The senior men are now into the heart of their racing season. So far we have raced at Wallingford (at Dorney), Ghent and the Met (at Dorney). Next up is Marlow (at Dorney) and Henley Royal Regatta. The results have been encouraging and probably the best that the men have had at this stage of the season for quite a while. It is worth stating that conditions for both Wallingford and the Met were perfect. Absolutely fair and very benign. I’ve probably just jinxed Marlow!
As an opener Wallingford showed that we have decent potential and have a good solid squad. Geir Suursild finished 4th in elite singles and our B 4+ won their heat in championship 4+ and raced really well in a close and well contested final. The crew was from bow; Matt McWilliam, Dritan (Tony)
Bakalli, Andrew Bedford, Peter Wales and Anna Cackett in the cox’s seat.
Most of the squad doubled up in 4s and 8s so got some good hard strokes under their belts. A week later the top half of the squad raced in Ghent in 4+, 8 and 1x. On Saturday Geir finished 2nd in the 1x and our A 4+ put themselves on the medal podium with a 3rd place finish. The crew was Chris
Sim, Sam Tunbridge, Andrew Bedford, Peter Wales and Prue Seaward coxing. On Sunday Geir went one better by winning the 1x and our A 4+, with John Ciccarelli at 2 and Anna Cackett coxing, was 4th. The 8 both days was up against 3 Oxford Brookes crews, Thames, Molesey and others and, even though rowing well, were just a little outgunned. As at Wallingford most of the squad doubled up in Ghent.
After Ghent we finalised our lineups for the remainder of the season but leaving some wiggle room just in case of any issues. At the Met regatta on June 2 and 3 all crews raced really well. The A 4+ finished 3rd both days in championship 4+. On Saturday we were the fastest club crew losing to only Imperial College and Durham University in the final. On Sunday we gave up about 1L to Thames in the first 500m of the final then proceeded to hunt them down. At one point with about 500m to go we were within 1/4 L and still moving and it looked like we were going to win. But we faltered a bit and Thames held on and Durham pipped us on the line. An exciting race and good effort by the crew. The line up was as for Saturday in Ghent. Our A 8 were 2nd in tier 2 8s on Saturday after winning their earlier heat. On Sunday all 8s did a 1900m time trial and they then assigned crews into semi finals A/B, C/D, E/F etc based on that time. We finished 16th out of 62 entries so went into the C/D semis from which we qualified for the C final. This was an 8 boat final where we finished 5th in a very tight race and won the tier 3 trophy as the highest placed tier 3 crew in the event. A very good performance. The crew was Toby Graham, Rich Sharratt, Matt McWilliam, Tom Rawlins, Tom Rimmer, Tony Bakalli, Nick Pepper, John Ciccarelli and Anna Cackett driving. With James Parris coaching. The B 8 won the G final in great style. Leading from the first stroke they held off all challenges to cross the line first. This crew had 4 juniors on board and their average age was not much above 20. From bow it was Simon Chaing, Harry Bagnall, Will Brook, Emil Biese, Craig Horsford, Alex Browning, Patrick Beeley, James Pickering and Max Bibbs coxing. Gary Lovejoy coaching. On the same weekend as the Met Geir raced at the World Cup in Belgrade for his native Estonia in the 1x. He was very disappointed in his performance but this was a massive step up in standard. Hopefully a great learning experience.
Next up is Marlow on Saturday June 23 and then Henley qualifiers on Friday June 29. Henley Royal Regatta runs from Wednesday July 4 until Sunday July 8. We have entered the Diamonds, the Britannia and have two crews in for the Thames Cup.