Dear Everybody,


This being England, first the weather report: Saturday was very pleasant, with the predicted rain nicely timed to arrive at the close of racing.  On Sunday we returned to traditional regatta weather, with rain in the morning easing off, and the day being warm but overcast and damp.  Excellent conditions for preventing a racing cough from dried out tubes.


So, the numbers:  34 entries in 31 events (we had double entries in three events – resulting in two all Derwent finals, or “internecine warfare” as the announcer would have it).  Including a composite win (with Derby) we totalled 12 wins over the two days.


Racing in order:


Charlie and Gracie kicked off the festivities in Women’s J15 doubles.  They were doing well initially, but Charlie has knee problems (specifically the right), and although she wears braces on them, the braces didn’t stay in position, and it became too painful for her to continue.


Then Ethan and Alex had a go at Senior doubles (no J16 oppo on Saturday).  It might have gone better for them if they had put the riggers on correctly.  Asi it was, They had differing spans on either hand, so the row did not go well.


Jake won his heat in J13 singles, thus facing Sam (who got the bye) in an all Derwent final, which Jake won.


David tried hard, but went out first round in J14 singles.


I then won my heat of Masters F singles, against Russell Thornton (no relation) of Gloucester, who came second at the Nationals, putting me in third place.  It was a good race, with him nearly catching me at the finish (I had gotten away from him in the middle).  I had thought that was about as quick as I could go, until the final, when I raced an unknown (Ian Bates of Bentham – apparently the UCL old boys club) who beat me by two feet.  My speedcoach informed me that I knocked 6.5 seconds of my heat time in the final.  The best race I’ve had this year.


The women’s Masters D four then had a heat in Senior Women’s fours, against a crew of twenty-year-olds.  They did well off the start, but youth will tell (alas), and they came second.


Rob went out first round in Band One Senior singles (but was happy with his race).


Gillian and Stuart then had a straight final (Mixed E doubles) against their nemeses from Wycliffe (racing as St. Catherine’s College), alas, to no avail.


Next Gracie lost to friend (Charlotte Warren-French) in Band Two Women’s J15 singles.  (Charlotte went on to win the final – Well Done!)


Josh had an easy win in his straight final of J16 singles, as his oppo, approaching the finish, collided with a moored boat, and fell in.  Not the way Josh wanted to win, but there you are.


Gary and Andie lost their straight final of Masters D doubles.


The J13 quad (Luke, Tilly, Jake, Sam and Charlie coxing) then triumphed (again) in their straight final against Stratford.  


And lastly, the Mixed Masters quad (Gillian, Kjerstie, Paul, and Stuart – racing D/E) caught their older oppo (Stourport) and won comfortably.  


So, four wins.


Sunday started with another all Derwent final.  Chris and Luca had been entered in Open singles, and as they had no points were put in Band Three.  This meant embarrassingly easy heats for both of them, and then an excellent final against each other.  Luca triumphed by a quarter of a length, and we look forward to the re-match.


Now the new points system exposes itself to ridicule, and Tom had to race (and lose, alas) a heat of Band One Open singles.  I do Tom no disservice by saying that it would have been fairer all round if the banding had been swapped with his clubmates above, but them’s the rules.


Jake and Sam then had their races in J13 singles.  Jake won his semi, and Sam lost his, so no all Derwent final this time.  Jake then won the final.


David went out in the semi of J14 singles, as indeed did Gary and Andy in MasD doubles.


The Women’s Masters D four (Gillian, Sue, Kjerstie, Emily, and Nick) lost their final by a length to Ironbridge.


I won heat and final of what should have been Masters F/G singles, but, due to a cock-up (best phrase) by the event organisers was being run as purely F.  This was most unfair, as I was the only F in the event.  Despite my protestations the heat was run without handicap (so not much of a contest), but the error was rectified for the final, and I had to chase down my oppo to win the pot.


Tilly then won semi and final in Women’s J13 singles, both easily verdicts.


Jake and Sam then pretty much did the same to win J13 doubles.  This meant that Jake took home four pots for the weekend.


The Mixed Masters D quad lost their straight final by half length (Stourport again, but a different lot from Saturday).


Charlie and Gracie (my having done some remedial work overnight on Charlie’s knee braces) then won their semi of Women’s J15 doubles, but lost the final.  However, they were pleased with their performances in both races.


Luke won his straight final in J12 singles (and held his nerve over the day as the race was delayed several times).


In Women’s J15 singles, Gracie won her semi, and lost final to Charlotte, but no hard feelings.


Ethan and Alex lost their final in J16 doubles, this time due to problems with the Alex’s feet (they kept coming out of the shoes.)


Gillian and Stuart then had one of the closest races of the day.  Racing af the E component in D/E mixed, they faced Julian Scrivener and his missus as the D’s.  Julian was twice a finalist in the Double Sculls Challenge Cup at Henley Royal (’87 & ’88), so our double was up against it.  We were given four seconds head start, and within twenty strokes of the finish they were level.  The oppo then pulled slightly ahead, but Gill and Stuart put in a final five strokes that gave them the  win by one foot.  Superb.


The Women’s Masters four then raced in the Senior event (again), and lost to a crew of relative children (again).  The reason they do this is to get more racing in.  It is rare to get more than a straight final in their masters category, hence the entry at Senior level (to add insult to injury, their points were sufficient to place them in Band One).


And during all this, Stuart found time to make up the sole Derwent component in a composite Masters G eight with Derby, and defeated a Nottingham/Bewdley in a straight final.


This gave eight wins for the day, and twelve for the weekend.  


My thanks to Rob for his support on Saturday, and for the support over both days of the juniors by their parents, which could not have been bettered.