Saturday the 5th of May marked the first regatta of the Hants and Dorset 2018 rowing season and was filled with sunshine, creating anticipation and excitement for all the crews entered. Around 12 Christchurch crews ventured to Coalporters where the first regatta would be held, all looking to gain that all important first championship point.
The day began with the Junior 1x, as Coalies do not hold Novice sculls. First Christchurch athlete of the day was Rachael Williams who set off in her single, ready to race her first ever coastal singles race, including her first buoy turn in a 1x too! Fierce competition meant that she didn’t quite win her heat but instead came away with a smile, ready to race again at the next regatta.
The next event was the women’s novice Fours, with Christchurch entering an impressive three crews into the event. Due to the sheer amount of novice crews competing from all the Hants and Dorset clubs, the ladies knew that they would have to get through a heat and a semi final before getting to the final. The D crew, consisting of Debbie Corbin, Tara Myring-McCullagh, Kate Fabrizi, Dora Smorezewska (str) and Ed Erwin (cox) raced valiantly in their first ever race, winning their heat before narrowly missing out on a place in the final after a hard semi-final. Both the A and B crew raced well and secured their places in the final which they knew would be a difficult race against a strong BTC crew. Unfortunately for the crews, it was a marginal win for BTC with the race between them and the Christchurch B crew of Emma Cheetham, Katya Cherskova, Kiera Browning, Jordan Draga (str) and Olly Gillingham (cox) continuing all the way to the line. The A crew of Emma Radford, Charlie Brad, Milly Campbell, Fleur Howcroft (str) and Grace Tebbutt (cox) gave it their all, coming third after an exhausting day of 3 races.
Next up was the men’s novice, with only one mens crew entered. Again, the men knew they would have to race twice before even making it to the final, so they had to be resilient and give everything they could. The hard work paid off and they made it all the way to their final, coming second overall, providing a boost of confidence for them for the upcoming regattas.
Christchurch then had two ladies 2- racing, both of whom looked like strong contenders to make the final. However, an unfortunate turn of events involving the A crew of Sara Glen and Lucy Hart and a moored boat meant that they missed out on qualifying for their final, much to everyone’s shock. The B crew of Anna Turner and Lydia Hardy had better luck and qualified for the final, coming second to a strong Coalporters crew who knew their home stretch of water well.
Next up was the ladies Junior crews, with Christchurch entering two strong boats who were both looking to get into the final. The B crew of Katie Tate, Grace Tebbutt, Lydia Hardy, Anna Turner (str) and Tara Myring-McCullagh (cox) raced first, missing out on a place in the final after a battle with Itchen and Bournemouth for that qualifying place. The Christchurch A crew were the last heat of Junior women and were determined to do well in their first race of the season. Lucy Woods, Christy Cole, Kat Burgess, Lucy Hart (str) and Olly Gillingham (cox) cruised through their heat and anticipated a hard fight with two Itchen crews in the final. A clash with a buoy right at the start of their race provided some anxiety for the spectators up on the bridge but it quickly became apparent that the crew had everything under control and cruised to a win, securing that first championship point as well as some confidence for the next regatta!
The men’s Junior A crew were just as ready to race and gained a place in the final easily, even winding down at the end of their heat as they were so far in front of the other crews. The B crew raced valiantly too, giving everything they had. When it came to the final, a quick boat change with the Junior women’s crew meant the men had to warm up on land and prepare mentally before then getting straight into their race. A closely fought race resulted in a well-deserved second place for the boys, something that they were pleased with as they should be!
Last race of the day with Christchurch representatives was the Women’s Vet 40 Fours, with both an A and B crew racing in a straight final with Coalporters. The B crew of Allison Fort, Amanda Warrington, Laura Campbell, Julie Eddicott (str) and Vicky Robinson (cox) came second in their final, pushing themselves all the way to the line. It was the A crew that came out victorious, with Sally Percival Foy, Susan Ponsford, Julia Fabrizi, Rachael Williams (str) and Faye Standley (cox) winning their first championship point of the 2018 season.
The day concluded with the Men’s Senior Four race with the crews infamously completing the course twice round. Christchurch were not represented in this race, but many of the other crews who had raced that same day were in awe of how these guys managed to complete the course with such ease despite doing double the distance!
Christchurch head to Lymington on the 19th May for the second regatta of the season at Milford where all the crews hope to brave the notoriously rough water and gain a championship point for themselves.