At last, sunshine. Finally we had a full day of pleasant dry weather, albeit a little blustery. Newark Small Boats Head being the first race for many weeks that had been able to go ahead following all the rain and flooding. Desperate to row, we sent seven crews up, and what an eventful day!

 With six crews racing in the first division, we watched with baited breath to see them coming down the very sinuous and pretty tricky course. Our men’s elite quad – crew number one, should have been the first to come down, however we watched no’s 2, 3, 4, 5 passing by, but no LBC elite crew. Having just been passed by an ambulance with all lights flashing, we began to feel a little nervous, but finally half way through the procession of boats, we saw a distinctive boat coming down the river with an eighteen inch bow wave – very unusual for a racing quad. Having determined that it was Quasi, our elite men’s quad, we then noticed that only two were still in the boat with Bow and two missing. Concern was definitely building. However a quick shout from Rob reassured us that our missing men, Jonny and Dave, were actually fine, but we were still none the wiser, other than a missing two feet from the front of the boat………..

Meanwhile our other crews passed; Nick without a bow ball or front two inches of his boat in his J16 single, and Zoe & Erica in their W. IM1. 2- weaving gracefully across the water with a sheared steering pin. Isabelle and Hannah rowed by nicely in their W.J14 2x, against stiff home competition as they were rowing up a year, closely followed by our new ladies novice quad of Annie, Kathy, Lizzie and Linda, coxed by Shane. Emily at J15, in her first singles head race, put in a superb effort but sadly lost out by only 9 seconds to a Newark sculler.

…………and Dave and Jonny walking in their socks along the bank carrying a couple of blades each. A large gust of wind, a tree, a collision and rescue by a safety boat had ended their race mid-course. Quite spectacularly!

So, three out of six boats damaged in one race – quite a record. Hopes of winning were not good following this.

The second division saw our last crew, the girls J18 coxless quad with Beth, Emily, Alex and Lucy. Lucy steering at bow, having seen the damage to Quasi and Doris, took a very neat line round the course, checking with almost every stroke. Looking every bit a winning crew, they passed those cheering in style with beautiful technique.

With the beer and wine flowing, England V Ireland on the big screen and amazing cakes (double Jaffa cake cakes) we waited in the brand new Newark clubhouse for the results. And waited. And waited.

At half time, the printer had finally finished and the results were out. With so many crashes and equipment failures, hopes were not high for many wins, however the ladies performed far better than they originally thought.

Despite their sheared steering pin, Zoe and Erica won by six seconds in 16mins 37seconds and the ladies novice quad won by 24 seconds in 15mins 51seconds. The junior girls quad had a spectacular win, beating the second place crew by 2mins 19seconds in a great time of 15mins 2seconds.

Overall a thoroughly entertaining and great day – and England won the rugby! Pity about those repair bills………