St. Neots Regatta 2011

August 10, 2011

This year’s St Neot’s Regatta saw us pick up two wins on both days, continuing our winning run nicely. These came from a variety of sources, again showing the increasing breadth of competitive crews in the club. Our winners in the 1,000m races on Saturday were the new pairing of Tom and Mike, sculling at IM2x- and a ladies Quad of Liz, Andi, Sam and Lindy, racing at IM2 (with Sam de-novicing at sculling). Sunday’s 500m winners were the highly impressive juniors John and Alex, winning the IM3 event (Alex de-novicing at just 16!) and the mixed eight of Benn, Mike, Tim, Tom, Liz, Andi, Lindy and Jo.

With too many races to remember (and me being very busy) this entry won’t have the usual details of every race. Instead, I’ll just pick out some of the outstanding memories of (another) great week-end at St Neots.

Saturday didn’t actually start very auspicially. One of the first boats out was the double of John and Alex, rowing as J18. Their opponents appeared round the corner at the allocated race time, but no sign of them. Several races later, they came into view, but with only John sculling. As they passed us the reason became clear, as Alex was sitting nursing one complete blade and one in two pieces. He’d caught a crab off the start, the blade flicked under the boat and when he tried to free it, it snapped.

Strangely enough, John then had an almost identical problem in his single later in the day. This time though he went for the soft option and simply rolled in to the water. To his great credit, his opponent agreed to a re-row even though this wasn’t required, so well done to him.

Following the theme, John wasn’t to be the last soggy junior of the day – Roisin also got in on the act, this time just before the finish, in full view of the crowd. To her credit, she did exceptionally well to tow her boat clear of the course, well before the next race got to her.

The rest of the racing didn’t produce quite so much drama, although there were some incredibly close races. I had the honour of coxing one of these, the Men’s Novice 4+; after a slow start, our opponents pulled out to pretty much a two length lead around the bend but to their credit, our guys really went for it. A couple of strong pushes seemed to panic the other crew and by the finish line we were (as the commentator kept putting it) bowball—to bowball. We honestly didn’t know who had got it but the verdict finally came that our opponents had taken the win, by a bowball! A bit of work on the starts and this crew won’t be novices for long!

After a good day’s racing, we all retired to the MKRC “village” and set in for a very pleasant evening gathered around the Barbie, with the odd beer or two thrown in.

Sunday saw another day of close, exciting racing but pride of place has to go to John and Alex. Recovering from their broken blade incident yesterday, they cruised through the first two rounds, sculling at IM3 rather than Junior, to set up a final against ??. This they made look easy, pulling away off the start and striding out to a comfortable win.

The Mixed Eight had a relatively easy first round win, putting them into a final against hosts St. Neots. This was a far closer event, although our boat grabbed the lead and held on, St Neots pushed them really hard all the way, finishing just half a length down.

My views
Another wonderful week-end at St Neots. I love the atmosphere and the proximity of the spectators to the racing – and some really close hard races on both days. It was nice to see they’ve taken a more relaxed view on campers and barbies this year and restricting them to the far side of the path is a really smart move too.

I guess the only gripe is that our original entries were seriously cut back, through lack of competition. This meant Lou and Clare not getting any races and Paula just getting the one. Although I understand this is lack of other crews, how about closing entries a few days earlier, notifying the clubs that have had crews rejected and allowing them to rejig and resubmit crews into categories where there is competition? This way, our crews get a race and the host club gets more money – surely a “win-win”?

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British Masters Regatta 2011

June 18, 2011

CHAMPIONS!

A simply stunning day at the British Masters was crowned by our Womens Masters B 4- boat taking the Gold Medal! The top result of a top day that also saw Tim and Benn take Silver in the Masters A IM3 2x-. We also had a number of other second and third places but where these had limited entries, didn’t medal.

