This year’s U.K training camp culminated with racing in rough conditions at Marlow Regatta on Dorney Lake, the rowing venue for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
On Saturday, the pair of James Graham & Kevin Cunningham raced at Elite level and in an excellent performance placed 2nd in their heat to go straight to the final. Due to illness however, Jimmy was needed to replace Tom Doyle in the Senior2 8+ and timetabling clashes meant that the pair never got to race the final.
After a scratchy heat and semi-final, the 8+ had its best performance against Imperial College, Abingdon School, Vesta RC, Commercial RC, Oxford Brookes & Bristol University in the final, getting out of the blocks ahead of the very fast Abingdon School. Unfortunately the 8+ had a poor 3rd 500m and lost the advantage to finish in 4th, just 0.3 seconds ahead of Commercial RC.
The Novice 8+ raced both Senior3 & Senior4 8+’s on the Saturday, gaining invaluable experience with five 6-lane, 2km races over the day against stiff opposition. The 8+ reached the semi-final of the Senior3s and the final of the Senior4s where they were unlucky to finish in 4th, perhaps due to the amount of racing done earlier in the day.
Sunday presented a battle against the conditions with a strong cross-tail wind sweeping across the course. In the morning 2km races, the Inter 8+ and 2- raced in the Under23s competitions. The Inter 8+ again went out in a scratch combination as Tom Doyle was still sick, however they never really got to grips with the conditions and finished well off the pace.
The 2- of Jimmy & Kev were in a two horse race against St Margaret’s College, Cambridge after the Salisbury School pair from the US, fell in at the start. Steering in the strong cross-wind caused some problems for the 2- and they finished a few lengths behind St. Margaret’s.
In the afternoon 1km races, the same pair was entered in the Senior2 category, facing St Margaret’s in the final again. This time, the 2- performed exceptionally well and lost only in the last couple of strokes, finishing a foot behind St. Margaret’s.
For the afternoon races, the Inter 8+ was entered in both Senior1 8+ & Senior2 Student 8+ competitions. The Senior1 semi-final was a race against NUIG and Tees RC with two to go through to the final. Some questionable umpiring at the start led to a clash with Tees RC with the 8+ coming out behind and chasing it for the rest of the race. The Senior2 final was a race against two South African college crews, Durham University, University of London & Bristol University. Durham, who are one of the main contenders for the Temple Challenge Cup in Henley this year, took an early lead and finished in 1st, with UCD finishing 5th. Comparing times with the Senior2 Club final, which Commercial RC won in an impressive performance, leaves a 7 second deficit to be overcome by the National Championships in three weeks time.
The Novices again provided some success for the club winning the Senior3 4+ competition, continuing their unbeaten run since their first appearance in the combination. In an excellent performance against crews from Magdalene BC, Trevelyan College, Wolfson College Oxford, Commercial RC & Staines RC, they finished 2 seconds ahead of the field. The Novice 8+ was unfortunately off the pace in the Senior3 8+ competition, where they failed to qualify from the semi-final; the more experienced crews being better able to handle the rough conditions.
The club would like to express its thanks to Eton Excelsior Boat Club for the use of their excellent facilities and also to all the coaches, supporters and committee members who made the trip possible.