Doncaster Head - Saturday 13th February 2016

This year we decided to expand our horizons and seek competition further afield as an alternative to yet another event at Bedford. The South Yorkshire Head is run jointly by the Sheffield and Doncaster rowing clubs and held over a 4k course on the outskirts of Doncaster.  Due to half term, several of OTRC's established crews were unavailable but six crews did make the trip.  The weather was almost ideal (dry, no wind) and despite the course being longer than we are normally used to, all crews performed well, looked well drilled and were a credit to the club.  The organisation was excellent, perhaps the only criticism would be the quality of the bacon sandwiches which were reported to be "a bit soggy."  There was much interest and banter regarding the fastest OTRC club crew; modesty forbids me to mention the winner, so see the results below.
It seems that no event is without its drama - somewhere on the AI are 2 hatch covers lost in transit, so a special thank you is due to Hugh who sorted out replacements, Aunty Angela who was forced to cut short her Saturday lie-in to open the boathouse and to Nicola Anand for bringing the covers with her."

WIM3 8+ (Vicky, Jennie, Becky, Jo, Libby, Zoe, Fiona, Claire, cox: Rhona).  Time 17:58

Another ridiculously early start but the weather stayed dry for us with none of the rumoured snow! We had a more relaxed row down and warm up this week but still with some balance issues. 
The start was controlled and strong with some rallying calls from the waiting Oundle crew pushing us on.
The rate was a very comfortable 30 and all was feeling great ... 
THEN there were some unfamiliar cries from the Cox that we were “gaining on the crew in front". 
A clash of blades, we were past and we were spurred on to a very strong second half. 
We managed to successfully keep the young bobble hat girls crew at a good distance. I think the cheers from the bacon butty guys, strategically chatted up prior to the race, helped significantly. 
Some bridges to go under, a cry that we were nearly home and then it was all over. 
Jelly babies were distributed, we avoided eye contact with the Lancaster lasses we had had the moment with and it was back to the trailer for a bacon sandwich. 
Thanks as always to John and his trailer driving, words of wisdom and coaching skills. Thanks also to Jack and Anthony for boat assistance and shoe fetching. Much appreciated. 
Next stop WEHORR.

IM34x-: Rob, Brian, Simon, John Time 16.56

Somebody joked that the physiological age of this Vet 4x is younger than their chronological age.( 10 mins?) For this reason and inspired by the potential of time travel and gravitational waves they undertook to take on a much younger IM3x category. Did they succeed? Not quite.Time travel is still not possible.
It is important to have experience of rowing in a 4K race .Knowing when to push and pushing hard at the right time is a delicate balance in a long race. Still, bragging rights to the Old Gits.
A great venue and very enjoyable experience.

Nov8+: Dick, Charlie D, Jack, Leslie, Peter C, Ron, Antony, Mark F; cox: Rhona Time 17:28

The 2nd. Division started boating about 11-30am. There were approximately 70 boats in each division; we were #75 & would therefore start 5th in our division. We assembled with little fuss at the start near the prison, although a cold breeze didn't help us keep warm during our wait for the rest of the field to assemble.
At last we started to move out into the stream Rhona calling for medium, then full pressure, – then “GO”. We were just settling into our stride when we passed the #74 crew (Hull Uni.) backing out after an argument with the bank. We were negotiating the bends nicely with little bother to the sit of the boat & by the time we were approaching the boathouse we were going well. The Oundle “Roar”
could be heard & it felt good. As the noise abated we thought great, we're half way there & the crew we'd passed by earlier were not coming back at us. About 300yds. past the boathouse – Calamity – #4's foot restraint came off & although we didn't know why at the time, the boat had lost it's rhythm,  then shortly after that bow caught two crabs in quick succession. Luckily we were able to keep going & did well to get it back together again. The first, then the second railway bridge came past ,-- then we'd finished!!! After a long wait we turned the boat to head back to the boathouse. The BBQ smelt wonderful as we queued at the landing stage to disembark. We'd had a good row.
(Fastest Novice 8 on the day, time 16min.10sec.)

IM3 4x-: Conor, Ben H, Rohan, Will B Time 17.22

After being shuffled around a bit while waiting at the start and given a 4 minute gap we set off, being the first crew down the river after the eights, we felt like we had an extra pressure but we were determined to not be overtaken. About halfway around the first bend the balance on the boat was upset and we lost some speed, we recovered well and quickly got the boat back up to speed. The rest of the race went smoothly and felt quick, we managed to hold off all of the other boats and increased our lead on the crew behind us throughout the race.  We haven't had many training sessions to practice the 4km so although we came third in our division we still beat the eight by 6 seconds!

MxNov2x-: Lel, Richard Time 19:08

After a nervous wait for hatches to be brought across by the boys, Richard and I were really looking forward to the race. Neither of us had raced 4km before so were unsure of how it would go – our plan being to keep ahead and (if possible) create more space between Jo and Vicky who were following us down. The first half of the race was steady and relatively relaxed, then we were able to increase the power and rating once we passed the boathouse. The second half was very strong too and we pulled away from the following boats, leaving us both very pleased with the outcome. It was all brilliantly steered by Richard, which meant it went incredibly smoothly and successfully – thank you, Richard!

WmasD2x  (Jo and Vicky ) 18.41 (winners)

Having rowed in the first division in the w8+, Vicky and I had a quick 10 minute turnaround before we were due to boat in division 2 for our doubles race. 
Jack and Anthony had kindly rigged our boat, and Libby carried our oars down to the jetty, so a big thanks to those guys. This gave us time for the obligatory quick wee and piece of flapjack, then we were back on the water and heading up to the start again. Suddenly our legs and bottoms were suggesting that a second 4km race in a consecutive division might not have been such a bright idea.
We were marshalled in a cut with lots of young people, some of whom who asked us if we were rowing novice. I'm not sure what signal we were sending out, so we just reassured them we were rowing in the old ladies race and sat and slowly stiffened up for an hour or so, whilst the other boats arrived and the Marshall popped over from time to time to let us know we would be waiting a bit longer.
Finally, we were off. The young people immediately after us chased us down right from the start, so for the first 2000 meters we were side by side racing, rating 31spm. We gave them a good run, finally being passed by them, and another young elite sculler just around the half way mark. As we rowed the second half of the second race, our technique went a bit, and it really began to feel like hard work. That said, we finished the row pleased that we had such a good first half, and over all happy that we'd gone for the second race. 
Despite the fact that the landy now has heating( hurrah!), the journey home in gave us enough time to really stiffen up, with both of us falling to the ground as our old lady legs gave way when we jumped out of the landy when we arrived back at the club.
Results appear to show us as winners, so it was worth the effort just to show the cheeky young people not to mess with the feisty old ladies! 
'Are you novices?' Really?!?