After the Ball Cup and Masters we tend to have bit of disruption to our normal training as many juniors concentrate on their exams and the seniors start taking holidays. St Ives Invitation has been an opportunity for the club to come together and enjoy some racing in a friendly and less pressured environment. This year St Ives chose to try a regatta format and also embraced the emerging format of Splash & Dash or Explore racing, which allowed OTRC to take the whole club to this event. The sun shone and the club enjoyed a cracking day out and some entertaining racing.
Organising a whole club event is a logistical challenge and the more so when members are abroad or involved in exams. This year was no exception with the last rower to confirm their availability late on Friday. OTRC also took the opportunity to compete in mixed crews, which during the year have been cut from the over-subscribed events, so equipment, coxes and club member availability was stretched to the maximum. St Ives were keen to give everyone a chance of a race but with this “can do” attitude combined with late changes to crew line ups meant that there were several changes to the race schedule including on the day itself. OTRC members coped with the changes to the timetable and allocation of the equipment with their customary good humour and once again members, their families and supporters rallied round to help with boating, rigging, lifting etc. The OTRC spirit was alive and kicking as members volunteered to cox, sub and race in events at short notice. It felt as though we were the best supported club with every crew getting the full encouragement of the club. Thanks very much to everyone who helped and supported.
The regatta format, with racing over a 500m course, provided a better spectator experience which included not only some great races but some entertaining steering! The club was very successful winning several events and some members were multiple winners on the day. Well done OTRC!
1x Jack Stratton
With it being a new experience for me being first race of the day I was a little apprehensive pre-race but not as much as my oppo who was doing his first ever race. I got off to a good start and won comfortably, after having a chat at the finish I thought I would let him know that I have seen others fall in before they even got to the start (*cough* Mr Milborne *cough*), and it was a decent race.
For the final I was up against the first person my Dad or Bex saw after Charlie D was 'injured'. I raced him before when training with St. Ives and we were fairly even so expected a good race. We were even coming round the corner and he then hit some swans but bounced back straight away to win the race, I was a bit bitter because the same happened last year when St Ives 'found' an opponent for me and he went on to batter me in the race and I'm not one for excuses but I can see a trend developing...
Mixed 4+ Philip Chandler, John Milborne, Martine Chandler, Kate Ellis, cox: Rhona Murray
Despite trying to coerce the opposition's cox to give us a bit of an advantage, oh and not to mention we had only been out once before....we set off. Philip , now seen more frequently with just one oar in his hands, set a good pace, we were surprisingly close as we made our way down, hearts pumping, hats blowing off, our cox shouting magnificently (without a cox box....but no fear Rhona has a good set of lungs ) , we were catching them.....oh if only a few more yards, the whistle went and it was all over....perhaps we worried them just a little bit...! Hurrah... an Oundle win....maybe next time it will be our boat!
2x (Junior) Rochelle Cox, Becky Smith (Jr) WINNERS
We were sitting at the start line waiting for our opposition and I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous before a race. But once I turned around to find the girls stuck in a tree, I thought we had nothing to worry about (and that thought was very wrong). The start felt really fast, how he shouted attention and then go the second later. It was neck and neck nearly the whole way down till I saw we were about a stroke ahead which was when I started screaming at Rochelle to row as hard as she could, taking us further into the lead. We were finally near the finish but I had no clue where we were supposed to stop so we started to slow down before I realised the finish was about 10 strokes away. Still ahead of the other girls, we pushed on the to finish, winning the heat. I then had to row in the quad but just as we were getting out the boat (after losing to the other Oundle crew), John said that our final had been moved so I quickly got out and had about 5 minutes before we had to go back out again. My mum said that the girls we were about to row against were very powerful so I expected us to lose miserably. This start felt much more powerful and clean than in the other races that day, and right from the start of the race, we were way ahead of them right through to the end. We crossed the line with smiles on our faces with the realisation that this was the first race we won in our double.
Mens masters 4+ John Wight, Brian Hardwick, Martyn Dunkley, Peter Cook. Cox Charlie Dunn
This was the first outing in this crew and the first race for Peter Cook since joining the club. We were due to race around 10.30 but the St. Ives crew were nowhere to be found. After many conversations between the organisers and our captain, it was decided that the race would be re-scheduled to the penultimate race of the day. John Wight filled his time before the race by eating endless bars of snickers. Lining up for the start against a hurriedly arranged St. Ives crew we managed a reasonable start and controlled the race quite easily winning without exerting too much energy. Then we had to return to the start to compete in the final against the Oundle masters E crew of Simon, Charlie, Hugh and Peter. Unfortunately the start was not the best and we ended up shooting across the river into the other lane. By this time the opposition was storming ahead and we were well beaten.