Winning W.B 4- crew

Winning W.B 4- crew

I’m pretty sure this is Milton Keynes’ first ever national title, a real day to be proud of racing for the club. Huge congratulations to the winning ladies, Liz Tatman, Helen Jones, Paula Heywood and Andi Grossey.

This was a great end to the day, and somehow all the cold and wet misery from the incessant, pouring rain just evaporated as the ladies stormed their way to the line.

Strangely enough, the day started bright and sunny, although a bit chilly for the group of us who had camped over. After a reasonably leisurely start to the day (except Tim and Benn who went for a warm up on the Trent) and bacon butties on the barbie, it was time to get racing heads on. We fairly soon saw the advantages of arriving yesterday for the East Midlands Regatta, as we had a prime position in the near trailer park (unlike last year, where we had to carry boats what seemed like several miles). With a number of new combinations and unknown competition, we had no real idea what to expect; just an expectation that we’d move up a step from last year.

A IM3 2x-

First crew out were Tim and Benn, picking it up from their splendid win at the previous day’s East Midlands Regatta. Facing a tough looking draw against Dart Totnes, Bradford and Nottingham, they were soon fighting it out for the lead against the Dart Totnes boat. A very close, hard race finally saw Dart Totnes cross the line first with Tim and Benn picking up a well deserved Silver Medal for second place, with four boats in the category.

Women’s A 2x-

Next to go were Liz and Andi, sculling in the A Open category. In their heat, as one boat had scratched, all five crews would proceed to the final; against two boats apiece fro Nottingham and Warwick, they were content to watch the others and do enough to settle for third place (although the competitive streak kicked in with a few hundred meters to go – no way were they going to be fourth!).

The final saw them line up against the same opponents, with an extra crew from Cambridge 99s added in. From the heat, they were aware that the two Nottingham boats were going to be very quick, and this proved the case in the final as well. With these two surging into the lead, Liz and Andi were left in a fight for third place. Although down slightly at the halfway stage, they were able to ratchet up the power and drive through, to take third place. As there were only six boats in the event, this wasn’t enough to land them a medal, but they were still (justifiably) very pleased with their race and placing.

W.C IM3 1x

Following the win by the Novice Quad yesterday, this pushed Clare up from Novice to IM3 level in the single. At this stage, this was probably a step too far and she finished last of three, a long way off the pace.

D 2x-

Although Steve and I got a fairly good start in the double and were able to hang on to the Champions of the Thames boat for the first 250m, the others had long gone and then Champs also pulled away. A bit of a reprise of the races at Peterborough and confirmation that we need to stick to club events rather than top level championship competitions where we are way outclassed.

Around about now, the rain that had been threatening all morning drifted in. Light at first, it gradually picked up and we were in for a very wet day.

W.C 4+

This was a re-run for the boat that performed so well at Peterborough last week, with Paula, Helen, Karen and Lou, coxed by Liz. In a big final, with Tees, Hereford, Ross, Llandaff and St. Neots, the only known opposition was the St. Neots boat, whom they’d beaten easily at Peterborough. From the start, the race split into three separate clashes, with Tees and Hereford breaking into the lead, MK and Ross slugging it out for 3rd and 4th and Llandaff and St. Neots trailing. At the 500m mark there was under half a length between our ladies and Ross (with us just shading it); from here to the line it was a really hard fight, with Ross pushing and our boat countering; we had enough to hang on, and crossed the line in a highly commendable third place, with Hereford taking first and Tees second. Again, not a medal position but a really good performance again from the ladies.

C IM3 4+

OK, what happened in the lead up to this race is the sort of thing to go down in club history.

With the rain driving in now, everyone was taking shelter and putting kit in cars to keep it dry. Add to this the frantic chasing around after various crews and when we came to boat, we couldn’t find a cox box. With no signs of any in the trailer and Oundle’s spare not working, we had no choice but to boat without Paula having a cox box. Bearing in mind she’s only just recovered from having a polyp on her vocal chords removed (caused by shouting too much when coxing!) this was not a good thing. Still, the four of us (Steve, Iain, Pierre-Yves and I) got into the boat and set off up the course, with Paula calling as best she could. This was fine on the row up, but we were a little concerned as to what would happen in the race, with far higher background noise.

