Well, our regatta weather luck had to change eventually, and it did this Saturday. It’s all my fault, I forgot to bring the umbrellas. At Ironbridge Rob saved the day with his pop-up gazebo, which covered the entire club (plus guests) during one particularly biblical episode. I assume that Will D and Josh made their own arrangements at Peterborough Junior Champs. Speaking of which, the results for same: Josh R, racing in a field of twelve in J13.1x, won his heat, going straight into the final, where he placed second, earning himself a silver medal (and very nice too). Will D was unfortunate in his draw. In J14.1x he faced a field of only six, which meant sudden death heats of three (first two boats to the final, third boat eliminated, no repechage). He drew the fastest heat, and came a close third, which left him out of the final.
Meanwhile, on the same Saturday in distinctly un-sunny Ironbridge, the first division saw a lot of first round losses: Rob (IM3.1x), Ethan (J14.1x), Stuart, Dan, Andy, Gary, and Jack (against a known crew, but getting closer this time), and Sophie (IM2.1x), and as an exception to the run, Kate getting through two heats to the final, and then winning that nicely.
Second division was Graham and myself, who confess to having had little difficulty in our semi and final, so, with Kate, we made two wins for the day.
Sunday was much busier (twelve entries over the day, as opposed to six). In the first division Ethan and Will in the double went out first round, alas, as did Gillian and Harriet in MasB.2- (they were most disappointed not to meet their chums from Devil’s Elbow in the final). Tom Ellershaw and Joe Leckie (J15.2x), racing in their first regatta, won their first round in good style, and were not far off the pace in losing their semi-final. A very promising start to their careers with the club. Sophie and Milly, rowing in a virtually scratch combination, won their straight final of IM2.2x going away (beware the sisters), and Josh, fresh from his endevours in Peterborough, won two tough heats, and thus earned himself some luck in the final, where an opponent who had shown himself quicker in the past, obligingly ran into the bank, giving Josh the win.
In the second division, Rob again went out first round to the same chap who beat him last year (aargh) (A word at this point – to the casual observer it would appear that Rob is wasting his time, but this is not the case. The problem lies in the type of opposition he encounters in IM3 singles. Eleven entries on Saturday and ten on Sunday, a large proportion of them schoolboys, which is not a pejorative term these days. The rowing schools, and the clubs with large junior programs are churning out an endless stream of well prepared and well trained juniors, who, once they turn sixteen, are eligible for open events. The juniors turn to these as a way of escaping the Junior snakepit, where one faces the same winning opponents over and over. At least in status events, the better scullers promote themselves out of the class. Unfortunately, they are replaced on a yearly basis by others, who, supported by their school/club, can train without the restrictions of paid employment – but enough of this, back to the regatta.)
Milly also went out first round in J16 singles, as did Will in J14. Ethan won his first two rounds, getting to his first singles final, but lost to the same chap that beat Will. Kate won her semi-final, but lost her final, having been caught pointing at the bank when the start was called (they were taking no prisoners). Lucy won her semi nicely, but faced a very mature opponent in the final, and couldn’t match her power. And finally, Sophie won her straight final in IM2 singles most convincingly, thus promoting herself to IM1.
So, two from Saturday and Three from Sunday makes five wins for the weekend, and twenty nine races completed, which is a lot of fetching and carrying. As always, I must thank my Vice Captains, who did more than their share, and for the parents who assisted in the work.