Star Club put on a strong show at St Neots regatta over the weekend winning numerous pots! Our regular author was in Munich so can’t top and tail the reports in the usual form. Here are the race reports from the crews that competed.
Willow Tucker writes: “The weather was up and down throughout the day at St Neots, but for the majority of the day, there were strong winds.
“Abi and I were in a double and Ed and Milly were in a mixed double. We had high hopes in both boats, but unfortunately, due to the course (which also caught out the boys quad) and the windy conditions, both crashed around the same place. Our last race of the year also had a first for us. We’d never had to go backwards down a course to get out of the reeds! The mixed doubles race was great to watch as it was two Star boats head-to-head. Well done to Ellie and her Dad.
“It was a little sad that it was both Abi and Ed’s last race with Star club. We will be losing two amazing athletes this year and they will be missed. Even though we didn’t win on this day, we’ll never forget it.”
Holly Keats writes: “What a difference a year makes. 2017 saw St Neots regatta awash with mud and bedraggled competitors, as the carpark became a scene from a Glastonbury festival nightmare. But this year looked to be different. Although it had finally rained after 5 parched weeks, the morning broke clear and bright. The wind was up but St Neots offers a relatively sheltered course for the 1000m races of Saturday – so spirits were high as the senior ladies squad set off.”
“The river for St Neots regatta contains a long left-hand curve through the middle of the 1000m course which demands careful and accurate navigation. The senior ladies had a couple of teams entered in races for Saturday – The double scull, stroked by Ingrid Holder and steered by Rhi Duckett, kicked off the day with convincing wins in both the quarter and semi-finals. The quadruple scull, stroked by new recruit Ellie Sadler and backed up by Becca Thompson and Holly Keats, was also steered by Rhi.
“The semi-finals for the quad was plagued by some strong chop and challenging cross-winds, but thankfully saw the Star team cross the line first. Both the double and the quad were heading for a final that afternoon.”
Simon Bennewith adds: “The wrong Bennewith and Bennewith double raced after junior got injured and senior had to take his place, made it to final then luck ran out and got beaten by a couple of young giants.”
Holly continues: “By 5pm the weather from 2017 St Neots was making a come-back. Boats needed extra hands-on to carry them across the park, blades became sails in the heavy chop and windswept dogs and juniors littered the tea-tent. The double took to the water for their final but sadly came in second to a strong and confident team from City of Sheffield rowing club.
“The mixed double rowed through their opposition and progressed through to a late final that evening. And then it was the turn of the senior ladies quad, in their final against Globe rowing club.
“The weather had worsened and the start was backed-up 4 races deep, which meant a chilly wait for the 4 ladies. Off the launch boats the star squad were down against the strong opposition, the corner loomed but was navigated well by both teams. The final straight saw the star squad still down by ¼ of a length, with fierce crosswinds hitting both competitors. The wall of sound from the supporters and a shout from inside the boat spurred the Star ladies for a final push over the last 200 meters, eventually winning by a slim margin. So slim in fact that no-one was sure who won for a moment.
“Then the heavens opened. Just as the squad took the boat to shoulders the rain fell like a monsoon, almost impossible to see or hear, the wind nearly took the boat back to the river and only with the help of some brave dads and coaches were we able to rack the boat.
“A really great day with 2 (and a half) boats making it to the finals, and a win for the quad. As one of the last regattas on the calendar, St Neots is always a lively time but this year will be remembered as much for the weather as the great performance by the senior ladies squad.”
Janet Williams writes: “We had a good showing on both days with our fours. On Saturday, we were beaten by arch-rival Milton Keynes – but by less than a length this time. So, we are making progress!”
Liz Appleton adds: “There was a surprise win at St Neots Sprint on Sunday for Star Masters Women in the Women’s Masters C/D/E Coxed Fours event, which comprised five crews from Sudbury, Ancholme, Milton Keynes and Star (two crews).
“Over the last season, Kim Taylor, Sue Lamb, Sarah Russell and Liz Appleton have put all their efforts into small boat training (a 2x and a 2-), but for the end of the season, they decided to try their luck in a coxed four, with Pamela Swain coxing. The small boat training must have paid off. Even with an injury (sustained by Kim when a quad veered out of its lane and hit us almost head-on on our way to the start), the crew won their semi-final against Sudbury by a length and a quarter.
“In the final, the Star crew benefited from a 9-second head-start over favourites Milton Keynes, who launched their customary steady but ferocious assault. MK failed to make any meaningful impact on the Star crew, who crossed the finish line a commanding three lengths ahead. A special shout out here goes to Pamela, racing for her very first time in the cox’s seat in some very difficult conditions – more Holme Pierrepoint than St Neots. Thank you Pamela for your calm, shrewd calls and thank you coach, Mike Harris, for reminding us to keep long and relaxed in the headwind and waves!”
David Taylor writes: “The main element over the weekend was wind. Extremely strong headwinds affected both days although the heavy rain forecast for Sunday, fortunately, didn’t happen. This had an effect on the timetable, especially on Sunday with big delays and queuing on the pontoon.
“The masters F4+ (Colin Hunt, Simon Lamb, Trevor Barton, DaveTaylor, cox Jill Edgley) had wins on both days, with finals against Broxbourne on Saturday – verdict easily and on Sunday against Doncaster – verdict 3 lengths.
“The F8 on Saturday also won in a straight final against Maidstone, verdict 3 lengths. The crew was made up of the F4 plus Ivan Higgins, Andy Crook, Andy Lynn and Chris Wisbey (BRC). Jill Edgeley coxed.
“On Sunday the F8 with Ian Darnell (BRC) in for Ivan, beat Sudbury in the semi by 1/3 length but lost to Oundle Town in the final by 3/4 length.”
George French writes: “There was a good showing from the quad on Sunday which progressed to the final where they had to give Maidstone 7 seconds in handicap. Sadly, they couldn’t quite claw back that much of a lead, but given the conditions it was a good row. At least it was not the 16 seconds we had to give them on Saturday!”