A combination of factors lead to a disappointing turn out for this year’s St. Neots Regatta. With many club members away or with other commitments, and one boat being scrubbed through lack of competition, we were down to just four boats on Saturday and five on Sunday. Despite no wins on Saturday, Jo and Liz reprised their success at Bedford and won the W.IM2 2x- on Sunday
Saturday – 1,000m
We put in a new line up of Tom R, Tim, Steve and I (with Pierre-Yves away), rowing at IM3 rather than Masters C. Despite a lack of practise in this combination, our first round went very well. We put in a cracking start, which put us clear on Maidstone. Round the corner they pulled back a bit, having the inside lane, but we held on and pushed away, finishing a length and three-quarters clear. This put us into the final, pitching us against a Boston crew. They matched us off the start and made use of the inside of the bend to pull away. Despite a hard row, we couldn’t close on them and they took the win by a length.
Tim was up against a sculler from Doncaster Schools who looked to be far more experienced, even if younger. Although having the inside line, Tim was down coming into the straight and was unable to reel him.
Masters D 2x-
Steve and I out in our usual double – a good start saw us heading Abingdon into the corner. Despite a strong push from them, we maintained a small lead to about 750m. Then (certainly for me, don’t know about Steve!) the effort from the Quad started to tell and they pushed past us to finish a length clear.
Women’s IM2 2x-
Liz and Jo reprising their double from Bedford, albeit with less success… This being the first time out at St Neots for Liz, they steered an “interesting” course which led them into Leeds’ lane. Although they were clear and didn’t impede Leeds (who had pushed them across in the first place), Leeds lodged a protest which was upheld, leading to the girls being disqualified. Very unfortunate, especially as the umpire said he’d have ordered a re-row if it had been the final rather than disqualifying them.
Sunday – 500m
A first race (and only third outing) from Yemin and Lou as a Novice double. This shows a lot of potential as they stuck with their opponents all down the course until a slight steering glitch cost them time. An encouraging début to finish three lengths down.
Given the lack of preparation for this crew (they were discussing seating plans and who was stroking first thing in the morning) they performed brilliantly. Another new combination, this time with Lindy, Paula, Karen and Lou coxed by Liz, they pulled off a great start in their heat and then sat on the Bedford crew all the way to the finish, winning by one and a half lengths. This saw them into the final, against a very good Peterborough crew; level off the start, the Peterborough ladies pushed through to finish three quarters of a length down.
Mst D 2x-
Steve and I in our usual combination – for some reason, we fluffed our start and this gave the Maidstone crew a half length lead at least. Although we were pleased with our row, we weren’t able to haul back anything and they finished three quarters of a length up (and then went on to win the event).
Mixed IM3 2x-
On a personal level, this was really pleasing – not often you get to race seriously with your daughter! Having done this event for a bit of fun at our regatta, Jo and I decided to give it a serious go at St. Neots. Partly, this was based on an expectation of there being a handful of crews; wrong! This was a tough event with a dozen crews entered. We pulled a Lincoln boat in the first round and shall we say youth triumphed over experience as we trailed in a length and a half down. However, we were pleased with the row and we weren’t that far off the pace.
Jo and Liz were determined to put yesterday’s disappointment behind them and they did so in style. A first round win over the RAF by two lengths was followed by a semi-final victory over Leeds by a length. This put them into the final, almost inevitably against the Leeds crew who they raced and were disqualified against the previous day. Despite not having one of their better starts, the two powered through and pushed away from the Leeds boat to finish three quarters of a length up and win the category
Disappointing turn out from the club, especially compared to previous years and slim pickings on Saturday. More than made up for by a well deserved victory for the W.IM2 2x- although this now puts them up to the lofty heights of IM1!
Again, a really well run event, Saturday bang on time and Sunday running early. Well done to St Neots RC for this. A lot of discussion in the crews about how they scheduled events – I personally liked it but others weren’t convinced. What they did was to schedule heats, semis and finals for each event as closely as possible. This meant fairly small gaps (45 minutes or so) between races but all crews had the same recovery time so no-one got an advantage and it removed the problem of clashes later in the day.
Couple of intriguing happenings on the Sunday as well – first, the Northampton double that managed to completely snap a blade – during their race. It seemed that bow hit a “buoy” (i.e. a milk carton) and this was enough the shear a carbon fibre oar in two, impressive.
Second was the St Neots quad that arrived at the finish without their bow man, who’d appeared a few minutes earlier on the safety launch, dripping wet and with his blades. What happened and how they managed to navigate the quad with no steers person are two of life’s great mysteries…
Photos (from both days) on line at the fotopic site
Results are available at the St. Neots RC site