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Reading Amateur Regatta

By 14 June 2003August 6th, 2020No Comments

Tony, Kevin, Trevor and Sam raced S2 and S1 4-. By the time I got there they had had their first S2 race. And last. Against Eton (see J for Juniors)(and Z for ZigZag as it turns out)

Apparently neither crew had spent a long time in their nominated lane. Eton had buggered off into a bay into which our brave boys (Tony steering) had followed them. Then they went as far apart as they could manage on a fairly wide part of the Thames. Then, finally, Eton had made a dive for our boys, who were half a length up with a third of the course still to row. But Tony saw them coming and managed, cunningly, to get into their lane before they could get into his. Thus, in the resulting collision it was SRC that got disqualified. The rest of the event was somewhat odd with people dropping out cos they didn’t feel like it (imagine how this upset our Trevor) – the final was between Eton and ?RMA Sandhurst or some other squaddies – as they hove into view with about 25 strokes to go, the military were leading the effete by a wide margin and both crews were rating in the low 20s (imagine how THIS upset our Trevor). As they passed us Eton broke into a sprint (imagine HOW THIS upset our Trevor – he cursed them very volubly and effectively I thought)

They rowed somewhat better in the S1 but were demolished by RMA Sandhurst again

And it was on this note that our brave ladies boated to face the might of Twickenham. They were nervous. So was I! Dunno if you know the regatta but there is a fairly substantial stagger to the berkshire bank on the start, plus the 1st bend. SRC were on that station and I waited on my bike to see them emerge after about 30 strokes (the towpath near the start being VERY slight) to see them very nearly a length up! They rowed really calmly, perhaps a little too calmly as Twickers had the inside of the next bend and did NOT give up. Half a length in the enclosures was turned into 1/4 of a length as they crossed the finish line, not having wound up or any such thing. Tony admitted afterwards that he might have been a little complacent, but a win’s a win, especially against them gals

2nd round was against Curlew, whose S2 4+ I saw getting thoroughly dismantled by some yankee chicks in a Vespoli. Curlew were clearly bigger than a) our gals (anyone would be – I estimate the combined weight of our bow 3 to be less than 170 Kg) and b) Twickenham. Also they looked grim, not a good sign i thought. Grim = purposeful btw. They had won their first round easily over a very moderate City of Oxford crew. We were on the north station this time, against the stagger and didn’t have our best start. So it was SRC habing on to the back of Curlew as the first bend unwound. But the ladies were excellent. They kept rowing well and gradually rowed Curlew down with the help of the favourable bend, emerging from it dead level, which the race remained for about 30 strokes as I conversed with the Curlew coach on HIS bike (“it’s a bit bloody close” “you’re not wrong”). Then, as the bend went back to Curlew it was SRC that stated to pull away, just rowing more aggressively and sharply than the oppo, breaking their hearts and ending up winning by a length. Possibly the best racing performance I have seen from any SRC ladies. They rowed both effectively and aggressively.

Final was against Exeter Uni who were similar size to Curlew burds but significantly sharper. They also had gotten to the final without having to race, both their previous opponents having had either equipment of personnel failures (an ambulance was required for the Semi). We were on the inside of the first bend once more but could not get out as far as we had against Twickenham and Exeter Uni got back on terms quite quickly. The girls hung on for a while, and fought back when down, but the power and freshness of the studes got ’em in the end by 2l. Oh and the studes had a brand new 2KV eight in blue (see B is for Boat).

The girls did REALLY well methinks and deserved their beer even though the bar had shut by that point

Other moments of note: Reading S1 8+ rowing straight onto a narrow boat in front of the enclosures. Curlew woman swapping a one-piece with Curlew man on the landing stage – why? Peter Haining declaring that his UTRC boys were Senior B athletes. Melanie (new SRC gal from Somerville) declaring that extensive studies of rowing photographs showed that there are only, in fact, two rowing expressions – constipated or orgasmic. She shows potential.

Oh and one other major highlight…

The Regatta required to see ARA cards before finals, and Ma Hogsbjerg had put hers together on the day. Unfortunately she had neglected to deploy the might of her reading spectacles to full effect and had affixed her delightful visage to the card of, step forward Mr Anthony Hogsbjerg. Sadly the officials spotted the error or we might yet have seen Tony racing as Rosemary

Andrew Blit