Richmond Regatta: Late Victory is Highlight of Sunny Day

On Saturday Sudbury RC sent a party of of competitive crews to the lovely 18th Century parkland of Richmond for their traditional regatta. Races run down a broad 1,200 m sweep of Father Thames round a tightening bend to finish in front of the lawn at Petersham Gardens. It was a wonderful English mid-summers’ day with unbroken sunshine beating down on the crews and the passing pleasure boats.

First Sudbury racer was Sue Tickner competing with the adults for the first time at Womens Novice Single sculls. In her first round she faced an experienced competitor from Mortlake Anglian & Alpha Boat Club. Tickner started well and was leading by half way. Unfortunately she could not hold on her advantage in the closing stages of an exciting race. Her opponent went on to win the final with great comfort so we can expect Tickner to do well at her next event.

Next on the course was the Mens 8 of Paul Sant, Jeremy Rose, William Wijnberg, John Brooks, Rob Snelling, Keith Paxman, Andrew Blit and David Bull coxed by Jenny Spencer. The oppositon were a crew of big boys from Thames Rowing Club, one of the historic bastions of the sport. Both crews rowed with an aggressive, sharp style with Thames gradually pulling away to win. They went on to win the event, proving their class.

Jenny Spencer was next to race in her single scull. Now promoted to Womens Senior 3 this was a big step up for the Club’s star 15 year old. In her first race she sculled past her opponent, destroying her in the 2nd half of the race. Her opponent in the final – a lady from Royal Military Academy Sandhurst – was a much tougher proposition. This was one of the races of the day with the girls never getting more than one boat length apart. The Umpire for the race was kept very busy with both scullers straying from the racing line and towards each other. The Finish Judge’s verdict of a win by 2 feet to the Sandhurst sculler was disappointing but another big step in Spencer’s racing career.

The final Sudbury crew of the day was a four drawn from the rowers from the earlier 8 of Sant, Paxman, Snelling and Bull coxed by Tickner. By coincindence their opposition in the Final was four from the Thames RC crew that we had raced in the morning – revenge was on the menu if it could be achieved. In another dramatic race the Sudbury crew held on to the fast start of their opposition and then, gradually wearing them down rowed through them. Tickner steered the ideal course, forcing Thames to take the longest route round the final bend and the Sudbury crew won by 1 1/2 lengths. It was a great way to close off a sunny regatta of competition.

Peterborough Spring Regatta: More Success for SRC

A substantial contingent from Surdbury RC attended the two day Regatta on the purpose built lake at Peterborough last weekend. For some this was their first taste of multi-lane racing where others were coming straight from training camp or back from injury. This is another major regional event that attracts crews from as far afield as York, Manchester, Birmingham and Southampton and is another stiff challenge for our local athletes.

The Saturday Regatta is raced over the full Kilometre of the lake and Sudbury had competitors in 6 events. The mens squad who had competed at Leicester and Bedford were represented by an 8 consisting of Russell Smith, John Brooks, Paul Sant, Johny Myers, Rob Snelling, Keith Paxman, Andrew Blit and David Bull coxed by Michelle Cole and a 4 of Sant, Paxman, Snelling and Bull again coxed by Cole. The 8s event was pretty ‘hot’ with Jesus College, Cambridge and University of Warwick eventually finishing first and second. The Sudbury crew were not quite on that pace but were sufficiently strong to beat the local Peterborough City 8 on their home water. The 4 had more success though cutting it fine in their first race, needing to finish 2nd they were beaten by .3 of a second by Wolfson College, Cambridge but held off St.Ives R.C. by .2 to qualify for the semi final. In that event they improved their performance to qualify comfortably for the final where they once again found Wolfson just too good on the day.

Paul Hamblett, fresh from training camp in France, entered both Novice and Senior 3 single sculls. Hamblett is targetting the extra large Tankard available to the Novice winner of Bedford Quarts Regatta in July and is, accordingly, treating events before then as preparation. His sculling throughout the day was classy and smooth and his comfort in achieving 2nd place in each event entered is a token of his promise for the summer.

Sudbury’s other competitors were Sophie Kiff and Jenny Spencer at Womens Junior 16 double sculls and Spencer in Womens Novice single sculls. Kiff is just returning from a wrist injury and naturallly found the event taxing and their opponents, from St.Neots RC, had recently come 2nd at the National Schools Regatta and are a year older than Kiff and Spencer. But the Sudbury crew’s style is so smooth and effective that the pushed their opponents hard to the line. Spencer was entering her first ‘Senior’ event and had been apprehensive beforehand. She need not have worried as over the 3 races of the event she carried all before her comfortably dominating and winning her Novice pot.