Passing the 500m mark on the way up, we passed Tim who was walking back to the start, having watched Andi and Liz start the previous race. We called over that we didn’t have a cox box but were managing – he had other ideas.

We carried on rowing up to the start, tried a practise start (usual pull to bow side) and sat around waiting to be called forward. Then we saw Tim running back up towards us – he’d run from the 500m point all the way down the course, through the boating area, trailer park and across to the camp site to his car, picked up a cox box and run all the way back (this time with an extra 500m). By my reckoning, that must have been around a 3 to 3.5 kilometre run! However, he was on the bank and we were out on the lake, but that wasn’t going to deter him. Starting to roll up his trousers (before he realised there was no point) he started wading out into the lake; despite us yelling at him not to worry, he just kept coming, up to his midriff and across to our boat. Calmly handing the cox box to Paula, he then waded back to the bank, leaving us utterly speechless and fully cox boxed up. This really was way beyond the call of duty, done because he was worried about Paula’s voice – Tim you’re a star!

So to the race. We were against two other clubs, Maidstone Invicta and Derby and again had no idea how we’d fare (after all, the race yesterday was our first one together). Off the start, we again pulled to bow side and this, together with an increasing crosswind, nearly put us into Maidstone’s lane. A great bit of coxing by Paula pulled us back straight and central in our lane but this had cost us a couple of lengths on Maidstone and the best part of a length on Derby. From here it was just a hard, hard slog. Gradually we pulled back on Derby, first to overlap and then level – by the halfway point, the timings show 1/10th of a second difference with us just getting our noses in front. Maidstone were still a good length clear but Paula called that we were catching them.

With Derby pushing really hard behind and us putting everything into catching Maidstone, this was turning into a seriously hard race. In the end, Maidstone eased out a bit more to finish just over a length clear, but we hung on and slightly increased our advantage over Derby, to take second place, by a second and a half.

By this time the rain was chucking it down and we were all dripping wet and cold. Never has a hot shower been as welcome as after this race…

A IM3 1x

Pierre-Yves swapped his rowing blades for sculling ones and was next up in a single. Having to row at “A” instead of “B” put him against much younger opponents and this, together with the exertions in the four, left him well behind trailing in behind the other two boats from Dart Tones and Furnivall.

W.C  IM3 4x-

The win by the Novice Quad yesterday had a knock-on effect to today. As the Novice boat included Paula, Karen and Clare they could no longer race Novice today (this rather upset Oundle who were the only other Novice Quad at “C” – they got a row over and Gold medals, but felt it was a bit pointless) and had to switch to IM3. This also left Paula with just 30 minutes between races. Lou made up the crew, switching in for Alice.

Drawn against crews from Falcon, Monmouth and Sudbury, they kept with the other crews from the start but the greater experience (bearing in mind this was only about the third or fourth outing in this combination) of the other crews started to tell and our ladies dropped off the pace slightly, finishing last but with another encouraging scull. A succesful piece of steering by Clare, still learning the ropes too.

W Mas B 4-

With Paula hopping straight out of the quad and into the coxless four and with very little practice (if any) in this boat, we didn’t know what to expect; having said that, the four of Liz, Helen, Paula and Andi looked strong on paper. Their only opponents in this straight final (our last and very nearly the last race of the day) were a strong looking crew from Norwich.

