St Neots weekend

I do like St. Neots Regatta weekend!

We had a really good time again this year and came away with a couple of wins, some very close defeats, some storming performances and a much higher club profile. The winning crews were the S3 Quad on the Saturday (with a little help from Star) and the Women’s Novice 4+ on Sunday.

The club had a very large entry this time around and it set a number of firsts and highs. The boat trailer was the fullest we’ve ever taken anywhere, stacked with an eight, three fours, three doubles and three singles, all of which were used over the weekend.

Saturday’s racing:

J15 2x (Curtis and Kieran) – lost in first round

J15 1x (Curtis) – lost in first round

J15 1x (Kieran) – lost in first round

S3 4x (Pierre, Josh, Rob and Steve) – winners!

WS4 4+ (Paula, Steph, Clare and Terri) – lost in final

Vet C 2x (Rob and Steve)

Story of the day was the quad – Erica should have been rowing but didn’t realise she was entered for both days. We found this out about an hour before the race! After much discussion about alternatives, we asked Martin if he could drop in; he wasn’t too keen on this (suffering from hang-over) but did agree. He went off with Steph to sort out the entry and came back to tell us it was all fixed but that we had Josh from Star club instead of Martin. Our opposition (Globe) had kindly agreed to the swap – we promptly repaid them by pulling off a storming start to get ahead of them by the end of the corner, cancelling out their advantage from the stagger, then holding them off all the way to win by two lengths. A hard race as the Globe crew certainly pushed us all the way.

Those of us that were camping over had a great evening, after all, we DID have to christen those pots!

So to Sunday. An early start as we thought we had a 9:03 race in the Quad. In the event, this was against a “status change” that didn’t materialise. Next up were Curtis and John, racing as a J15 2x; considering that John has been rowing for just a couple of months, they put in a good performance, losing out eventually. The Women’s S4 4+ had a bye to their final so next up were Curtis and Kieran, rowing in singles. Curtis went down to a Doncaster sculler but Kieran took his first ever race win, beating a Lea sculler convincingly.Steve and Rob then went out in the Vet C 2x but were well beaten (although using the junior’s HG instead of their usual one probably didn’t help!).

Then came the race of the day. This was an amazingly hard fought and close race between the Womens Novice 4+ against Star. Despite a slow start, our Ladies powered through to take the win by the narrowest of margin – neither crew was sure who had won until the official verdict of MKRC by half a canvas!

The next round of the J15 1x saw Luke put up a very hard race before clipping the mooring rope of a barge which stopped him pretty well and Kieran went out to the same Doncaster sculler that had seen of Curtis earlier. Our S3 4x crew were unable to repeat yesterday’s success, although a crew that is eligible as Vet C is always going to struggle against the Star kids crew….

Our next event was very encouraging, on a number of levels. This was a Men’s S4 8+; the first time I can remember MKRC putting out a Men’s eight in a regatta (may even be the first time ever – anyone know different?) and it included four new members in their first ever races. These guys have been rowing for no more than four months or so, and of the rest of the crew there were two novices, one on zero pints and just one more experienced rower. Given this, they put in a good showing but losing to the Maidstone Invicta crew.

After this, it was the turn of the Novice women, this time against Peterborough. Another really strong performance saw them win convincingly, by two lengths. One of the most surreal moments of the day came at the end, when Steve (cox) told the girls to start winding down, to save themselves for the next race – only to be told by a VERY excited crew that this was the final and they’d won, taking pots and de-novicing! Real congratulations in order here, to Charlene (at last – so many wins in non-qualifiers and near misses), Sadie, Helen and especially Lindy. This was he first ever race, having taken up rowing only around four months ago. This puts her as the new club record holder for fastest to de-novice.

This was a hard act to follow, but the Senior 4 4+ Women came so close to doing so. They had a straight final against Star (again!) and recovered from a slow start to pull up to an agonisingly close defeat by half a length. A good row by Paula, Steph, Clare and Helen and so near to a third club win on the week-end.

Our last entry of the day was another special one. This was the twins, Jordan and Bethany, in a J13 2x. Even more commendable as they only started sculling about three months back – I remember taking them out in Virus boats for their first session! Not surprisingly they lost but a tremendously courageous start!

As I said at the top, a great week-end for the club, with so many highlights:

  • largest number of entries in one day
  • most boats taken to an event
  • biggest age range (J13 – Vet c)
  • most first timers (seven!)
  • first Men’s Eight in a Regatta
  • youngest ever crew
  • fastest de-novice

One really nice thing was the positive things being said about us as a club after this showing. After a few low profile turnouts, we really hit this with a bang and impressed a lot of people with the standard and scale of our crews.

Well done to everyone who turned out, including the large number of members who weren’t competing but still came along to support us.

As and when the results are posted on the St. Neots webite, I’ll add a link here.

Update: My photos are now on-line at These are low resolution to save space – if you want a high resolution copy of any of these, let me know. If you’ve got any photos you want to share, I can add these to the site as well.


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