The Sunday Regatta is a ‘Sprint’ event run over 500 metres with breathless, harum scarum racing the order of the day. A similar range of competitive crews were entered by Sudbury and the racing was tight and hard.

The Mens 8 of Hamblett, Brooks, Sant, Myers, Snelling, Paxman, Blit and Bull were coxed by Daniel Woricker and had a really fast day. In their first race they hung on to the tails of University of Birmingham but were more than 3 secoonds faster than the crews from Peterborough and Cambridge 99 RC, year long rivals. The final was won by the Birmingham crew with Sudbury this time recording a 6 second verdict over Peterborough. The crew split onto two 4s with Sant, Brooks, Myers and Bull, coxed by Woricker reaching the semi-final at Senior 4 but losing out there to University of York and a Veteran crew of Blit, Paxman, Snelling and Bull coxed by Woricker meeting decades old rivals from Peterborough. Beaten again after a really tight race but we will get them next time!

Kiff and Spencer raced again, this time in their own Womens Junior 15 category and were clearly faster and smoother than their opponents in both rounds, winning the final with grace and ease. Spencer, too, raced as a Junior on the Sunday and was, also triumphant even though the competition led by a girl from Rob Roy Boat Club was strong and determined.

So, all in all, a successful weekend for Sudbury RC, with 3 wins from 11 entries. The mens group was headed by collegiate crews but only by one other ‘Club’, Hamblett is on course to triumph at Bedford and Kiff and Spencer brought home the trophies. The next event for the Club will be Richmond Regatta on June 24th where we hope to pick up more prizes.

Playing with the Big Boys at Bedford Amateur Regatta

This regatta claims to be the biggest river regatta in the world and the largest event for 8s and 4s in the country. It was certainly very busy with races every 2 minutes from 8.30 in the morning to 7.30 at night between competitors from as far afield as York, Liverpool and Bristol. Even Sir Steven Redgrave was there (with his daughter) coaching a crew from Liverpool Victoria – a Channel 5 project to see if they can bring a group of disaffected urban youth up to Henley Royal Regatta standard..

Sudbury had entered an 8 of Russell Smith, Andrew Blit, Paul Sant, Johny Myers, Rob Snelling, Charles Howard and David Bull coxed by Mike Arnott (a triumph of experience over size) – a crew similar to those triumphant at Leicester the previous week. Competition at Bedford was bound to be tougher but the draw pitted the crew against local rivals Cambridge 99 Rowing Club in the first round.

Racing between the 2 outfits had been intense over the winter with Cambridge anxious to redress the balance, presently 2-1 in favour of the Sudbury boys. Their cox attempted to keep her crew relaxed by telling very bad jokes as the boats were waiting to get on the start line – unfortunately it was a tactic that misfired as the Cambridge crew crabbed disastrously, twice, in the first 15 strokes of the race to hand a decisive advantage to the Sudbury crew who waltzed away to win by 1 length without having to row at their best.

In the 2nd round SRC faced Radley School – a crew who had been training together for 3 or more years. After a lightning start from the schoolboys Sudbury held on to their opponents to half way, when the superior basic speed of the youngsters told. It was a determined row by Sudbury and there is no disgrace in losing to a crew from one of the leading rowing schools – the same thing happened to Sir Steve’s crew

Sudbury Triumphant in Distant Leicester

This was a relatively small expedition to this new destination for the Club. It is certainly a long way to go to race but the event is very well run, friendly. The regatta is held on the historic ‘Mile Straight’ of the Grand Union Canal in the centre of the town and the Club facilities are palatial (in a modern style)

SRC entered a Novice 4 and a Senior 4 8 hoping to meet (and beat) appropriate opposition. Following a few late withdrawals and call ups the four consisted of John Myers, Keith Paxman, Rob Snelling and David Bull coxed, bravely, by Oli Mitchell. Their first round opponents proved the most dangerous – Merchant Taylors School fielding a crew of small but technically very competent boys. Eventually Sudbury’s power told and they pulled away to win by 2 lengths. Some ‘exciting’ steering was a feature of the semi-final against de Montfort University A crew with the Race Committee turning down the students’ protests on the grounds that they had been beaten too early on in the race for it to have made any difference. The final was against a crew of very substantial gentlemen from Peterborough City RC. A great deal of power was evident in the first half of the race before the superior technique and fitness of the Sudbury crew broke their opponents to achieve a notable regatta win.