With visibility really hampered for us spectators by the torrential rain, it was very hard to see what was happening. As the two boats approached halfway, it was almost impossible to tell who was leading – heart said us, head said can’t be sure! Getting closer it became apparent that there was nothing to choose between them (the official timings shows MKRC leading at 500m by 0.4 seconds!). In a real scrap, gradually our ladies inched ahead until over the last 100m they started to widen the gap. The noise from our club members was deafening by this time as we could see them pushing and pushing, stealing away from Norwich. This last huge push was enough and they crossed the line a length clear, taking MKRC’s first gold medal at any national event. It’s hard to put into words just how proud we all were of them, so delighted at this little bit of history.

With the rain bucketing down, they spun and headed for the presentation pontoon – clearly oblivious to the conditions by now, they rowed over to collect the coveted gold medals, just such a magic moment. Brilliantly well done to them all.

After this, it was back to the boating area and time to pack up but with all of us absolutely buzzing. One of those “had to be there” moments.

Reflections

Another great event for the club, culminating with that amazing win. Some other outstanding performances, with Tim and Benn collecting their Silvers, other second and third places. A big mention to Iain – placing second after less than a year rowing (I remember going out in the tub and training four with him in freezing cold conditions with him just last winter!) is some going.

The other stand out thing for me was how we work as a club. Whoever was boating or landing, there was always someone from the club there to help/congratulate/commiserate. Everyone mucks in and works with each other – in contrast to other clubs (for example, a double who’d won gold carrying their boat, blades and trestles back al on their own, a single sculler having to boat on her own). To me, this kind of makes us special, we’re in this for each other not just for personal glory.

The key memories of the day have to be the ladies win, just so good, and Tim’s wading exploits, just so incredible. There’s special mention for Benn as well – not sure how far he ran during the day but he was always appearing, rushing off, collecting something, running back and reappearing. In between he also found time to shoot some great video (see link below).

A special day for the club but most importantly for the four ladies – well done Liz, Helen, Paula and Andi, we’re all proud of you!

Links
View my photos by clicking on the picture below:

National Masters Championships 2011

Results can be seen here

Benn’s videos can be found here


Bedford Fours and Eights Head 2011

February 15, 2011

Continuing our recent run of form, this year’s Bedford Fours and Eights Head saw us take home three wins from the seven boats entered, a very good return. The other crews posted good times against stiff opposition, largely from the college and school crews who were out in strength. The event itself seems to go from strength to strength and attracted a record entry this year – the downside to this was, as we were a bit later in submitting entries, we wound up being there from Division 1 to Division 7. Still, this meant we were still around to pick up pots!

IM3 8+
Second outing for the Men’s Eight this year, with Gwen swapping in for Steve (compared to Northampton). Although a bit rough in parts, there were patches where we got the boat running well and there’s obviously real power in there. Helped by not having my seat collapse, we put out a time of 7:11 to put us level with Bedford RC with only Broxbourne beating us in the club crews.

Women’s Masters C 4+
Third win in a row for the Ladies, with Paula, Lou, Karen and Clare (coxed by Steve) putting down a time of 8:29, over half a minute ahead of their rivals from Bedford RC.

Women’s IM3 4-
A good, fast race by Andi, Ash, Liz and Sam saw them across the line in 7:50, some 43 seconds clear of their competition, from Exeter Uni, giving them another win.

IM3 4+
Despite a last minute change of crews, with James suffering a bereavement, the scratch crew of Josh, Nelson, Benn and Gwen (with Liz coxing again) were good enough to finish as the second club crew (well behind a very fast Abingdon boat), beating off two Star Club boats, in a time of 7:45

Masters C 4x-
Our usual crew of Pierre-Yves, Simon, me and Steve actually posted the fastest Masters Quad time of the day, at 7:23, but lost out on handicapping to Masters D boats from Star Club and Oundle, by 4 and 5 seconds respectively.

Mixed IM3 4x-
What started out as a “fun” entry turned into a very respectable boat, not only winning the category but setting the fastest MK time of the day. Also a first marital double for Andi and Tim, with Josh and Liz (rowing for a change!) completing the crew.

