With both the Ladies Eight and Coxed Four taking a clean sweep of pots on Day 1 of the Bewdley Regatta, the ball was very much in the Gents’ court for Day 2, and the latter did not disappoint as the Coxless Four and the Masters Quad both did the minimum necessary to cross the line first (by a canvas and 3 feet respectively) and get their sticky hands on the silverware, thereby declaring honours even – provided you count the number of winning blades used rather than pots collected.
The more astute spectator may have wondered, however, why a boat containing Nick, Walrus, Mike and Scott was racing at Masters C level (average age 43 to 49) since clearly if that was their true age their faces must have been prematurely chiselled by lives lived to the full on the outer edge of drugs and rock’n roll, even if not sex. Further enquiry revealed that actually they should have been Master E (55 to 59) but that the organisers had asked them to make up a race against a relatively inexperienced ‘C’ crew. An even bigger age gap proved too much for Loughborough’s mixed Eight (average age 50 plus) against opposition whose oldest rower was 18, as the youngsters took advantage of their higher rating, stronger endurance, greater strength, and ability to post real-time selfies on Snapchat with one hand whilst rowing with the other.
The Ladies Eight competed on more equal terms, and the Four proved their superiority twice by winning at semi and final level, although the Ladies Sprint Eight were unfortunate to come up against the eventual winners in the first round.
Allen, Jonathan, Adam and Sam all put in fine performances together with and under the watchful eye of Neil, who has been a great help at bringing on the less experienced scullers and even though no wins were recorded every race produced another nugget of experience to be tucked away for future reference.
Meanwhile, both Jerry and Nick were literally searching for gold as they panned their way through the clubside shallows, although both these steersmen redeemed themselves in later races on the townside, where the former haybales had been replaced with Zeppelin-sized fluorescent blimps that even a Masters F could see without their glasses. However, seeing is one thing but avoiding is another, as Beth and Tilda discovered when they became the latest in a long line of Loughborough Rowers to entertain the crowds on the finish line and to snatch the limelight away from previous holders Mike and Scott.
‘Dr Ferret’ are now looking so serious and committed to their rowing that their brightly coloured clothing is starting to be mistaken for the kit of a newly-formed exclusive and secretive Thames-based club. Whilst manhandling their boat the two gentlemen even objected strongly to Jerry comparing them to the Chuckle Brothers, although Mike did perk up a bit at the random thought of perhaps therefore naming the Wintech ‘Up Me Up You’. Perhaps he didn’t mean to say that but anyway Jerry has already pinched the correct quote for his own pair.
With the World Masters rapidly approaching, the weekend was a much needed chance for crews to brush up on race skills and a good reminder that race experience can only really be gained by racing – sadly something that the Club has had far too little of this year. But with a large squad of keen rowers and a trailer packed full of club boats there is every hope for a thoroughly enjoyable trip to Hungary in just 6 weeks’ time – better start training!