The 8 consisted of Myers, Paxman, Snelling and Bull joined by Andrew Blit, John Brooks, Tony Hogsbjerg and Charles Howard. For this event the Club ‘borrowed’ a cox from Merchant Taylors School, Taff Lewis, a welshman. The opposition came from the home club and included former Sudbury rower Andy Watson so competition was bound to be intense. Both crews had strong starts with Sudbury taking a small advantage. At about half way Lewis called for a push and a powerful burst by the Sudbury crew took them away from Leicester to win by over a length.

These wins entitles the Club to the Kirby & West Victor Ludorum for Senior events, an award based on the number of wins and the size of boat over the day.

Mixed Fortunes at Lea Spring Regatta

An extensive range of Sudbury rowers went to compete, from those attending their first regatta to seasoned veterans of many a campaign. First up were Sue Tickner and Paul Hamblett, racing above their class in Mixed Senior 3 doubles. In a fine, classy scull they dominated their opponents from Lea and won by 2 lengths. At the other end of the age spectrum were Andrew Blit and Mike Arnott in their first competitive outing for 11 months at Veteran D, average age 50-55. Having been given a 4 seconds start against their younger opponents they did well for the first half of the race, before lack of basic fitness caught up, nothing that a little training would not cure however.

Then Louisa Hayes and Joscelyn Ralph competed in their first race as a Mixed Novice Double and they turned in a competitive and racey performance albeit losing to a crew of Juniors from the home club. Lots to build on there. This race was closely followed by a match up between the gnarled and serious vetereans of Lea against the relative tyros of Sudbry in Veteran C fours. Against the odds the Sudbury crew of Blit, Keith Paxman, Rob Snelling and David Bull coxed by Michelle Cole held the local heros for 2/3s of the course before succumbing by half a length on the line.

Then Hamblett, last seen sculling with Tickner raced at Senior 2 (well above his ‘status’) against a local sculler. He was unfortunate enough to find an opponent who had been invited to attend national trials and after being competitive to half way had to concede 2nd best.

Now another Sudbury win – the Senior 4 coxed 4 of Johny Myers, John Brooks, Snelling and Dan Worricker again coxed by Cole were strong and powerful enough to win their event against local opposition. This was followed by a narrow Sudbury loss at Senior 3 fours, with Myers, Paxman, Snelling, Bull and Cole being rowed through by an experienced University of Kent crew who were one of the clas crews of the entire regatta.

Oli Mitchell and Sue Tickner were unlucky enough to face up to Lea opposition marginally too strong at Mixed Junior double scull but Mitchell with Woricker were comfortably triumphant in their Novice double scull event against opponents from Maidstone.

Tideway Eights, Vets Head GReat Success and a Grand Day Out

 The Head of the River Race

25 March 2006

A wholly successful and enjoyable day for the mens Novice 8. With the high start position bequeathed by last years’ crew there was both a promise of a fast time (with the benefit of the stream) and the danger of being dominated by surrounding, experienced crews. The SRC crew excelled themselves by taking advantage of the conditions and holding off all but the most determined of their opponents. Their finish position of 291 is, we think, the highest achieved by a Sudbury Novice crew and was the 1st Club Novice 8 home.

March Vesta Veterans Head

26 March 2006

The Mixed Veteran 8 emerged from hibernation to triumph, once again, this time at Mixed Vet C. They rather turn the old adage on its head, the better they are the younger they get! It will be good to see this formation out more over the summer.

Bedford Small Boats Head

9 April 2006

A substantial contingent attended the spring Bedford fest. We had 55 racing seats with 21 competitors. It was, so far as I can recall, the Club’s most successful trip with 6 wins centred around 2 competitors. Paul COMFORTABLY won both Novice and S4 singles – his best time would have won S3, S2 and would have had him second at S1 by 1 second! Jenny dominated WJ16 1x. Jenny and Paul were, naturally, fastest Mixed Novice 2x, Jenny and Jess won Womens Novice 2x (and would also have won the WJ16 event) and Paul and Sam won Mens N2x from a PCRC crew with pretensions of glory. In addition our S1 pairs matrix was only beaten by one crew and it took very good Novice 3s to beat our Mens groupings (the fastest N 4+ would also have won S4) and our scratch S4 crew was a close up 3rd in its event. Claire and Sue just held off Alex and Sue in their needle match and everyone who attended got a lot out of it. Oli beat Dan when singling and Dan and Oli together were but 7 seconds slower than Sam and Paul. Especial thanks to Michelle and Anna for bravely going up and down the river all day coxing (even if it was for Maidenhead!) Thus, despite a cold and wet end to the day, a very useful event!