Women’s IM3 4+
The second race of the day for the Masters Ladies showed remarkable consistency, at just three seconds slower than their first run in the Masters event. This was enough to place them fourth of seven in a strong field, a very good performance by Paula, Lou, Karen and Clare (Steve coxing them a second time)

My views…
Unusually for Bedford, the weather wasn’t perfect (maybe the sacrifices weren’t up to standard?) but despite this another thoroughly enjoyable day’s racing. I do love the way they keep to time, chivvying crews along and taking no nonsense but always good naturedly. Being there all day did make it a long day (watching the crews for the last division trying to get motivated after an hour in the club house was quite amusing) but did allow us to be there to collect the well earned pots.

Must put in a special mention here for Liz – not only did she win two pots but spent the rest of the day coxing. In particular, the way she spun our eight at the start was simply jaw dropping – there can’t have been more than three feet spare at either end as she manoeuvred the boat, spinning it on the spot. Sheer class, totally impressed.

Also thanks to the wonderful lady at Bedford RC, who’s birthday it was, who kindly fed the gannets from MK the food left from her party. It was hugely appreciated.

Finally, octuples… I know they have to learn and take part in races but I do feel there should be a restriction on putting little kids in charge of little kids. Clearly, some of the crews were barely capable of sculling and having a young child attempting to steer them is an accident waiting to happen. Fortunately, we only caught one of them just by the butterfly bridge but even so, Steve was working overtime to avoid them as they zigzagged along the course. I do feel for the fastest fours who must have had to negotiate their way between them. Would it be possible/desirable to insist on a minimum age for coxes for junior boats to give some degree of control? Also, is it worth starting these boats at the back of the division, to remove any chance of interfering with faster adult crews following them?

As ever, the results were through in amazingly quick time and can be found here.

My photos are also on-line, these can be seen here


Star Head 2010

November 21, 2010

Another Head Race, another four wins for the club. The ladies continued their impressive run of form, taking wins at IM3 and Masters C coxed fours, with us “Masters” chipping in with two wins, one for Pierre-Yves and Tim at “B” and the other for the Quad at “C”.

W.IM2 4+
Only two boats in this category, with our ladies falling to St. Neots by just four seconds. As this is really a Masters C crew, a very impressive, solid performance by Charlene, Paula, Lou and Karen, with impeccable coxing (by yours truly). St. Neots ate into us off the start and although we held them through the middle of the race and put in a really strong last 500, were unable to get this back. Maybe a lesson that we need to push harder and faster off the start, as the strength was really there at the end.

Masters B 2x-
Pierre-Yves and Tim out again, looking more impressive each time. They powered through this race and won deservedly.

Novice 2x-
Benn and Gwen reprising their multi-national crew again but not quite as successfully as last time out.

W.IM3 4+
Another new line up, this time with Liz, Sam, Helen J and Ash, coxed by Charlene. Showing the flexibility and depth of the women’s squad, this boat powered through to win by over 30 seconds from three other crews.

Masters C 4x-
Moving on from our performance last week on the Tideway, we put out probably our best row to date. The four of us (me, Simon, Tim and Pierre-Yves) put in a very fast start (rating around 35) to put distance between us and Boston (our only competition, who were following us) and then a couple of really good, strong pushes, especially past Bedford RC, saw us ease away to win by 34 seconds.

IM3 4+
Benn and Gwen swapped sculling blades for sweep in this boat, with Iain and Nelson making up the crew, with Charlene jumping out of the W.IM3 4+ boat to cox. Benn set a fast rate, which the novices in the boat struggled to match, trading speed for power and they finished 27 seconds adrift of the winning Sudbury boat

W. Masters C 4+
With Clare swapping in for Charlene, and Paula moving to Stroke, this boat raced to win the category, beating the nearest Star Club boat by 16 seconds

W.IM1 2x-
After the confusion around this entry, initially making Jo think she’d been entered only to find it was meant to be Liz’s sister and then her not getting her BR license in time, this wound up with a completely new crew of Sam and Liz. When I said to Liz that I was surprised to see Sam sculling, her reply was that Sam was even more surprised. Considering this was only Sam’s fourth time out in a scull, to finish just 16 seconds adrift of the winning Cambridge 99 double was truly spectacular

Novice 4+
Benn swapped out for Rob M compared to the IM3 boat. To his mortification, the Novice boat then went and posted a time 8 seconds faster; this seems to have been a case of lowering the rate allowed the novice men to put more power down.

