Eight Wins Sees Itchen Imperial Retain The Aggregate at Home Regatta

Our home regatta was very early on in the Hants & Dorset season this year, being just the third regatta on the second weekend, following the opening regattas at Ryde and Shanklin on the Isle of Wight last weekend.

Itchen regatta had a huge amount of entries, which only meant; a very busy race schedule and an early start for all of Itchen’s members.

7am saw all hands on deck as the first race was on to set everything up for the day, so the regatta was ready to start at 10am. Efficient is an understatement, with everyone helping where they could, everything was all done by 8:30am and the BBQ was on the go, with the smell of bacon filling the nostrils of everyone in the area.

One of the first races of the day saw Itchen pick up their first win of the day in the Women’s Double Sculls, featuring Jess Bull and Kady Middleton, who pushed all the way to the line and just held on to take the win, despite the commentators taking away their glory by announcing their rivals as the winners.

In the early stages of the day Itchen’s small boats were performing well, Men’s Senior Sculler (James Foad) won his heat and went straight through to the final, while the Men’s Junior Pair (James Cracknell & Oliver Starkey), Men’s Senior Pair (Mark Wardell & Luke Williams), Ladies Novice Sculler (Amelia Cole) and Ladies Junior Sculler (Georgia Edwards) all won their heats and semi finals to progress to the finals later in the day. After winning at the opening regatta at Ryde, but missing out on the point from Shanklin, the Mens Senior Sculler, Men’s Junior & Men’s Senior Pairs all had a point to prove, which they all did with comfortable wins over their opponents, making them all leaders of their respective championships 2-1. Both the Ladies Novice and Junior Scullers put up good fights but just missed out on the wins, finishing second and adding some strong points to the days aggregate.

On to the bigger boats, it was great to see our J16 girls step up and compete at the more senior level in the Women’s Novice Fours. The four of Lucy, Izzy, Venetia, India, coxed by Aly took a comfortable win in their heat to progress to the semi-final. The semi-final was not so comfortable, with the wind picking up and the water chopping up, India at stroke caught a big crab 150m or so into the race losing them the lengths advantage they had gained, with cool minds they got themselves back together and into the race and power through to take the win, progressing onto the final. The final was a close affair too, neck and neck most of the way, as our girls went into the turns first a good turn saw Christchurch come out first and gain enough to see them hang onto the finish line.

Similar to most of our crews racing the girls competing in the J16 Fours won their heat to progress to the final, sadly for both of our boys J16 fours they just missed out in their heats and unfortunately didn’t progress to the final. The girls J16 four of Ruby, Beth, Maddie, Megan and cox Aly was another close affair drew a large crowd with a lot of cheering, the girls had a fantastic race in the tough conditions and edged themselves ahead at the bouy turn, with the support of all the club members and all the cheering the girls hung on to take a fantastic win and bring the club total to 5 for the day, just three short of equalling the club record with the Ladies & Men’s Junior Fours and Men’s Senior Fours to come.

On the opening weekend both the Ladies Junior Four of (Lucy Fagan, Georgia Edwards, Charlotte Starkey, Amelia Cole & cox Sophie Foad) and the Men’s Junior Four of (Jonjo Bignell, Lorcan O’Toole, James Cracknell, Oliver Starkey & cox Owen Barnaby) were second both days and so to not let the gap slip to 3-0 in the championships stakes, it was important they fought for a win. In the heats both crews had solid performances, with the Men producing the same time as their main rivals in one of the other heats, meaning that we were in for a good race. They Men were up first in their final and unlike the previous week, they went out hard and dominated the field laying down some good power and going on to win by approx a length and producing the fastest time of the day so far. The Ladies did not have it all their own way, going into the bouy turn slightly down, a good turn saw them come up level, the ball was then in their court as to how much they wanted the win, the girls pushed hard every stroke and eventually came up on topalso winning by about a length. It’s great to see both crews back in the race for the Hants & Dorset Championship.

The last race of the day was the Men’s Senior Fours of (Mark Wardell, Luke Williams, James Foad, Wayne Harrison & cox Owen Barnaby) the four progressed comfortably with a win in their heat over Christchurch despite not having one of their best races. Onto the final and the Itchen crew found themselves up against their nearest rivals BTC. The Itchen crew took a lengths lead very quickly off the start and held this up to the turns, but a good turn from BTC put them back in the race, the Itchen crew still had the length lead but BTC were pushing hard, however everytime BTC kicked on Itchen responded and were gunning for the fastest time of the day as to not let the Itchen Junior crew have one over them. The Itchen Senior Four crossed the line just shy of a length over BTC, claiming the clubs 8th win of the day and once again retaining the aggregate.

Congratulations to all those that won at the regatta and to all those that competed and made the regatta a great event. An extremely big thank you to all those that sponsored the regatta and a huge well done and thank you to all those that helped put the regatta on and help out on the day, it wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for all of Itchen Imperial’s club members. 

Highlights for the regatta cane found on youtube courtesy of South Coast Journalism here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9XktFG8XrY


Itchen Imperial Boat Naming Ceremony

On Sunday 7th May the club had the pleasure of naming two new boats that were recently purchased to enhance rowing at our club and provide more opportunities for people to get on the water.

Firstly, we would like to take this opportunity to thank UK Sport for the huge grant we received, which enabled us to buy a new river four and will allow the club to be competitive in terms of boat quality. The four we bought was a WinTech interchangeable four, this effectively is two boats in one and makes it possible to row the boat as a coxed four or quad and a coxless four or quad, the adaptability is perfect for a club like Itchen where space is a highly sought after thing. Further to this the committee decided that the boat would be named 'James Foad' for his achievements at international level rowing.

