Broxbourne Masters Find Success at Henley Masters

Posted by Graham Everitt | July 16, 2013

With 4 different crews, and representation in one further composite crew, Broxbourne’s masters enjoyed a fantastic weekend on the Henley reach this Saturday.


Having won the Masters D4x at British Masters back in May, the crew of Andy Kelly, Chris Heathcote, Rob Alexander and Quintin McKellar were favourites to win their event. It was far from a done deal though, with Brit Masters silver medallists Tees in contention. The Tees crew has been the boat to beat in this event over the last few years, so the Broxbourne crew approached the event with the respect it was due.


Both Tees and Broxbourne made their way to the final the easy way – with their semi finals opposition doffing their caps and politely steering into the booms to allow both crews an easy row through. With Broxbourne drawn to make use of the favoured Berks side they were keen to make the most of their luck.


At the island the crews were both level, with maybe a seat to Broxbourne’s favour. At the end of the first minute Broxbourne’s smooth, high cadence style that had spectators wondering if this was a delayed final for the QM Challenge Cup from Henley Royal began to pay off and they moved out to a half length lead. Hearing the Tees crew call a push at 600m, Broxbourne responded by squeezing the legs for another half length, to lead the race by one length moving into the final 250m. The Tees crew then threw the kitchen sink at Broxbourne in the last 250m, but with no good looks left to lose the Broxbourne crew remained unruffled, and cruised over the line 3/4 of a length clear and Henley Masters champions.


There were concerns immediately afterwards that the crew would be disqualified owing to Andy Kelly’s particularly revolting hat, until they remembered that in Masters racing appalling hats are in fact encouraged and usually lead to a reduction in handicap as a mark of respect from admiring officials.

Andy Kelly turns to watch the faces of spectators as they notice his hat, and Chris Heathcote proves once again that he is so fast he doesn't have time to straighten his arms.



Tony Stokes won also, rowing in a H4+ as Broxbourne in a Minerva composite, beating an Offenbach crew by 1.5 lengths in 3:46. This was the same Offenbach crew that the Broxbourne crew of Dave Sprague, Matt Stallard, Rob Pinckney and Tony Stokes beat in a D4- and D4+ in 1997 at the World Masters Championships in Munich. Offenbach’s 4- then scratched their race against the same crew later in the day, so the composite then rowed over to collect their 2nd medal of the day. It can only be assumed that Offenbach were tired of being thumped by a stoked-up Tony, and had headed off in search of opposition that had aged somewhat less aggressively.


The Women’s Masters B4x, Men’s C4+ and Men’s D8+ sadly exited the opposition in first round knockouts, but all crews look forward to returning next season for another full season’s racing at the country’s top Masters events. After wins at Masters Fours Head, the VL at British Masters, and medals at Henley Masters, next year will take some beating.

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