W(Vet) 4x Keely Watson, Angela Hook, Rebecca Craike-Pickering, Claire Izod
Our warm up was a brisk walk to the St Ives boat club. The boat was on loan as we were up against our juniors who were using OUR Quad. The ‘bath tub’ we borrowed was very ‘rattly’ and ‘pulling up high’ was indeed, very high. We won our race by 2 lengths but felt it was not our best. Thanks to the other OTRC crew for giving us some good competition.
WJ16 4x (with a ringer) Beth Telford, Anita Dunn, Jess Anderson, Becky Smith (Jr)
Take me back 40 years to a time when I could only row a dinghy………These lovely girls ended up with a cuckoo in the nest in the shape of an old lady pretending to be a J16. They rowed very well and were an easy crew to slot into despite Jess only just returning to rowing after an exam break. Becky did amazingly well jumping out of her previous boat and straight into the quad. Beth stroked well and Jess backed her up to establish a good rhythm. However we were just pipped at the post by the Oundle Womens’ quad in a tight finish demonstrating the girls’ grit. Thanks Girls.
Mixed 2x Jack Stratton, Lucy Birchall WINNERS
Heat; After showing off our starts to the opposition pre-race, we obviously shook them because we were ahead from the go. We then settled into a rhythm with just a corner to navigate, due to my 'backseat driver' nature in a crew boat I told Lucy just "Concentrate on steering!". It worked, we didn't crash and consequently tried to look our best for the Oundle support and so we won by some lengths.
Final; After a long wait between the heat and final Lucy and I felt rather confident on the way up to the start. After some awful joke telling from the marshalls on the bank we were off and straight away I knew it would be an annoying race. The bowman of the opposite crew decided to be in-boat cox, coach and motivational speaker as he shouted at his crew for the entirety of the race. His race plan didn't work out though as we won, after the brushing of blades (their fault of course!) and crossing the finish line was like music to my ears as he finally stopped talking.
WJ17 1x Lauren Leer WINNER
I happened to win this race, by quite some distance due to poor steering of my opponent. She crashed before the corner, so being a good sportswoman, I stopped briefly to wait for her to get out of the reeds. Once we started back, she crashed yet again, so I the continued instead of waiting. I was rather far ahead and crossed the line with about six lengths between us and in the time I had finished, another crash by my opponent happened before the finish line. So a win, but not exactly the competitive race I would have liked.
Vet E 4x Simon Murray, Brian Hardwick, Alan McMurdo, John Milborne
Your Master E crew found themselves in their third outing [ever] on the Ouse against a home team of young upstarts. The competition was in the form of a Master C crew that contained gold medalists from the Nationals and an ex- GB squad girly masquerading as a bloke....well she had her hair tied back. Magnanimously they gave us the inside lane so that we would have best of the bend. Off we went neck and neck, the start came and went, the stride followed...it was wet and whacky until we relaxed. Sadly we relaxed a little too much and the best of the bend we had previously enjoyed jumped out to bite us. We had a minor banking crisis, disturbed some nesting reed warblers and then backed down with aplomb. Eventually crossing the finish line in second place....ah well another silver medal....
SPLASH & DASH – for adults new to racing
Splash and Dash....Ladies (A crew)
Thanks to Dick's planning we were organised into crews, last minute concern,,,,where's Antony? ( he'd gone home....a blazer awarded for that one ) So Karin ably stepped in, a quick costume change and we were off. 3 races, won 1 (and didn't win 2), a good opportunity to change usual seats (a different head to focus on) , and for our wonderful coxes to steer the equivalent of a container ship ( thank you to all) - by Martine
Men’s Learn to Race Crew
The Oundle L2Race men’s coxed quad reunited at St. Ives on for their first action since their triumphant, five-win outing at Broxbourne in May.
Race 1: Oundle Men vs. Bedford Ladies
The race began well, with Dick’s steady and strong pace, but was soon endangered when Jason’s feet came off the footplate, costing a stroke or two. Seconds later, Tim caught a crab, but recovered brilliantly. Not one to be outdone, Jason also caught a crab, and was not able to recover before the whistle blew.
