MasE4+ Win at Stourport

A big congratulations to our Masters E4+ who rowed to victory at yesterday’s Stourport Head. Stroked by expert sculler, Jim Wilkinson, the rest of the crew pitched in to lead the class by an impressive 42 seconds. Well done, crew!

MasC4+ Win in Extreme Weather

The Runcorn Spring Head was hit by extreme weather, the clue for the crews was that balers were handed as we boated! After a very interesting morning division the afternoon’s racing was cancelled. It was pretty wild!

The MasC4+ dug incredibly deep, did not miss a single stroke even when their blades were being thrown all over the place by the wind and waves, and did not lose heart when the water came into the boat or even when, at one point, we got hit by the wind and simply stalled for a few strokes. Our split varied from – briefly – less than 2.00 to over 4.30. And we beat our opposition from Liverpool Victoria by over 8 mins, which makes what was a difficult row sound rather easy. Much more impressive is the fact that we beat both the two MasC quads, by 1.3 secs and almost 3 mins respectively!

Also battling against the inclement weather was the Pengwern WMasD8+ who had to stop and bale out a few times.

Windy Winners

Oh boy was it chilly at Stourport – a wind that took the enjoyment out of waiting in the marshalling area but made up for it by pushing the crews along the course at a cracking rate. Everybody wished they had taken the style advice from Michelin Man and layered up even more. We like Stourport as they run events well and on time. We had 2 Women’s 8s, a Men’s coxed 4, one Junior Double and two Junior women single scullers. Total respect to the two scullers – challenging conditions.

Next up…. Head of the Severn at Worcester next weekend.

Chester LDS….. take 2

Your roving reporter was out in the sunshine (yes, sunshine) at Chester today sniffing out Pengwern racing action at the postponed Chester Long Distance Sculls. The book of lame excuses stayed on the shelf and its sister tome “Compelling Reasons” was opened last night. Don’t you just love kids for their timing of visits to A&E; consequently our mixed double had to scratch.

Racing conditions were more than acceptable, however Stew’s forecast of a slight cross wind on the “long straight” was slightly off by a few points on the compass, making it an energy sapping head wind.

Andy W found that checking the heel restraints on his shoes that confirmed they were regulation 70mm failed to notice a more serious issue. Racing onto the aforementioned long straight with head wind (had I mentioned that already?) his right shoe had, as we call it in Engineering circles, a catastrophic malfunction and disintegrated. The reminder of the race was master performance in half-feet-out sculling.

On the whole the Pengwern competitors were pleased with their performances. Pete and Malcolm put in a respectable time but missed out on a medal by dint of age handicap in their combined category.

Club Time Trial

Your roving reporter was up close to the action today at the Club’s 5km time trial, passenger in one of the racing boats. Massive thanks to Dave Webb and his team of marshals and timekeepers who sacrificed the pleasure of racing to make the event run smoothly.

We welcomed a crew from Sabrina; they won’t be asked again as the whooped our crews banging in a great time (Ed: note to reporter, jot down the stats next time you numpty).

A great turn out with boats of all sizes and crews from juniors to seasoned masters.

Dave’s organisation exceeded all expectations by delivering perfect race conditions, flat calm, cool but not too cold and a stream that behaved itself.

Thanks to Chef Trevor for the post race bacon butties and hot drinks.

Head of the Soar -Title Retained

From the desk of your roving reporter. I caught up with Kate,the cox of the MasC.4+, after their race 1st race of the weekend. She was rightly proud of her crew, saying “Winners at the Head of the Soar, beating another Mas C, the Mas B AND the Open 4+! On time alone – no handicap needed. The boys were simply immense!!!!“

A brilliant warm up for their 2nd head race the next day back at the club.

Wahoo! Digger Wins

Your roving reporter finally caught up with Digger Barnes (49 from Shrewbury) after his amaaaazing row at Stourport Small Boats Head last Sunday. “The conditions rowing up to the start were rubbish and I was cursing the club member who suggested entering this event”. But first back to the beginning of the day.

As it was Remembrance Sunday there were strict instructions to ensure all the morning division boats arrived at the start area in time for the two minute silence. Kailey and Andy duly boated on time and headed off for their inaugural race as a mixed double. The double nicely composed and strong when they passed the clubhouse with another 1000m to go in amongst racing crews and other coming back upstream. Elbows out they ploughed on.

In the afternoon Kailey and Andy split into singles (must have been a rowing tiff) and set off again after a brief tea and recovery. Digger and Jim (coughing, lame excuse #15b) joined them heading up to the marshalling area. Digger turned first to race and responded to “have a good row” with his loudest “Wahoo”.

River conditions had calmed down by race time and everyone put in great effort.

Kailey had a few, as she called them “wobbles” and heart stopping moments but finished in a personal best time, improving her pace compared to the last club time trial.

Tea and cake was next on the agenda and it just so happened that category winners were being announced at the same time. “Masters C/D 1x – Richard Barnes, Pengwern.” Who? Oh yes Digger. But he was not to be seen. When he appeared he thought it was a wind-up. (As if we would be so cruel). “Really? Did I? Better fetch my race licence then”

Masters are Masters at Chester Again

Two Pengwern Masters crews, one Women D and the other Men G brought home winner’s medals from the Dee Autumn Head run by Grosvenor RC last Saturday.

The MasG crew’s cox, Kailey, had a challenging time of it with a novice crew stubbornly not giving way to the faster Pengwern crew. Repeated calls to the other crew went unheeded. A complaint was lodged by our crew which meant that the official result was delayed. Eventually all came good and the Master G’s time confirmed them as winners.

The Women Masters emphasised their dominance on this course by winning for the third (or is it fourth) time in succession.

Winner’s Secret Ingredients

Have you ever sat in the marshalling area of a winter head race and wondered why the heck you love this sport when it’s so, so cold?

Last weekend’s Dee Autumn Head tested the resolve of Pengwern crews. However, our Women’s Masters 8 watched other crews shiver whilst they stayed (relatively warm) thanks to Liz’s suggestion to don “Space Blankets”.

Brilliant idea. Having warmed up rowing to the start the ladies then wrapped their legs in the blankets and retained the warmth.

A major contribution to their race performance….. or was it the Jelly Babies.

Autumn Maintenance

Well done everyone who “mucked in” last Saturday to tackle the long list of jobs that needed doing.

Everywhere there was activity. There were major tasks, like replacing the boundary fence, which thanks to the warm bright weather were almost a pleasure to do.

Not surprisingly, us rowers were rather good at the other team tasks on the list.

Digger was even seen smiling while dishing out nuts, bolts requested for boat fettling and cleaning.

Let’s keep on top of keeping the club tidy and clean.