

It looked like a cert for Toby the pony when he met Ron Sparrowhawk in a challenge beer drinking contest.

Observers of form in the public bar at the Bucks Head, Mitcham, Surrey, pointed to the size of his mouth, the length of his his tongue and his great capacity for liquid.

Challenger Ron Sparrowhawk, they argued, though known to be a fast man with a pint, was taking on more than his weight. The smart money was going on Toby, a proven sprinter over anything from one to six pints.

The public bar was tense when timekeeper Mike Green, landlord at the Bucks Head, put up Toby’s pint.

It was a smooth three-lap performance – three laps of that long tongue and the pint was gone in a snappy six seconds.

Then it was the turn of Ron Sparrowhawk.

He looked confident as he took his stance opposite his pint, nicely placed at the edge of the bar.

He raised the glass with a nice easy action, placed it to his lips.

Then, as the crowd fell silent, Ron downed the pint in an amazing three seconds.

Over

The contest was over. The dark horse had won.

What the punters didn’t know is that Ron Sparrowhawk, of Bond Road, Mitcham, is an expert on the drinking capacity of animals.

“I’ve always been a drinking man,” he said later, “so naturally I’ve been curious about what other animals can sink.

“I wanted to put my theories to the test with Toby, hence the challenge.

“I just open my mouth and pour. It’s like tipping it down a drain.

“Toby has a long tongue, I grant you. But I’ve got the technique. And a long longue is no match for technique.

“Watch the drinkers in any local. How many long tongues do you see?

“Mind you, that Toby can hold more than I can. But he hasn’t got the speed.”

Ron, who owns a shellfish stall, was full of praise for his beaten rival.

“He’s a plucky contestant that Toby and I’m planning a rematch.”

Landlord Mike Green said that Toby started drinking beer six months ago.

“He has three pints in the morning and three at night.”

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