This year Trentham coincided with the first day of real summer, which was pleasant, and led to a wonderful bonding moment in the afternoon, when eight of us were crowded together under Rob’s canopy dodging the sun. Most of the time the sun is a good friend, but when racing it can be very draining.
We equaled last year’s total of seven wins, coming from four fewer entries (fourteen this year) and two near misses could easily have given us nine. This year it was the Masters section that led the way, followed by the seniors, but I’ll give you the day in order.
Will D started us off in J14 singles, losing his heat by three lengths to a known opponent (Harris of Queen Park – 17 seconds faster at the JIRR time trial – Will is getting closer). Then Ethan lost in the other heat of the same event, but he has a good excuse (more later).
You may recall my account of the Derwent/Newark mixed coxless four racing at Nottingham a few weeks back (in an open event! – i.e. all male). Well, they returned to race in mixed IM3 coxed (Kate’s zero rowing points are a big bonus here). They won heat and final without much difficulty. (they were – Ashley Crowley, James, Kate, and Harriet Swindells)
Josh then won his heat in J13 singles, but was unable to hold off his oppo in the last 100 metres of the final. A good effort, and he is improving technically all the time.
Paul, Andy, Gary, Stuart, and Jack (cox) then had a really bad day at the office, losing their straight final of C/D fours. A frustrating row, as they know they can do much better.
Will D, now racing in J15 singles (keen, or what?) lost in his heat, but sculled well.
Another composite crew with Ashley Crowley and James (Senior doubles), and another win (again, not much trouble).
Rob then lost his heat of IM3 singles, and although he felt he could have won, was sanguine about his chances in the subsequent final, so was not overly upset his loss (not that he likes it much, mind).
Then Gillian and Stuart won their mixed E double against a home crew (I don’t think they had much trouble), and Ethan and Will narrowly lost their race in J14 doubles, but thereby hangs a tale. This Tuesday just, I had reason to check Ethan’s blades (a club set), and discovered that they had been altered during the previous week, and we hadn’t spotted it. Not only were they altered, but they were altered incorrectly. He normally sculls on an overall length of 290 with and inboard of 89, instead he raced in singles and doubles on a set up of 287, with one blade inboarded at 88 and the other at 86. A lesson learnt all round, and apologies to Ethan for my lacking a proper sense of paranoia.
Next was a new departure for the masters group. Gary and Andy raced in A Novice doubles, neither of them having raced in a sculling boat before. They won, and convincingly too. Andy later confessed, that if, seven years ago, as he trailed up and down the hill at Trentham (between the trailer park and the landing stages) carrying boats and blades for his son Tom, anyone had said he would eventually be winning races in the same type of boat, he would have found it a bit difficult to credit. How satisfying.
Yet again with the doubles, this time Kate and James versus Ashley and Harriet in mixed IM2. Alas, the outcome was as expected, and Ashley and Harriet won (they are a bit quick).
Then Sue, Jenny, Gillian , Harriet (ours) and Jack won B/C fours in a straight final against a Trentham crew, this being Gillian’s second pot of the day.
Next (only three more) Kate had a straight final in J18 singles, alas against Ms. Swindells (see above), so no joy (and a long day for Kate, who is, after all J17).
Then James won his two boat final in IM2 singles without much trouble, and, finally, Graham and I had a very tough race against two Runcorn doubles, one of which was an older class and were given seven seconds head start, we managed to catch them with a hundred metres to go, but they were no pushovers.
And there you have it, not a good day for the various juniors, but the older sections went well and filled the gaps (and Gillian went away with a brace).
I must offer thanks to my Vice Captain (and co-pilot), Rob Thornton, and to Ethan’s father, Lincoln, who was invaluable moving boats around at the trailer (fourteen events require a lot of boat juggling over the day) and who continued to assist crews on and off the water right up to the finish of racing.