Senior Men Win the Junior Senior Fours Challenge Cup at Marlow Regatta

Posted by Graham Everitt | June 18, 2012

After spending most of the week staring glumly at the BBC weather forecast for the Saturday of Marlow Regatta, the crew of Adam Ridler, Craig Allan, Graham Everitt and Chris Scorah made the regular pilgrimage to Dorney Lake with some degree of apprehension over what the day would bring.

For once, the weather men were on the money. A punishing 25mph cross wind, gusting up to 45mph, was blowing dead straight across the course. Twitter was awash with rumours about the regatta being cancelled or converted to a time trial in order to ensure fair conditions. After just missing out on wins at the Metropolitan Regatta, the crew were desperate to take home the Junior Senior Fours Challenge Cup title (or IM1 coxless fours to the layman) in the proper way: from side-by-side competition.

Come the time of the heat, the regatta management had managed to keep things running only an hour late, and Broxbourne lined up against Staines, Wallingford and Thames Tradesmen. With three crews from four to go to the final the crew planned to cross the line first to win an advantageous  lane in the final.

Broxbourne had been drawn in Lane 2 for their heat – on the side of the course which would be worst affected by the cross wind. As the crews attached to the stake boats the wind continued to batter the crews from starboard, repeatedly swinging the boats round beyond a 45 degree angle. On the far right lane, the Staines crew was so affected that the Umpires abandoned the stake boats and ordered the crews to proceed up the course where a free start would take place.

Somewhat bemused, BRC’s four paddled out to the 100m mark, jockeying for any sly advantage that could be taken. The Umpire called “attention, go!” fairly quickly and the crews were off. The Broxbourne crew quickly moved out into the lead, and maintained a length over the field through very tough water, finishing 4 seconds clear of the next crew. This won the crew a lane over on the more sheltered side of the course for the final later that day, a key advantage in the gusty conditions.

Lining up in the final against University of London, Wallingford, London Rowing Club, and Thames Tradesmen, the gusts had dropped and all crews were able to attach to the stakeboats without serious problems.

The race began and having over-compensated for the wind on the stakeboat, the crew found themselves in the buoys and so were unable to make the most of their fast start. Refusing to be ruffled, the crew dropped into their rhythm and had moved out two a 2-seat lead over the second placed UL crew by the 500m mark. Broxbourne then continued to ease away through the crucial middle kilometre. Clocking the fastest times in every 500m of the race, they calmly extended their lead by around half a second in each of the first three quarters.

As the last 500m approached, the crew soaked up the first ten strokes of the opposition’s sprint for the finish and then showed the field a glimpse of their top-end pace with a sharp burst that lifted the rate of striking to 41 and eased them out to a 6 second lead as they crossed the line.

A very proud Broxbourne crew then paddled home.

This result represents the club’s first Senior win on a major day at a top regatta in memory, a fantastic result against top opposition from some famous clubs.


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