Cambridge Winter League

Leg 1


A large club contingent across a wide spectrum of boat types. It was good to see that Novice Ladies get racing again, looking stronger than they had at Maidstone. The Juniors once again formed the backbone to the squad with Jenny yet again excelling. The Novice men had storming races in their 4 and 8, close to the front of their field and Sam & Aidan yet again showed their silky skills in the pair. The Club is very grateful to Cooney for towing, once more and to Aidan and Sam for helping run the awayday.

Legs 2 and 3

February and March Respectively

Having put ourselves in contention for 4 events and it was, in the end, a little disappointing to come away with only the 1 sets of their new glass-bottomed tankards. Congratulations to the Novice Ladies who took the precaution of being so far in front after 2 legs that they could afford a significant mishap in leg 3 and still win by a good distance. A storming row from Jenny and Paul in Leg 2 put the mixed double in contention from an unlikely position and the Novice mens 8 were 10th in the entire event which is laudable in itself. They were perhaps unfortunate to find that Cambridge 99s group had progressed between legs 2 and 3 a great deal. It is also a demonstration that moving from macons to cleavers does not guarantee any change in speed.

Maidstone Small Boats Head

A significant Club expedition. Despite Maidstone dropping out crews left right and centre owing to CLAIMED lack of opposition the Club fielded 20 athletes most competing twice or more. The average standard of our entrants was as high as I can remember (within each class) and it is encouraging, from a Captaincy point of view, to record that watching the post-match video (available from all good Hogsbjerg outlets) to note the consistency of SRC rowing ‘style’. The Club’s results reflected our aspirations too. Wins were recorded by Jenny at WJ15 1x (would also have won WJ16). Jenny and Sophie at WJ162x, Anna and Sue and WN2x (they were 2nd in their event also!), Keith, Rob, Dave and John M at N4+ (with the other 2 combinations 2nd and 3rd= in the same event on time) and Aidan and Trevor at S2 2-.

Kenneth J Mills

It is with huge sadness that Sudbury Rowing Club has to report the death of one of it’s members at the club’s 124th regatta this weekend.

Kenneth (Ken) Mills (58), long-standing member and trustee of Sudbury Rowing Club, collapsed at the end of his race at Sudbury Regatta on Saturday 7 August. He was attended to immediately by the St Johns Ambulance team and doctors on site, before being taken by ambulance to West Suffolk Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Family and fellow club members are shocked and saddened by this loss. Ken was a keen competitor and had raced at many regattas over the years, including Henley. He trained regularly both on and off the water, a fact which makes the news of his death even more difficult to bear.

The Chairman of Sudbury Rowing Club, Tricia McGrillen, said

“Ken was a faithful committee member, and Treasurer of the Club. We gain some comfort in knowing that he died taking part in a sport that he loved at the club he was dedicated to. This was an extremely sad day for us all, and Ken will be greatly missed, both for his contribution to the club and for his personality”.

In accordance with the wishes of his wife, who was also competing that day, the Club continued with their Regatta weekend.

Members in the News at Henley Royal Regatta

Sam Hogsbjerg rowed at six in the King’s College ‘A’ eight which qualified in the Temple Challenge Cup. Their first race on Wednesday was against the US Naval Academy which had won the trip to Henley by winning the IRA’s (sort of American equivalent of BUSA) in lightweight eights. The US crew equalled the second fastest time of the day to win by 3¾ lengths.

Peter Gostling was stroke of Leander Club’s Ladies’ Challenge Plate eight. Their first race was on Friday against Christiania & Norske Roklub of Norway, which they won by two lengths to set up a semi-final against Boston University, who were the seeded crew in that half of the draw. In a close contest in which the lead changed hands a number of times, and the announcer had to resort to ever smaller fractions of boat-lengths to relay the margin, Leander held on to win by ¾L. That set up a final with Harvard, the US varsity heavyweight champions, who as the other seeded crew had a slightly more comfortable win over Grasshopper of Switzerland. In the final Leander had a two length lead at Fawley, half-way, but Harvard fought back, but to no avail as Leander recorded a popular home win by ¾L.

Well done to Peter – that’s his fird Henley medal!

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