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Gold and Silver at the British Masters - 18th May 2014

The British Masters event has become more popular over the years and this year had the highest entry to date. There were also some changes to the criteria for the categories and for culling crews if the event was over-subscribed. Unfortunately our Women’s Vet D four got bumped out of the draw and didn’t get a row and our Men’s IM3 B crew scratched. For the rest of the week, all eyes were on the weather forecast as the juniors Ball Cup event had been cancelled the week before due to high winds. Over the years this Masters event has thrown all manner of weather conditions at the competitors, so we were very fortunate to have a beautiful sunny day, allowing the successful crews bask in their glory and allowing the less successful to see the bright side. Congratulations to our medalists; Gold for Women’s Eight and Silver for Philip in his single.
In looking back at the history of the club, we can see how in the early days we struggled to be competitive at Novice level but have improved so much over the years that 4 out of our 9 events were contested at Championship level against the best in the country at their respective age groups - a significant achievement for the club. With every success at Novice and IM3 more of our members join the top level of competition where the virtues of training become much more apparent and we have been found a little wanting on this front.
On a sunnier note, once again we were fabulously supported by family and club members and what we lack in gym time we more than make up for in vocal support and encouragement. In the absence of a 5 star camper van, we made best use of a gazebo to produce a very sociable encampment. Jack came along to support and worked tirelessly helping out the “old people” and was like a care worker helping these poor oldies to rig their boats, carry them down and even helped with their shoes. It was like a day out in Nottingham for the OTRC old people’s home.
WA Nov 2x (Katy Islip, Keely Watson)
Having the honour (?!?) of the first race for the club, we arrived at the event eager to get under way and to our huge relief  the weather was as good as it could be -  sunny - and the water was as calm as a mill pond.  
With a brisk and enthusiastic, but splashy, start we did our best to intimidate the other boats.  Unfortunately this did not work, so we settled into a good rhythm, working hard to keep in the race.  The steering to our relief was a lot easier than in practice and for a change we were able to go in a straight(ish) line, not that some other Oundle crews will believe that!
Despite our best efforts, we were unable to keep up with our very good opposition, finishing second out of the two MasA boats or third overall. 
D.IM3 1x (Philip Chandler) SILVER MEDALIST!!
There were six entries to this race – a straight final, so it was all or nothing…..
My first stroke wasn’t brilliant, but I stayed dry - so a successful start.
I kept my eyes ahead and at the 500m mark I was ahead of 3 others and all but level pegging with a Christchurch sculler on my inside.
Legs burning like billyo, glutes the same.
…….but where was the other bloke – was he that good as to be out of sight?
250 to go, well ahead of the 3, struggling against Christchurch, legs burning like bu**ery.
Fading fast, third it is then………
“You were second then?” I said by way of congratulations to the Christchurch fellow.  “No”, he said “First”!
“Well where’s the other guy then?” I asked – “Only five turned up” he said.
I was beaten fair and square by over 3 seconds – a good two or three lengths - and I’m very happy to be the Silver Sculler….
….well until next year, anyway….
Thanks for all the very vocal support and I’m sorry I couldn’t deliver a Gold on the day. That honour goes to the Ladies, who did it in style…..!
D2 – (Mark Quigley, Jon Heaney)
Match Report in the style of Kimi Raikkonen."We came last, What more is there to say".
WC4+(Vicky Birchall, Jo Milborne, Becky Smith, Becca Craike-Pickering, cox: Rhona Murray)
Our first race of the day on an amazingly calm lake, or that's what we thought till we rowed up and discovered quite a cross-wind at the start. 
We were in the second heat of 6 crews and we had to be in the first 3 to finish and only 4 boats were at the start, 2 boats seemed to have scratched.
We had a very tidy start but found ourselves down slightly from there and were playing catch-up which alas did not come. However we had a very good row and were very pleased with our race and our time.
E4- (John Wight, Brian Hardwick, Mark Quigley, Jon Heaney, cox:Paul Pearson)
We got up on Sunday morning, and were greeted by a bright summer’s day. We drove up to Nottingham, without a care in the world (except the little butterflies in our stomach). We splashed on the sun screen, and got ready! It was down to the start, and we put in a mad dash to get the cox box from Rhona who had just finished. Unfortunately, Jon suffered from a pulled muscle in his leg, but we persevered on. It was down to the start, turned round, with a considerable cross wind to the stake boat. Attention, and we're off! Going steady, for the first 250m, but the power of this year’s competition was slowly exhibited, as the crews got more of a lead. Overall, it was very enjoyable, but no medals were in the offing. Mark managed to compete, before jetting off to Sweden.
