Ben & Alison started off the day in their mixed double, winning their semi-final, but being pipped to the post in their final.
Shelagh and Fee had a good outing in their double, but were sadly beaten.
Alison was out in her first ever singles race and did really well, but was beaten by 1.5 lengths. Anyone who has done side by side singles knows how nerve warcking it can be, so that was an excellent first result.
Shelagh came back out in her single to win her semi final. She then went on to lead her opposition in her final until the dying moments when her blade caught the bank. She lost by 3 feet! Gutted.
Ben was also out in his first singles side by side race. Both he and his opposition had some sightly erratic steering during the race, but it just made for a close finish with Ben losing by 1.5 lengths as well.
Nathan went out and smashed it! He won his semi and then went on to a close fought final which he won. His first ever singles pot!
Sadly the same cannot be said of me. In my single the 6 second head start for my older but competent opposition just proved too much. Whilst I closed the gap to 1-2 seconds, I lost.
And finally Nathan and I went out in our double and won “easily” against Milton Keynes. We were tidy and efficient, and they weren’t. We did have a 4 second handicap advantage, but we won by about 20 seconds, so not really needed.
We had a really successful day at the Ouse yesterday. Conditions were nearly perfect with warm weather and no wind. The only issue was the floating weeds which were plentiful – see below.
Lawl Taylor (MasG 1x) had the standout performance, not just winning his category, but in a time of 1.42.34 which is incredible in a single. A new course record by over 5 minutes, and in fact would have beaten the MasF 1x record (which he already held, but lost yesterday), by 4 minutes too.
Ross, Phil, Stu and Mark Moore (who was a last minute replacement) had a great race. As a scratch crew, they won their division (MasE 4x-) in a time of 1.38.32, but that included a stop for Mark to swim around to the back of the boat and clear the rudder of weeds!!! Yes a swim.
David and Julian Ringer (NRC Chair) won their category too (MasF 2x-) in a time of 1.44.35 by a clear 5 minutes. This is despite the fact that they are actually a G and dropped a category to get competition.
And finally, my crew of Flo, Lewis, John H and me clocked the 2nd fastest time of the day at 1.31.37 despite this being only our 3rd outing together. No competition for us sadly. The fastest boat was a double who clocked an impressive 1.28.51 as a MasD!
So all in all a great day with many pots won.
Interestingly the pots were trees in a pot- a different approach.
You could probably sum up the whole day as a damp squib. But never being one to use 2 words when 600 will do, here is a bit more detail.
We arrived in St Neots in pouring rain, and that was one of the 2 main themes of the day, along with racing handicaps. Fortunately for all of us we had brought one of the pop-up marquees. So after a quick rig of the first 2 boats we got the marquee up and sheltered underneath.
First up was the Mas 4x- of Piers, Ian Pos, Flo and Nathan S. Our first race was a fairly simple walk over as our Doncaster opposition missed the start, due to poor calls from the umpire, but never really got going. So we treated it as a practice session.
But in the final we came up against the well drilled Norwich quad who beat us last year (with one crew change). Since we were practically a scratch quad, with just 2 outings practice, we had to rely on brute force. Norwich as an E had a 7 second handicap and used it well. We steered a good course and down the last 500m we gained relentlessly on them. But it was not enough and they won by 2 lengths.
Next up was a new race for Yare, a 4+ in Ali Sursham (once again a virtually scratch crew). They had to move to “Open” to get competition, so as a Masters D scratch crew they were always going to find it tough coming up against a crew of 24 year olds!! But every race is practice and so this one was too. Sudbury beat them easily, but the crew came away pleased with the way they had rowed once they settled in. Particular mention to Alison Pead as her first race coxing!!
And so we waiting over lunchtime in the rain and increasing wind for the last division and our 4 scratch doubles. All of them took place in the pouring rain!
Ian H and Phil were up first as an E double. With their opposition an F double from Maidstone Invicta having a 10 second handicap start, it was always going to be hard, and so it proved, with an easy victory for Maidstone despite solid rowing from our guys.
Next were Flo and Ian P in a D double against a D double crew from Doncaster. Ian and Flo pushed through to win comfortably by 2.5 lengths.
Then Piers and John H in another D double. Our opposition was another F double, but this time from Deben/West End NZ (yes New Zealand). But it turns out they row together regularly and in fact won at St Neots in 2022 in F. They had an 18 second handicap advantage, which put then well ahead. We never really stood a chance against a seasoned crew who rowed smoothly and they won easily.
Nathan and Ian in another double D had a bye to the first semi final and met the Maidstone crew. Same result as with Ian and Phil. The 18 second handicap was just too much and Maidstone won easily.
Finally, Ian P and Flo were up against the Deben/West End crew in the other semi. Sadly, once again with the 18 second handicap, the result was the same, with a win easily for Deben. Deben went on to win the final.
After an extra miserable de-rig and loading of the trailer in the continuing rain, there was only one thing to do. So we retired to the beer tent for a quick pint, lots of cakes and lots of smiles and complaining about the BR handicap system.
And just to round off the perfect day, the trailer then got a flat tyre. Looking forward to Sudbury in 2 weeks!
Do enjoy your Bank Holiday before you get down to some serious race training!
QUICK RACING UPDATE
Elliott and Lawrence are going to test their mettle on the Thames Tideway – they want to enter a Masters double scull for the Pairs Head. This is a big event for pairs and doubles of all age groups on Saturday 2nd October. The competition will be fierce. It’s a great event for aspiring racers to think about training up for – maybe more will join them in 2022! Good luck to them this year.
Sadly this year’s Great Ouse Marathon was cancelled for Covid-related reasons. I’m hoping that the masters will organise a Coldham Hall Run as a substitute, which covers a similar distance and which we did last year. It was great fun. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear.
The Norwich Masters Sculling Ladder
This is not actually a race, but a timed training event! Look out for the email I’m sending out this weekend with the dates of this winter’s “Paddy’s Runs”. Do give it a try if you are of Masters age and can scull to Paddy’s and back without too much difficulty – you may win the Newcomers’ medal if you do most of the Runs!
Get in touch if you haven’t done it before and I’ll put you on the circulation list and offer advice if you’re uncertain about it.
St Neots Small Boats Head – Sunday 3rd October
Yare are sending a trailer to this one! Let me know if you have a crew (or part crew) and want to come along and compete. It’s only 2.4k! Event details aren’t out yet, but it will fill up so let me know and I’ll get the entries in as soon as they open.
Bedford Autumn Small Boats Head – Sunday 10th October
The weekend after St Neots, and Yare are planning to go there as well! (Some boats may stay on the trailer from St Neots!). It’s 2k through the centre of Bedford, with several divisions so you can race in more than one crew. Let me know if interested.
NORFOLK LONG DISTANCE SCULLS – Saturday 23rd October
Organised from NRC, the poster is just out, I’ll post it on WhatsApp YBC Notices for your interest. Entries are now actually open, so let me know if you have a crew to enter (or single).
It’s 5k (yes, it’s a real workout) from Bramerton to The Cut. The events are separated into a morning division and afternoon division so you can race in two different events if you want to We usually offer help with marshalling and launch driving, so let’s help this year, if not racing twice. ALSO there is a shorter division in the middle of the day for those “NEW TO RACING” – please do give it a go if that’s you.
Boston Marathon, Yare Cup, GOM, Head of the Dart – none are being run this year and we usually have attendance at all of them, so please take the chance to get racing with any of the competitions that Yare are going to.