What a day!! We won the Elite Coxed fours!! The day started with Ryan Edwards being the next victim of the dreaded gastro. He was throwing up all night and looked horrible. It was clear that he was in no state to race. Hamish looked a little better but was on the edge of relapsing back to walking dead state. Once we arrived at the course, the option to race was becoming more distant, Edwards was getting worse. The only real choice was to scratch the crew and go home, but after a brief chat with Richard Spratley the Head of Rowing at Oxford Brookes University, he suggested we race with his spare man. We were really lucky to have him, Alex Holden has won The Temple Challenge Cup at Henley, and a bronze medal at the World U23 regatta, he was a fantastic sub. He slotted straight into the stroke seat and got on with it. He was a real bonus as he has so much experience.
The first race was a heat of the Intermediate Coxed four, 6 boats, Isis (Oxford University) Taurus ( Oxford Brookes Alumni) and Dublin University were going to be the challengers. We got off to a great start and were ahead from stroke one, with hard pushes at the markers we managed to push out to about a half length lead which was maintained to the last 500m but Isis and Taurus both started to come back fast. With a well timed step up we crossed the line ahead.This qualified us for the final 4 hours later.
The weather forecasters had predicted that the weather would get worse through the day and as we boated for the straight final of the Elite division, a massive storm front moved in. The crew left the pontoon ten minutes later than we would have liked but we did not want to sit around in the Monsoon that was breaking over the course. Our cunning plan was foiled because the race ahead of ours J14 8x (yes octuple) were unable to attached to the start. The 13 year old crews were not experienced enough to handle the conditions and it took about 20 minutes to get them all on the start and ready to race. Once they had gone the coxed fours were on. As we discovered at Reading last week Aussi boys don’t like the cold! However unlike last week, once the starter said go, we were off hard, rate was about 45 for 250 meters dropping to 40 through to the 500 mark. From there Alex lead the boys down the course in a thumping display of determination.
We crossed the line with clear water over our rivals.
We had 40 minutes to find dry kit, a quick drink and hand full of snakes and then off to the final of the Intermediate race.This was going to be tough. University of London, Taurus, Isis were all fresh and not been out in the driving rain and wind. Again after a delayed start, the race was off. We were not so solid out of the blocks this time and got dropped by about a length.The crew were 5th at 1000m ,4th at 1250. At the 1500 all the crews jacked the rates up and started the sprint home. The previous race was taking its toll on the guys, they pushed hard and rowed through into 3rd place about a length down on University of London.
UL first, Isis second Thames 3rd, Taurus 4th. This was important because Taurus are entered in the Britannia as well. We now have the edge on one of the favourites for the event. Taurus have the Great Britain and 2006 World ergo champ in the crew Graham Benton 5:42.5, another nice scalp for the boys.