Masters D 1x
As my sole aims in this race were to finish the same way up as I’d started and avoid hitting anything large and immovable (memories of my last attempt at steering Bedford can be seen here), posting a time of 9:25 wasn’t all that bad. Spending most of my race looking round for the bridges probably slowed me a lot, but that’s the first one over and done with. Third out of three, 35 seconds adrift, but at least I kept dry!

Overall
First time we’ve attended Star Head and it may well be the last.

The marshals seem to have taken up the bad temper and rudeness that was absent from the Tideway last week and made it a thoroughly unpleasant event. We were subjected to a stream of aggressive, unwarranted (and frequently contradictory) shouting from marshals who seemed 1) to have it in for MK in particular and 2) allow Star Club crews to do whatever they wanted. Not nice. We weren’t alone in this view, having chatted to a coach from another nearby club and the one friendly marshal (who came from Bedford RC).

There was a total lack of communication between marshals, leading to one great occasion when one marshal told us to spin, followed by another screaming at us “Milton Keynes, what do you think you are doing!”. Another, when we are spinning quickly at the finish area, with boats either side, to have some muppet shout at us to hurry up. The start marshal – “get your bow in” – “why are you letting your stern out?” (law of physics?) – while a Star boat sits slap bang in the middle of the river – we were not happy. The best was being shouted at to get our boat out of the centre of the river – seconds after passing the finish line, with no one coming down the river. Being shouted at to get our boat out when Star crews were sitting at the pontoon adjusting feet, swapping blades and, unbelievably, pinning numbers on was just ridiculous.

It spoilt what should have been a really nice event – contrast this to the recent Bedford event, which was slick, run on time and friendly. Why should we put up with this kind of abuse?


Vet Fours Head/Fours Head 2010

November 14, 2010

A switch from the normal running order saw the Vet Fours racing on Saturday and the Fours Head on the Sunday. We had two boats both days, with the Men taking part on Saturday and the Ladies on the Sunday. All four crews performed really well, posting some very good times and positions

Veteran Fours Head – Saturday

In total contrast to the weather during the preceding week and the Pairs Head a few weeks back, the weather was really quite pleasant. Very light winds, quite mild and a little bit of sun led to what must be almost perfect conditions on the Thames.

Men’s IM3 4+

A pretty much scratch crew, including two Tideway “virgins” really exceeded expectations. The four guys (Josh, Benn, Nelson and Gwen, coxed by Amelia) posted a time of 22:16:55, putting them joint 99th with Kingston and joint 3rd in class. Their time was under a minute off of the winning IM3 boat, so a truly impressive performance.

Men’s Vet B 4x-

Considering that our preparations for the race were completely scuppered a couple of weeks back, when Steve re-contoured his finger between two large chunks of metal, we can be well pleased with our row. Losing Steve meant Pierre-Yves shifting from Stroke to Bow/Steering, me moving from two seat to Stroke and Tim dropping into my seat, moving us from Vet C to Vet B as a result. This in turn led to us starting as race number 2!

Off the start we settled well but a couple of the other Vet B Quads powered through us. We were able to keep contact with Eton Excelsior in front of us though and closed up on them past Fulham FC before being pushed a bit wide. Despite this, we finished ahead of them on time, coming 4th (of five) in Vet B and placing 40th overall. This was a really hard row, being the closest I’ve come to throwing up after a race!

