All posts by Sudbury Rowing Club

Bedford Small Boats Head

With entries in 10 different races, Bedford provided the Sudbury crews the opportunity to test themselves over 2000m. The whole event attracted over 420 crews, so a popular Head.

Fielding some of our younger crews, some for the first time there were some promising performances.

Will Kerry and Toby Stock in the J14 2X put in a strong show, maintained their strength to win their category.

Toby then partnered George Cook later in the day in the same category and both rowed well together, certainly future potential here.

Matt Clayden and Sam Jones racing together again in both the J16 2X and also the Nov 2X, rowed well together and maintained their stamina, both pleased with their overall result.

In the W J18 2X Sudbury had two crews, Kezia Tan and Abi Malster, and Holly Adams and Bronwen King. Both crews now showing how well they work together with Kezia and Abi just 10 seconds behind the winning time of the day. Holly and Bronwen put in a sterling performance, but the age group was slightly above even their capabilities.

The W J13 4X+ crew on their first race outing together under race conditions showed an admirable performance. The young crew of Ellie Adams, Alanah Barton, Cecily White and Georgia Howard coxed by Bronwen King put in an excellent performance. Although there were no other entries they weren’t far behind matching the J14 crew times. One to watch for the future here.

The Sudbury Men’s 4 of Lee Adams, Paul Adams, John Bevan and Giles Stock were entered in two categories – Nov 4+ coxed by Sarah Watts. Stiff competition here from some younger crews, but they rowed well together with good coxing from Sarah.

There other event the Men’s Vet A Nov 4+ was a straight race against Bedford Stars crew. Good coxing from Holly Adams who pushed the crew well over the 2000m beating the rivals by 15 seconds and taking victory in their category.

Finally, John Bevan was also sculling in the IM3 1X, after the two outings earlier in the 4+, John rowed well but the stamina took its toll in a tough division.

All in all another promising performance from Sudbury, with a lot of crews showing future potential together, and an indication to some the importance of stamina building for future Head events.

View photos.

St Neots Regatta

Sudbury RC continued their sprint regatta season with a trip to St Neots. Spread over two days, the racing consists of 1000m on Saturday and a 500m sprint on Sunday. Saturday saw the student four of Chris Page, Ben Toocaram, Louis Watson, Barney Walker, coxed by Helen Taylor, further their improvement and success recently by winning the Intermediate 3 event, beating Peterborough in the final by 1 ½ lengths. The 8+ (the four joined by Pete Skellorn, Oli Mitchell, Michael Haynes and Jack Miller) had a more turbulent time with speaker issues resulting in the boat not making it round the infamous St Neots’ bend and colliding with the other boat. An unfortunate outcome as they had been winning up to this point. The Sudbury scullers received unlucky draws with John Bevan tousling with ex-elite scullers in his two events and Helen Taylor coming up against a Cambridge University sculler (apparently a Henley finalist in a quad this year) in her first race since returning from rowing across the Indian Ocean. Both lost to the eventual winners but will have great hope of success in the weeks to come. Skellorn and Miller also competed in their first double sculls race together and will look to improve in the coming regattas.

The shorter race on Sunday saw very close racing between all crews and some great race experience for the more novice crews from Sudbury. The novice four of Paul Adams, Lee Adams, Graham Morris, Jack Miller, coxed by Holly Adams won their heat but lost narrowly in the semi. Racing as a veteran four with Miller replaced by Jeremy Millbank and coxed by Ellie Adams, they again fought to the line but missed out by 2 feet. Mike Arnott and John Bevan raced in the highly competitive single scull events losing narrowly. Holly Adams and Lydia Lockyer competed for the first time together in the J14 double sculls and after a good start showed determination and resolve against a far more experienced crew. An encouraging start for this new combination. The veteran double of Jeremy Millbank and David Wasse led the final of their event until a few strokes before the end and a crab. Another close race and experience gained. Susie Moule and Sarah Watts showed their class in the Intermediate 2 double sculls event beating Peterborough and then Bedford in the final. Sarah has now lost her novice status! The student crews did not live up to their high expectations from the day previously and struggled to find their speed over the shorter 500m course (nothing to do with the night before of course). Hopefully it will be found for the Sudbury regatta being this weekend! Thanks to everyone who came to support-another great Sudbury turn out as ever.

