Birmingham in the rain

With 24 rowers having raced at Evesham, and 9 having been thwarted at Wallingford last weekend, another 35 rowers travelled to a “Primary” (beginners) regatta at Birmingham on the 7th – only Phil the Boatman attended all 3 events!
We were greeting by torrential rain as the minibuses arrived, and we all enjoyed rigging in the rain (!!). First up where the J15 B VIII, who were our inaugural “round robin” competitors. After a reasonable start against Oratory, we fell back after a couple of shipwrecks from this terms learners, and then in the next round we were thrashed by the Shrewsbury J15 1st VIII – who should not have been at a primary regatta – much to their embarrassment. The B and C J14 quads started their round robins in the main downpour, and rowed with great aplomb in their first ever races together – both crews winning and losing races at their first ever regatta – the B crew ending second their league of round robins, and the C crew went one better coming second in their whole event, and won wonderfully un-expected silver medals.
The J16 4+ rowed really well in their heat of a full senior event – Novice fours, beating Bishop Veasey’s Grammar School handsomely, and were looking forward to their final with Monmouth School, but were in equal part disappointed and delighted to find they had scratched and the win was ours. Gold medals for Messrs Matthewman, Border,Hill, Steiger and Ben McCarthy – the J14 A quad’s cox sub-ing in!
After lunch, the J14A quad raced the Shrewsbury A quad that came 3rd at the National Sculling Head at Dorney in March, and gave a very encouraging account of themselves, pressing Shrewsbury all along the course. They later saw off a Worcester RGS crew, and can be very pleased to be so close to a medal winning crew. We will meet them again at the National Schools Regatta at the end of the month.
Paddy Balmforth raced in a single against one of the local club, and was in a close tussle, when the local hit the bank! Paddy gratefully took the lead but was overhauled tantalisingly close to the line. He took heart from this race, and won his second race against a Monmouth School sculler, and came a very creditable second in his round robin league.
Honourable mentions also for the J15 IV from the VIII, the J15 2x, Guy Trees in Novice sculls and James Bennis in J15 sculls.
In the first two weekends of the summer term, 68 College rowers have competed for the Boat Club, many for the first time ever, and we have recorded 9 wins and 6 second places!
WELL ROWED PANGBOURNE

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