Fours Head – Sunday

Despite the forecast heavy rain at 9:00, this held off until after the race and the conditions were just as good as yesterdays. Both boats were starting well down the order, 426 for the IM1 4- and 490 for the IM2 4+, leading to a long, long wait before the race. The marshals seemed to have taken a collective “chill pill” this year though, generally being relaxed and helpful, making such a big difference. The only crews getting in the neck were those that actually deserved it – sitting at 45 degrees across the rowing up lane really isn’t clever!

Nice to hear a few cheers for the boats as we went along and to see a few ex-members, thanks Ray and Simon (and anyone else we didn’t see!).

Women’s IM1 4-

Going to have to wait for one of this crew to provide their views – I was coxing the other boat and have no idea how their race went! Finished 409th overall, 10th of 12 in class. Crew of Andi, Ash, Sam and Liz.

Women’s IM2 4+

Despite a long wait, having boated in Division 7 and an early drama (getting into the boat, finding we had three stroke side and one bow side blades!), we got off to a good, strong start, quickly making inroads into the Worcester crew in front of us. We passed them around Chiswick Eyot, having to cope with another crew trying to pass us at the same time. With Charlene setting a good, steady rate and Paula, Lou and Karen backing her up, the boat was showing good speed and some really nice pushes. Just when it started getting really tough around Fulham, we had a city of Oxford boat chase us and this proved a great spur to the girls, and a serious battle developed – quite funny as their cox called “I’m on their cox, I’m on their stroke” pause “I’m on their cox”. A great response from our ladies but CORC proved too strong in the end and did pass us – all credit to their cox though as he made a point of thanking us for the race afterwards.

The usual long, long row back was made more miserable as the promised rain finally arrived and we were all pretty soggy by the time we arrived back at Civil Service.

Their finishing time was 23:05.54, placing them 441st overall but a highly impressive 20th (of 30) in category. On this time (recognising the conditions appear to have been a bit quicker today), this would have placed us 2nd in Vet C 4+ had we entered yesterday! Given that most of the IM2 boats will be, shall we say, a few years less experienced, this shows what a good performance this was.

Four’s Head result are here and Vet Four’s results here. No photos of mine – either rowing or coxing!

Photos from Big Blade can be found here


Bedford Autumn Fours & Small Boats Head 2010

October 11, 2010

What a brilliant day! Held in amazing weather for the time of year (or pretty much any time of year in this country), this was probably the most successful day’s racing for the club ever. In particular, the women’s squad simply dominated the fours racing, winning all four of the categories they entered. Steve and I backed that up with a win at Masters D and there were some very promising new combinations form some of the other guys.

The women entered five fours in all, and these all posted the fastest times in their categories with the sole exception of the second IM2 boat, who were beaten only by the first boat, by a measly two seconds.

W.IM1 4-
A first outing for the IM1 coxless boat saw them win over Guildford by over a minute (the latter crew getting a very close look at the greenery by the school’s boat house).

W.IM2 4+
Two crews out in this category,they finished first and second, well ahead of another Guildford crew

W.IM3 4+
A very strong performance by this boat saw them finish 37 seconds clear of the next placed boat (from Star Club) and the other three Guildford boats and one from Emanuel School still further behind

W.Novice 4+
Another pleasing performance form the novice women, finishing 18 seconds clear of Bedford, with two Guildford boats completing the category

W.IM3 4x-
A first event for a completely new crew saw them well on the pace. They ultimately finished fourth of five, but with just 10 seconds covering the first four boats, with Marlow winning and Guildford placing two boats ahead of us and one behind.

W.Novice 2x-
Being the first race in a new combination of Yemin and Clare, they put in a creditable performance, finishing fifth of six, some 39 seconds behind the winning Oundle Town boat.

IM1 4-
Yet another new combination, and an inaugural event for the new(ish) boat Lady Sheelah, this men’s crew were up against stiff competition and finished last of five, 44 seconds down. Not a bad result for a first race together.