Bedford Quarts

Sudbury Rowing Club’s newly formed Novice Coxed 4 successfully took to the water at Bedford Sprint Regatta, despite only having trained together for three weeks. Chris Page, Ben Toocaram, Louis Watson and Barney Walker, all university students returning home for the summer were fortunate to receive a row-over in their first race with their opposition failing to turn up. This saw the crew go straight through to the semi finals, racing against Broxbourne RC who the boys held off to win by 1 length, under the clever coxing taken by Kezia Tan.

The final saw Sudbury face a crew from Queen Mary University College London BC. As the race started, QMUL took the lead albeit by a canvass which they held onto until roughly the half way point of the race, with Sudbury maintaining a tight hold on their opponents. Sudbury managed to keep cool and make up the lost ground with both crews racing neck and neck towards the finish. With the finish line in sight the Sudbury Cox called for a last push as both crews battled it out. As the boats crossed the finish line it was hard to tell who had won. Then finally, the result was announced, with Sudbury winning by 1 length, an impressive win. The crew would like to thank their coach, Bob Howard for all of his time and effort and continued support.

Success at Bedford Star

It was an early start for all involved but the sun was shining and the excitement (and nerves!) could be felt all the way to Bedford.

This was the first sprint race away from the Stour for most of our crews but they took to it like ducks to the water. Some races were won, some were lost but all in all a good day for all the competitors and the now official rowing ‘groupies’.

Well done to everyone, especially Pippa & Will and Abi & Kezia for winning their events, to Kezia and Holly for such a good show at their first race coxing experience, to Toby for being a real trooper and almost racing himself, to Will, Toby & George for not giving up when faced with larger opposition, to Ellie for giving George a fight all the way to the line, to Bronwen for sheer determination, to the novice men and the mixed four for giving all they had got, to Tony M and Tony H who were making sure everyone was organised and finally to all the support team for encouraging all the crews as they went past – go Sudbury!

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Inaugural SRC Spring Head to Head

Today saw the inaugural showing of the SRC Spring Head to Head and Sprint races. It was with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that the members descended on the clubhouse at 7.30 to debate over the draw and harass the draw-master in order to lodge their requests for changes!

The crews started to boat at 8.00 for the first division which was run in normal SRC Head to Head style over 2500m, including a quick spin at the weir end of the river. Marshalls were placed at strategic locations along the river in order to keep an eye on any wandering steering and timekeepers were drafted in to provide each crew with their results. A few last minute crew and cox changes were made and the crews were keen to get racing.
Suitably shattered but elated the crews returned to the clubhouse to refuel with tea, coffee, burgers, hotdogs, bacon rolls and cake (this is a healthy sport honest!) and soon the times and video footage were available for scrutiny.
All too soon it was time for division 2 of the day, this time the races would run over our regatta course of 650m with a free start. The marshalls and umpires were on hand to ensure the stagger and any starting advantage were fair to the crews and our umpire in training (Woody) got a taste of what is too come in August when we run this again for real!
For most of our juniors and novice rowers, this was their first experience of a sprint racing start with another crew alongside them. The concentration could be seen on everyone’s faces as they were called forward to row and the umpire called “Ready?….Attention…. Go!”
There were no Oxford & Cambridge blade clashes but the rivalry between the novice mens four and novice ladies four saw the men head towards the bank in their first 10 strokes, only to chase down the ladies and beat them on the line. Our novice coxes also showed their competence and control over their crews. Even the one or two trips into the banks did not phase them and they pushed their crews all the way to the line.
On returning to the clubhouse there was time for more food and video watching, some crews taking advantage of this to plan their race in the next division. All too soon it was time to find the blades and hit the water once more. Division 3 start time was delayed by equipment malfunction in the junior boys quad, but once fixed the boats came down the meadow in quick succession.
The day resulted in smiles all round (and not a capsize in sight!), we fielded a range of crews in combinations new and old and for many this was their first race – lets hope this experience has shown them what could be in store over the summer and their next races will result in some silverware!
View photos.

Women’s Quad takes on the Thames

The women’s quad headed to the choppy waters of the Thames for the Vets Head on Sunday, brimming with confidence after a successful pot-filled summer. Comprising of the same personnel who had competed at Fours head exactly one year previously (plus cox) it was the culmination of a year of blood, sweat and tears whilst learning the art of sculling. The day started brightly with the predicted 40mph winds not materialising and even more surprisingly some sunshine. With a highly professional rigging session behind them (and with no tape measure in sight) the quad set off for the row to the start. A determined row to the start ensued with the four scullers focused on the task ahead of them and the cox realising that the river looks different when you’re going forwards. Luckily a race plan had been meticulously created and studied in the few previously. Nothing would deter this crew from their moment. And then disaster struck…

Whilst in the marshalling area before the start line a crew who were late to the start came bearing down. Despite the shouts from many around the boats collided leaving theSudburycrew without a rudder and with a 3inch gash in the boat. Was this the end? Was the race over before it had even begun? No,Sudburywould not be denied and after landing at TSS the crew sped into action. Race desk was alerted, hammers and vices were employed with the amount of effort that only pure adrenaline could bring, gaffer tape was used to cover the gaping hole and hole the rudder in place and finally, the boat was rowable. And so to the start line.