E8- (Bob carpenter, Charlie Efford, Simon Murray, John Milborne, Andrew Harland, Peter Dunn, Hugh McCormack, Alan McMurdo, cox: Anita Dunn
Aka… Chairman McMurdo, Hugh ‘nearly ready’ McCormack, Peter D, Andreii Harlovski, Cap’n Milborne, Simon Murray, Charlie Efford and Robert Carpenter. Cox: Anita Dunn
An uncharacteristically dry and calm day saw the team assemble at Nottingham for their first Masters Champs. The crew consisted of some with aeons of rowing experience and some with little but all had worked hard in the previous weeks to build into a team ably led by ‘red mist Rob’ and his second in command, the slightly more considered, Charlie but with the overall training plan devised by Captain. Little chats before and after the outings had gelled the crew into a fighting unit and all had been working hard on their own personal fitness plan. 
Boating early to get as much warm-up time as possible, the wind seemed to revert to the crosswind that the ex-sailing lake is famous for.
We managed to assist with a little repair to another boat on the way up (not our opposition) and all was fine.
After a little marital spat between the Dunns with the famous-“your watch must be wrong” line ringing in my ears we made it to the start with ages to go.
After some judicious 2 paddling on with Bows blade Hugh managed to pass Chairman Mao his blade back just in time and we managed to start in a straight line. 
The Quintin and Crabtree crews left us for dust off the start and continued to power ahead into the distance but we remained in touch with and began easing up to the Tyne crew until the 500m mark when they seemed to change gear and we faded but kept trying to the line.
No time published as yet but we were last; beaten by the Category winners of the Vesta Vets Tideway Race earlier this Spring.
Thanks to the crew for a great experience and for everything I’ve learned.
D.IM3 2x (Philip Chandler, Hugh McCormack)
Oh Dear, Oh Dear, so much expectation on these two old men...fastest boat in the club etc. etc...but unfortunately not fast enough to win their event at the Masters. After a solid start, they never quite got into their stride but held their position in the middle of the field until the last 250 m, at which point according to 'onlookers' they relied on upper body work to keep the boat moving, rather than leg drive, which slowed them down and enabled the 'oppo' to outflank them and push them back to a disappointing 3rd place...
E.IM3 2x (Bob Carpenter, John Milborne)
This combination has high aspirations but has not yet produced the goods. In training in the build up to the event, they swung from good to bad testing themselves against the club super stars, in the form of Philip and Hugh, gradually cutting the gulf between the crews and even edging them in some practice starts on Saturday; but also catching some crabs. Bob & John have shown signs of being fair weather rowers, looking a bit shaky in anything other than perfect conditions - and so it was on the big day. Boating early the boys managed some practice starts, which included the good, the bad and the ugly, depending on the wind. In the race they lead for the first 250m, rowing in perfectly calm conditions, but once the wind gusted they lost their form and dropped back badly in the middle 500m before rallying a bit in the final 250m. I expect the boys will now be seeking advice on their wind problem.
WC8- (Becky Smith, Jennie Stratton, Vicky Birchall,  Jo Milborne , Keely Watson, Becca Craike-Pickering, Angela Hook, Calire Izod, cox: Rhona Murray) GOLD MEDALLISTS!!
We were the last race of the day for OTRC at 5.30 in the evening, a long wait but enough time for some retail therapy and a nice cup of tea thanks to Fiona's smart stove.
So on to the stake boats, not helped by the only crosswind in the British Isles yesterday. We had a slightly skewed start (thanks to the wind not the rowing) and we were off down the course in lane 2, marginally ahead of the other
Mast C crew. The 3 Mast D crews were in their separate category in the other 3 lanes, so we could ignore them and concentrate on beating our neighbours in lane 1, Warwick.
At 500m Warwick were pushing hard and came past us, we responded with a push but they were still slightly ahead at about 200m from the finish. I called for another push, the crew responded and we were coming back at them fast despite their cox being very loud at this point, but ably matched by the legendary OTRC supporters.
Warwick were still holding us, so with about 50m to go Becky screamed for another Up 2 and the crew just responded and stayed composed. I knew it was close but didn't expect a photo finish! After what seemed
ages, they announced our name as winners of Mast. C, we had got it by 2/100 second! Ross had won the race but we had won Gold too. Warwick very sportingly thanked us for a great race.
Photo: we did not throw her in!