Sunday, 18 July 2010

Henley Vets

The Henley Vet Regatta, taking place one week after Henley Royal Regatta on the 9th and 10th July, saw two representatives of Minerva Bath make the journey.

Arnold Cooke
H4- I was in my normal composite four, which has been together for nearly 10 years, though we only train together for about 10 outings a year. The four is Mervyn Theaker (bow) Henley RC, John Stoddart 2 Sheffield, Arnold 3, Tim Lincoln str Henley RC. Merv and I first met at the World Championships in Bled, Slovenia, in 1966 when he was rowing at Derby and I was in a double from Leander. I have known John from schooldays as he was the top sculler in another local school. Tim I met up with after the FISA Masters in 1988 and we have doubled off and on since then. At Henley Vets we raced against Nottingham in a straight final of the H4-. We beat them at the British Masters Champs in June in the H4+. At the start, I came off my seat on the second stroke – a thing I have not done for 20 years – but we still ended up ahead by stroke 10. Merv did a fantastic job keeping the boat straight as I jumped back on to the seat. After that, we drew away steadily and dropped the rate right down, managing a win by 3 lengths.

G8+ This was a composite of our four and the Derby F4. We rowed together in the Vets Eights Head in March and were well beaten by Occaquan (30 secs behind). Racing Occaquan again, though a different combination, we went up right from the start. The Derby four in the stern took us off at 44, still doing 40 at the end of 1 minute, strode to 36/37 in a head wind. We pulled ahead to a length lead by halfway, at which point the oldies in the bows (my four) were knackered. However we hung on rowing what I felt was half strokes, and came home safely about 1 length up. Very encouraging as we had all rather expected to lose.

Tim Birtwistle
After winning two rounds on Fri 9th July Tim lost the saturday MasD1x final by 1/3 length to Duncan Gwillian who won silver at the British Masters, it was a really tough race into a stiff headwind, Tim was leading up to last 30 strikes but could not hold Duncan off as he did a massive push for the line. Both our times were faster than MasC1x finalists showing the high standard of our event.

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