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J14 Crews Show Promise at Star Regatta

By Patrick Moroney

Almost the entirety of the J14 squad left on Saturday morning to go up to Bedford for Star Regatta. The regatta was unlike the usual time trial, followed by six lane final races, that we were used to at Dorney for national events, instead taking a knockout format. Crews are drawn against opposition (some crews getting a bye based on previous results if it’s an odd number) then they race with other winners, progressing to the next round and the loser going home. 

The A crew from National schools had been entered as two quads (one being bow four the other stern four – an intresting competitive prospect). Also entered was the octo B crew from National schools entered as an A crew and the C crew entered as a B crew. Another octo and a quad were also entered but were placed in the band 2 event (designed to make sure everyone has close and competitive racing and can make through a couple of rounds).

These crews were changed slightly from national schools though due to injuries and unavailability. In the quads, the bow four quad had to get up earlier, arriving at the school at 7am, while the stern four quad left at 12pm having received a bye. The bow four quad started off racing Bedford school but after a difficult race ended up behind.

The stern four quad then arrived for its first race against Bedford Modern School who had beaten Dulwich College earlier in the day. Since the 1.2km course was on a bed, there was a slight difference in starting points with the stakeboats for the boat on the inside of the bend being a length behind those on the outside. So being placed on the inside bend we knew we would have to start fast to catch up and try and take control of the race.

With that knowledge we flew off the start bringing our bow balls level just before the bend. With the help of the bend we then managed to creep in front before beginning to put clear water between us and Bedford Modern. The gap of water slowly increased and so did our lead before taking the rate down a notch or two at the bridge which was an unofficial halfway mark.

Bedford Modern, broken by our lead which had slowly opened up, couldn’t catch up and we won our first race and semi-final, the official distance verdict being “easily” (length margins stop being counted after a certain point and is instead put donwn as easily). We were to then relax and eat as we waited the relatively short two hours before our final, where we were to face the Bedford School crew had won against the Bow four quad earlier in the day.

This time we were to start on the outside of the bend. We again set off fast from the start, moving slightly away from Bedford before falling back to a length Lead on Bedford which expanded to have about ¼ – ½  of a length of clear water in between us as we passed underneath the bridge. Then came the pain as we got closer and closer to the suspension bridge which marked the finish line and our lead again fell back to a length.

Then came a massive push from Bedford who pulled back our lead to just ½ a length. Renewed strength and a desire to not lose when we had lead for so long helped us stop their advance. Then came a call for a big 10 strokes to finish off the race which was soon followed by another 10 and we went through the line with what we thought was a length advantage restored but was officially put down as ½ a length.

The band two octo was knocked out first round by a boat from Bedford School who then lost next round to eventual winners St Edwards by the closet margin in that event. The band two quad also suffered a similar first round exist, losing to a quad from Bedford School’s A crew who had made the B final of Nat Schools. In the band one octos, Hampton’s B octo were beaten by Bedford School’s A octo from national schools and faced Hampton’s A octo in the final where they unfortunately lost.

We must as always thank those who helped organise the event and all the coaches and look forward to racing next at BASHER II on Sunday.

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