Rejoining the waiting boats in the line for the start, there was no time for anymore preparation. The race was back on. After winding for the start line the crew settled in the kind of rhythm this crew is renowned for. Working hard in the conditions, the first men’s crew of the day was overcome. Driving past the landmarks, the crew soon came across Hammersmith (with a perfect line under the second lamppost J) where they were met with a wall of wind. Whereas the river before had been not too different from what we enjoy on theStour, here it turned into a battle against the elements. But waves crashing over the bows and boat-stopping gusts were not enough to overcome the determination of these women. With every stroke, they clawed their way towards the finish line and overtook another men’s quad in the process. Pressed on by the cheers from the Putney boathouse, a final wind for the line came to get them over the finish line.

The women’s quad had overcome adversity in every form to get over that line and finished in a respectable 112th overall and 2nd in their category. A fine day for all.

Heroic Efforts from Sudbury’s Veteran Four

The sun rose over the hills on the morning of Sunday 9th November, the day of the Vets Fours Head of the River, a 4 1/4 mile epic along the mighty Thames. Four highly trained, muscled rowers embarked on the long drive to London. Time and time again they visualised their race, counting out each stroke together.

Eventually they arrived. Their support team quickly rigged their vessel up. There was a debate concerning the river conditions and optimum setup, Bow Blit recommending 0.4 degrees of negative pitch camber, but Three man Spencer and Stroke Paxman instead prefering 1mm extra on the forward backstay. After completing a quick 15k warm up on the erg, they were ready to launch. They strode powerfully towards to water, boat held aloft. In one practised manouve the launched it into the raging waters of the Thames and hopped aboard.

Their row to the start was hampered by the gushing flow, but the crew drove through the water like a knife through butter. There was a short wait at the start before the race commenced, and the crew passed the time by leaping out of the boat and swimming to the far side of the river.

Soon the race began, and the four shot through Chiswick bridge like the space shuttle lifting off from its launch pad. Stroke man Paxman took the crew to rate 65 for the first 50 strokes, before striding out at a steady 45 strokes per minute. Soon they powered up behind their first crew. After numerous shouts which their victims chose to ignore, the decision was taken to row them over. Four of Sudburys finest stamped on them, and left them swimming in their wake. Bow man Blit provided a continual commentary of the carnage left behind, and a running total of crews overtaken. Unfortunately he got bored after overtake number 174, so the final number is unknown.

Soon the crew shot under Hammersmith bridge. The wind and waves increased, and the crew grinned with joy and excitement. Lead by young two man Arnott, they began to lay down even bigger puddles as they swept over the breakers. By now, there were no crews in sight, and the race was surely theirs, but Arnott bellowed for them to push on, again and again. Soon the finish approached, and Stroke Paxman began to wind the rate up, hitting 80 along the final mile.

All in all, a successful day for Sudbury’s heroic foursome.

Sunday Sessions

We will now be running two sessions on Sunday mornings.

  • Session 1: 09.00 – 10.30
  • Session 2: 11.00 – 12.30

We realise that Sundays have been getting very busy over the last few weeks. We hope that by running two sessions, and by knowing who is going to be turning up, we will be able to schedule the use of boats and be able to get you out on the water in a planned manner.

In order to try and organise crews and allocate boats in advance we would like you to submit your availability for the sessions, please use the availability website or email your co-ordinator to avoid dissapointment.

Annual Dinner

The annual dinner on Saturday 25 October was once again held at the Bull Hotel, Long Melford. Successfully organised by Rob Frost we enjoyed good food and company (some of us even spotted a ‘bloke off the telly’!) and celebrated our rowing year.

After some speeches from Tricia (Chairman) and Mike (Captain 2007/08) looking back over our sucessess and memorable events (good and bad) the traditonal SRC awards ceremony began.

And the winners were…

  • Stour Shield – David Wasse
  • Senior Award – jointly to the Ladies Quad (Rosemary, Sally, Katherine & Sarah) & Paul Hamblet
  • Junior Award – Jocelyn Ralph

The rest of the evening was spent dancing the night away to the live band!