Challenger comes away with teacup prize

Actress Meg Tilly rows toward the Oak Bay Sea Rescue zodiac (not shown) during the Mayor's Challenge Floating Teacup Race on Sunday at Willows Beach. The race was one of the final events in the Oak Bay Tea Party.

Gracious mayor continues trend of teamwork at the Tea Party

Meg Tilly was feeling pretty good last week about her commitment to square off against Christopher Causton in the annual Mayor’s Challenge Teacup Race.

That is, until the June 1 **News landed on her Oak Bay doorstep and she spied a front-page story in which Causton mused about past disasters in the annual race.

“For the first time I got a little worried,” said the Oscar-nominated actress, a non-swimmer.

Her fears were eased just before Sunday’s Oak Bay Tea Party finale, when she slipped on an over-inflated flotation vest. “Plus, they promised me that the water wouldn’t be over my head.”

Having never before tested the waters, so to speak, in a teacup-shaped rowboat – even the veteran Causton admitted he practises just once a year – Tilly performed admirably in the dead calm waters off Willows Beach, getting out to the Oak Bay Sea Rescue zodiac and back in just a few minutes.

The mayor reached the beach first, but ever the sportsman, he waited for Tilly and ran through the sand alongside his opponent, ringing the bell together with her.

“Meg, you’ve got the best style since (Olympic rower) Silken Laumann,” Causton said, in reference to the lone challenger who beat him cleanly in more than a dozen previous races.

“He was more than a gentleman,” Tilly said of the mayor after receiving the teacup trophy from Tea Party Society chair Bill Murphy-Dyson – Causton, as he does at Monday night council meetings, used his vote to break the tie.

While she appeared pleased with her prize, Tilly wasn’t about to put her victory on the same level as one more anticipated by local sports fans: a Stanley Cup win by Vancouver.

“I don’t think this is quite like the Canucks,” she said, with a grin.

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