Another spectacular Christchurch Rowing Regatta on a warm and sunny Saturday produced some surprises for the many participants and spectators, not least in the weather, with torrential rain only ten minutes after completion of prize giving sending the dispersing crowds running for cover.
The eleven events resolved in 66 races on a two-boat knockout principle elicited some close finishes on the line at Wick.
In Men’s Junior Fours the Newport RC crew finally broke through to take an overdue first win of the season by three-quarters of a length over Poole having defeated favourites BTC by half a length in an equally exhilarating quarter final. Half way through the season and the Junior Championship remains wide open with no single club predominating; BTC lead with 2 points.
The Men’s Senior Fours held the prospect of a well matched race between championship leaders BTC sitting on five points so far, and the revamped Christchurch crew, G. Rabbetts, H. Foley, M. Aldridge, W. Wakelin(str), A. Nolan(cox). Missing from recent regattas being a man down, Junior International Matt Aldridge was drafted aboard in the three seat. An equipment problem in the BTC boat, already trailing slightly on the outward leg of the semi-final, cost them a couple of lengths and allowed Christchurch through to an easy win over Lymington in the final which secured “Fastest time of the Day”, 4min 57s., for the home club and it’s first Senior win at Christchurch for 29 years.
The BTC Men’s Novice B crew had better luck with a three length rout of their club mates in the A crew completing the double with a win for their Ladies Novice B over Christchurch by a convincing four length margin.
Christchurch Ladies Masters crew R. Williams, F. Standley, J. Rafferty, E. Kelly(str), A.Nolan(cox) dominated their home water for their first win of the season, two and a half lengths up on Southampton in another great race, the first time this event has been included in the Christchurch program.
An all-Christchurch final for J16 Girls assured a local victory but it was the B crew, D. Elmy-Liddiard, S. Heath, B. Hart, C. Cole(str), A. Chadwick(cox) which turned the tables on the A crew to take the line one length ahead giving CRC it’s third win of the day and for the first time this season top spot in the aggregate table with 33points, a full ten points clear of rivals BTC, to collect the Cognac Victor Ludorum Shield.
The tightly constrained Christchurch course is arguably the most testing and nerve racking for coxswains with little margin for error. Lewis Butcher of Lymington RC was judged “Coxswain of the Day”, a new award introduced this season by the Hants and Dorset ARA.
Next will be Itchen Imperial Regatta on 5th July and with Henley Royal Regatta starting on Wednesday 2nd there will be no shortage of inspiration for ambitious athletes.