Today’s Bedford SBH was a brilliant end to the Head season, held in scorching April sunshine and run superbly. A really good day out, topped off by two wins for MKRC. The day was dominated by an extremely strong City of Oxford contingent, who cleaned up pretty much every event they entered, so our performances were really up against it.
A club visit to Nando’s in the evening really topped off a great day, also allowing us to celebrate the wins.
Master’s C/D 4x-
With Pierre-Yves away on business, Tim swapped in for him at stroke, with Steve, Simon and I in our normal line-up. Setting off as race number 2 (an unusual experience for us, being this high up the field) behind a St. Ives IM3 quad, we found a pretty good rhythm from the off. Conscious of a City of Oxford Women’s Elite four behind us, this gave us the incentive to keep pushing and we completed the course in 7:23, to place us fourth of six but only 22 seconds off the winner. A pleasing result given the change to our normal crew and lack of practice in this combination
Women’s IM2 4+
We entered no less than three crews in the IM2 coxed fours; being pitched against an extremely fast City of Oxford boat, we managed to place 2nd, 3rd and 4th out of the five crews. A mere ten seconds covered the three crews, just a single second separating 2nd and 3rd. Our top crew was some 37 seconds adrift of COX, giving some idea of what everyone was up against!
Benn and Gwen in another outing in their Novice double. Showing increasing confidence, they took twenty-one seconds off their run at Star Head, despite a couple of “close encounters” on the way. Putting down more power kind of upset the steering and resulted in a strong attraction towards the bank. That their finishing time was only sixteen seconds off the winners (placing them fifth of seven) even though they didn’t have the best of races is an indication of good things to come from this pair.
Women’s IM2 2x-
A very good performance from Liz and Andi saw them place second in this category (inevitably behind a COX double!). They were so quick, they took the fastest MKRC double time of the day (8:14), even though it looked like someone had been hacked to death in the boat at the end (sculler’s scratches on Andi’s hands, small wounds but boy, do they bleed!).
Mixed Novice 2x-
Managing to avoid any “domestics”, Tom and Lindy ran an excellent race, taking first place in the Mixed doubles. Very fortunately, Lindy found out that her gate wasn’t done up properly on the row down to the start, rather than during the race… the result (and their dryness) would have been a lot different if it had happened halfway down the course at race speed!
Mixed IM3 4x-
The mixed quad completely blew away their opposition from Lincoln, winning comfortably with the fastest MKRC time of the day (7:15), some 30 seconds clear. A nice first MKRC pot for Benn, sculling with Tim, Andi and Liz.
Masters D/E 2x-
Steve and I out in our double, but whether it was the heat, the earlier race in the quad or just being a bit out of sorts, we were well off the pace, coming third of four but a whopping 52 seconds behind the winners. After a couple of really good training sessions during the week, the balance and power just didn’t seem to be there, and the time shows this.
Women’s Masters B/C 2x-
First time out as a crew for Clare and Lou, so their main objective was to finish upright without hitting anything, which they achieved nicely. Not surprisingly, last of the three crews but a good first race together.
Women’s IM3 4+
Showing there is no rhyme nor reason in the categories, the ladies IM3 boat posted a faster time than all of the IM2 crews! With Oxford taking the first four places, our ladies finished seventh of ten but with a good time compared to the non-Oxford boats (who were in a different league).
Women’s IM3 2x-
A combination of lack of practice (in Jo’s case, a lack of any kind of rowing) and a strong field saw Jo and Lindy well off the pace in their double, trailing in last in a field of six.
Yet another great event at Bedford, well organised and friendly and in the inevitable brilliant weather (just how do they do this – do they sacrifice a junior sculler on the evening before or something?). I’m struggling to remember an event where every division started early! Obviously helped by the weather bringing out the best in everyone and with all crews co-operating, it ran like clockwork.
Apparently though, the entry was well down on previous years – I guess this is a combination of factors, including cost and an unfortunate clash with Abingdon Head on the same day. We’d normally attend both but were unable to do so; it appears Abingdon asked to move their event forward two weeks to avoid this but a club with an event on the same day blocked this, despite being in a different region and with no obvious overlap.
So, a fond (?) farewell to the “joys” of the Head season and into Regatta season. It all starts next week, see you at Leicester, first time we’ll have been to this event!
Another of the joys of Bedford is the speed with which results are published – we were in the Bedford Club House at the end of the day and the final results were on their computer before the crews from the last division had got back. That is just so impressive!
They were inevitably on-line before we got home and they can be found here.