On a hot summer’s day on the Great River Ouse, the men tasted defeat for the first time.
The men congratulated the elated Bedford crew, and prepared for the next race. Spoiler Alert!
The Bedford ladies would carry on to win the full Explore event.
Race 2: Oundle Men vs. Ely Mixed
A much calmer crew again approached the river Ouse and, with technique in mind, executed a much improved race and soundly defeated the Ely crew. The men were vindicated.
Thanks very much to Becky and Charlie for volunteering to cox us, and for the legendary OTRC cheering support!
W 2x Keely Watson (Jelly), Rebecca Craike-Pickering (Flipper) WINNERS
Our first race after a very long lunch was against our own Juniors Lucy and Charlotte. Despite my usual steering issues we won this heat so were through to the final. The final was against a Junior crew from Huntingdon, they were sisters, so a lot of bickering was to be heard!! The start was very quick, with Flipper saying, "that was quick" on the second stroke. We felt we had a controlled powerful row and won our final without any steering issues, this was expected of Flipper!!
W 2x Lucy Birchall, Charlotte Woolf
After having successfully steered the course earlier in the day I was pretty confident I could get Charlotte and I down the course without hitting anything. How wrong I was... after a good start the race was pretty even (we were racing Becca and Keely) until I realised that we were pointing directly at that huge hay bail thing! 'Hard on green' I yelled but it was too late, we both clipped the bail with our oars, giving vital seconds to the opposition! In our efforts to avoid the bank again we ended up in the middle of the river where we found Becca and Keely, slightly ahead of us but also taking the 'direct' line down the middle of the course. We managed to gain on them enough so that there was lots of clashing of blades and exciting stuff like that but maintained our position if being 'just behind them' until we were over the line! Well done to Bec and Keely, it was a very exciting race!
2x Hugh McCormack, Philip Chandler - Masters double sculls (Philip & Hugh)
With the seventieth anniversary of D-day commemorations only recently passing, it was with heroic intent that Hugh & Philip set off in their trusty craft for the final of the Masters double sculls. Their oppo was the erstwhile Oundle sculler Mr Stratton, along with his unnamed (and unknown) crew mate.
After a decent warm up they made a good clean start and got into a good rhythm. It was neck & neck as they passed the roaring crowds at the landing stage, steering as close to the buoys as possible, knowing that after the first bend the rest of the course was dead straight……..wasn’t it?
Well, er no, it wasn’t! Like many-a-boat before them (including our glorious Captain’s) the steersman (Who was in charge of steering Phil?) was caught out by the very gentle right-hander just before the finish. So impressive was their entrance to the reed bed that it was almost an amphibious landing! Eisenhower, Churchill and Monty would all have been proud….and Moses wouldn’t have stood a chance!
Mixed 4+ Hugh McCormack, Peter Dunn, Becky Smith, Jennie Stratton, cox: Charlie D
After a hastily organised mid-week outing, thanks to Jennie’s forward planning, she as well as Hugh, Peter Dunn and Smithy and their cox, Charlie Dunn, felt fully prepared for the challenge ahead of them and were the picture of composure at the start – in one of the few races running roughly to time! After a steady start and a good racing line, they stormed to victory, the elegance, poise and faultless technique of the bow and stroke rowers perfectly matched by the meat and gristle in the middle of the boat, supplied straight from the butchers slab by Hugh and Peter (and, might I say, pound for pound, excellent value for money) …watch these boys…they’re in demand at this regatta! It was just a shame that it had to be an Oundle crew that they beat…But then, they had to do it all over again, just as they were settling down to afternoon tea and cake, they finally got the call…but this time it was a proper enemy crew, Isle of Ely who only seemed to have one proper old person in the boat the others being either too young or to tall. However looks can be deceptive and with a well- practised routine (our 3rd outing as a crew?) and excellent coxing by Lauren they once again triumphed and were soon able to resume their afternoon tea and cake, knowing that they had done their club and country proud.