IM3 4x-
Our Master’s Quad racing at IM3 (no competition in Masters) found it very tough going and, despite what seemed a good race, finished last of six but 51 seconds adrift, 22 seconds off fifth place

Novice 4+
This was always going to be an uphill struggle, racing against the school crews, but the Novice Men acquitted themselves very well, finishing seventh of nine. Crucially, they were the first club boat home though, beating Stratford by just one second (and a BMS school boat by two seconds!).

Senior 2-
Something of a “voyage of discovery” this for Tim and Phil, racing for the first time in a pair. That they managed to finish mid-table was a really good result, especially as Star Club were clearly focused on this, supplying five of the seven crews. Three of these led our guys home but they beat off two more plus the Guildford pair.

Masters D 2x-
Steve and I finally return to winning ways, seeing off the Star Club double by a fairly comfortable 31 seconds (although they did have the stronger wind later in the day). A more balanced race with better power than of late (I can tell as I was completely shattered at the end).

Novice 2x-
One of the performances of the day, Gwen and Benn finished second of the three crews, losing by just three seconds. Considering they had rowed together once before and you can count on one hand the number of times Gwen has sculled, we’re expecting a lot from this pair (no pressure guys…).

Mixed Masters B/C 2x-
Steve and Clare showed improvement on recent races, despite finishing 30 seconds (20 on handicap) behid a Loughborough boat, who (chatting to them after) have clearly rowed together for some time

Overall
A really good day out, in terms of weather, wins and performances. Some really stand-out competitors today, with Gwen and Benn in the Novice Double and, especially, Sam. She’d not won anything before today and left Bedford with a very impressive haul of three pots, from the IM2, IM3 and Novice fours. It was also very nice to see some new boats racing (a women’s quad, men’s coxless) and at some very senior levels too. It’s still amusing to hear people saying with incredulity that they’ve been beaten by Milton Keynes – maybe they should take a look at today’s results!

The event was, as ever, excellently run and it was very gratifying to hear crew being given time penalties for being late to the start. We’re all sitting there freezing while these crews take their time – how much of this is a deliberate tactic to try and gain an edge, as so many of the offenders came from the same (local) club? Can’t finish without mentioning the results system (again) – this is so quick and well organised, it removes the endless sitting around at the end of the day waiting for results.

Results can be found at Bedford Rowing Club, and my photos at MKRC fotopic site


Metropolitan Regatta 2010

June 14, 2010

This entry is very much done at second hand! As you can see if you read the Peterborough entry, I was otherwise engaged over the week-end, so have to rely on comments from the girlies who were at Met.

Overall, a pretty successful couple of days for the ladies, with some very good results. Two crews were out on both days. The aim of this was to give some serious race practise to the Henley crews, give some big event experience to some of the newer girls and try out a couple of new combinations. It seems to have succeeded on all three counts.

Saturday

The IM2 4+ crew placed fourth in their heat, putting them through to the repêchage. Here they came fifth of six (beating Kingston who were six seconds ahead of them in the heat), placing 11th of 23 crews overall. A pleasing result and a good lead in to Henley.

The inexperienced IM3 4+ crew were next off, placing a creditable fourth in their heat (unfortunately not enough for them to progress to the rep) in their first taste of racing at a top event. Much more to come from this boat, I feel.

Sunday

Another IM3 4+ boat out, this time with a different line up (that hadn’t rowed together before). They managed fourth in their heat, behind two Uni boats and Thames RC, again a very encouraging performance given they were able to beat two other clubs crews comfortably despite a lack of practice together.

The other crew was an IM1 (!) coxless four, racing not only for the first time as a 4- but also above their status. Given this, it was always going to be a big ask and they duly finished last in the straight final – but against some seriously tough opposition. Good race experience and by all accounts a strong performance.

All in all, a good week-end.

Results available at the Met website.

No photos (I was at Peterborough!)