Sporting Vernacular: 8. Quaich

THE CAMBRIDGE Boat Race crew was rewarded for its winning efforts on Saturday with a huge silver Quaich presented by the sponsors.

Scots readers will need no explanation, though the English may be baffled.

It will be no surprise to hear that the word, which means a shallow cup or drinking bowl, is Gaelic, though it is likely that it originated from the Latin "caucus" (which is not the same as the native American word for a small political group).

North of the border they are awarded for all kinds of events - a look through the most recent cuttings uncovered Quaichs given to winners of golf tournaments and public speaking competitions, for example.

Nelson Mandela drank whisky from one when he visited the country and the Scots and Irish play for the Century Quaich every year in the Five Nations' Championship.

More to the point, Sir Cliff Richard was given one made of pewter when he visited Linlithgow.

That's when you knew Quaichs had really arrived.

Chris Maume