Mixed 2x Claire Izod, Simon Murray
This crew decided to rekindle and build on their experience from last year and try one more season together. Having not rowed together for a number of months they were surprised how much of their form had been lost, so felt some extra outings were required and with benefit of John's master class tuition (care of a raffle prise won at the OTRC quiz night!) they were beginning to build on their technique. Weldon Craft and Oarsome Sprit were discarded for Celia. Whilst waiting to boat they spotted their opposition and were surprised to find out they had recently been potty trained and had just granted a place at the local nursery . It was decided to enquire if there may be had a staggered start or time handicap allocation? Well it was worth a try! After the traditional clean start they got into their rhythm trying to implement everything John had taught them. Simon steered a faultless course navigating round all the bends, reeds, water lilies and the random hay bale ! However the juniors pulled away and after Claire found out, with a 10mts to go, that she had run out of fuel, Simon was left to drag the boat over the finish line well behind the youngsters from St Ives . So back to the drawing board and more jelly babies for Claire! Simon went on to boat again for his 6th trip up the river!
Mas 2+: Philip Chandler, John Milborne WINNERS
With John at Bow (and therefore responsible for steering) Philip had been made somewhat nervous when, early in the day, he witnessed John colliding heavily with the reeds on the far side – how embarrassing for the club Captain to make such a basic error….!
Having then made the same “Basic” error himself (see Masters Double Sculls Report), Philip was in no position to complain, so the nervous pair made their way down to the start trying to dispel those nerves, attempting to disassociate themselves mentally from Phragmites australis (the common reed) and surreptitiously eye up their oppo at the same time. Lining up at the start and, sensibly, taking the near side lane, they waited for the “off”, only to be told to stand down whilst a pleasure cruiser untangled itself from one of the lane marker buoys.
Back at the start once the cruiser had gone they found themselves subject to the verbal abuse of the Start Marshal. Such comments as “Try to stay in the wet bit in the middle” and “It’s not a landing craft, you know”…….this would never happen at Henley!
Suffice it to say, they weren’t put off by such shenanigans and they romped home after a good, strong row, down the middle of the course several lengths ahead. Worthy winners!
IM3 4+ Jack Stratton, Tim Bell, Martyn Dunkley, Richard Box, cox:Becca WINNERS
With two subs in this crew and the distinct lack of any training together and waiting for Jack to finish his race in the mixed double, we eventually got into the boat and paddled to the start. Lining up against an Ely crew, who looked slightly more athletic than us, we were wondering would Jack have any energy left after his numerous races, would Tim’s hay fever hinder his performance, what effect would Richard’s sunburn have and would the cheeseburger for Martyn’s lunch stay down.
As the starter shouted go, we managed to get the first few strokes clean and gradually started to pull away. We maintained a lead of around a length for most of the race only starting to get a bit erratic and splashy in the last ten strokes. We crossed the line half a length in front. Thanks to Becs for steering a great line.
4+ Simon Murray, Charlie Efford, Hugh McCormack, Peter Dunn, Cox: Rhona
After a hastily organised mid-week outing it was a straight final for this newly formed crew of Simon, Peter Dunn, Hugh, Charlie Efford and Rhona in the cox’s seat.. don’t know why, but they weren’t going to kick up a fuss about it ..maybe it was because they were ‘old dogs’( excepting Rhona of course)…little did the opposition know that the crews nickname was ‘Winnalot’…and they had Pedigree, Chum. It looked like none of the other Clubs were brave enough to challenge this gold medal winning crew ( …and I’m not talking Crufts) so it was down to another Oundle boat, John Wight’s Four, to take up the challenge. However they had just won their heat and so were already warmed up, in buoyant mood and boated and it wasn’t long before the race was on. With Peter and Hugh once again providing the ‘meat in the sandwich’, Simon setting a cracking pace, Rhona driving them on with some rousing calls and Charlie working hard at bow, they came across the line in first place, without encountering a single swan.
Sorry, there were no match reports from these other crews, who, I am sure, raced valiantly and had a great time.
2x (junior) Joe Pendred, Josh Bonnet
Mixed Jnr 4x Rohan Anand, Alfie Loseby, Beatrice Gutteridge-Smith,Ellie Nesbitt, cox: Lauren Leer
Junior 4+ Charlotte Woolf, Lauren Leer, Sophie Milner, Ellie Towson, cox: Rhona Murray
4+ Richard Box, Ben Johnson, Tim Bell, Charlie Dunn, cox; Rhona Murray WINNERS
W 2x Becky Smith, Jennie Stratton
Jnr 2x William Berridge, Jordan Bone
Mixed Jnr 4x Olivia Moyses, Olivia Hutchinson, Joe Pendred, Josh Bonnet cox: Becky Smith (Jr)
Nov 1X: Charlie Dunn