The second boat we were lucky enough to purchase was a river single scull, again also from WinTech. This boat was bought with a  grant from Southampton City Council and with the huge help of The Round Table, so the club would like to thank you both for your support. With limited single sculls at the club, the boat is already being used regularly and has been used by our Junior members to race at the Junior Inter-Regioanal Regatta at Holme-Pierre Pont in Nottingham. The committee decided that this boat was going to be named 'Jessica Bull'. Despite Jess only being in her early 20's, she has achieved a significant amount and is undoubtedly the clubs most successful female rower, winning many Hants & Dorset Championships and South Coast Championships, with hopefully more to come in the future.

It was great to see everyone at the club for the naming of these two boats and then welcome the start of the 2017 Hants & Dorset Season (which begins this coming weekend on the Isle of Wight), with afternoon tea in the club lounge.

Southampton Coastal Fours Head 2017

Saturday the 1st April saw the last of the coastal head races, it was a final chance to see how winter training was paying off and how crews might get on during the Hants & Dorset season.

The Southampton Head course is 4150m in distance and is held on the River Itchen from Riverside Park, finishing just before the Itchen Bridge.

For Itchen Imperial the results were very pleasing, with all of the six crews entered finishing in the top 3 of their respective events, making the club joint winners of the aggregate trophy with neighbouring club Coalporters.

The Men’s Senior Four (Mark Wardell, Luke Williams, James Foad, Wayne Harrison, Cox – Owen Barnaby) were the 3rd boat off in Division 1 and from the go it was their aim to hunt the other crews down and be the first to cross the finish line, which they did in style. They went on to win the Pennant for fastest crew of the day in 16:05.2 and beat 2nd placed Coalporters in the Senior Men’s event by 37seconds.

The Men’s Junior Four (Rich Jones, Jonjo Bignell, James Cracknell, Oliver Starkey, Cox – Amey Adams) were the 2nd Itchen crew off in Division 1 and were up against 8 other crews. With a good group of Junior Men at the club, it was another opportunity to test another combination and see how it worked. The result was more than promising, with the guys winning their event by 21 seconds and posting the 2nd fastest time of the day overall.

Next up were the Masters 40+ crew (Steve Taylor, Adi Barraclough, Lee Rayment, Ian Barnaby Aka Barney, Cox – Oscar Taylor), apart from Adi none of these old boys have done a lot of training so the result wasn’t too bad I guess ;). The focus though is on our new cox, Oscar. A big well done to Oscar for getting out there and competing in his first race, a couple of hiccups but not bad for his limited time coxing and we know he’ll be spot on in a few months. The masters finished 2nd in their event, 18 seconds behind winners Poole.

Last up in Division 1 were the Girls J16 coxed quad (Beth Hudson, Maddie McGregor-Ritchie, Lucy Gooch, India Blake, Cox – Adele Walton). For Beth this was her first ever race, and what a way to start. Unfortunately there were only two crews entered in their event, but they beat the other crew from Newport by over 2 minutes and got themselves their first win of the season. Hopefully we will see these girls competing and winning their first novice races this year.

In Division 2 there were two Itchen crews entered, the Junior Ladies and the Boys J16 coxed quad.

The Junior Ladies (Kady Middleton, Lucy Fagan, Charlotte Starkey, Georgia Edwards, Cox – Sophie Foad) made a good step on in their project and have a big challenge for the year given the speed shown by the Ryde Junior Ladies. The ladies finished a good 3rd place in their event adding to the aggregate and making a good improvement from Christchurch Head.

The Boys J16 coxed quad also had two new debutants in the boat (Josh Sneddon, Sam Frost, James Weaterill, Henry Tout, Cox – Sue O’Toole). The boys were a good second place out of the 3 entered, again helping towards the aggregate and hopefully giving them a good experience and something to work towards for the summer racing at Novice.

 Men's Senior Four Winners and Pennant Winners for the Fastest Crew of the Day (Mark Wardell, Luke Williams, James Foad, Wayne Harrison, Cox - Owen Barnaby)

Men's Senior Four Winners and Pennant Winners for the Fastest Crew of the Day (Mark Wardell, Luke Williams, James Foad, Wayne Harrison, Cox - Owen Barnaby)

 Men's Junior Four Winners (Rich Jones, Jonjo Bignell, James Cracknell, Oliver Starkey, Cox - Amey Adams)

Men's Junior Four Winners (Rich Jones, Jonjo Bignell, James Cracknell, Oliver Starkey, Cox - Amey Adams)

 Girls J16 4x+ Winners (Beth Hudson, Maddie McGregor-Ritchie, Lucy Gooch, India Blake, Cox - Adele Walton)

Girls J16 4x+ Winners (Beth Hudson, Maddie McGregor-Ritchie, Lucy Gooch, India Blake, Cox - Adele Walton)

Itchen J14s at the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships

All three of the Itchen J14s had qualified, via their schools, to represent Hampshire at the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships (NJIRC) which was held on Friday 17 March at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre in London.  The championships have grown to become the biggest event for 11-18yr olds in the world, with almost 3,000 entries from Schools and Rowing Clubs for individuals and team competitions.

For our Juniors, the alarm clocks went off REALLY early, as everyone had to meet at Southampton Airport Parkway train station at 05:45.  It would have been really good if the coach driver had set his alarm too, to prevent everyone from hanging around for over an hour until the coach eventually turned up.

Up at Lee Valley, the comparative calm of a couple of hundred parked coaches and mini-buses in the car park was in stark contrast to the full volume noise inside the huge building.  With almost 3,000 rowers plus their teachers and/or rowing coaches, a large smattering of parents and a massive army of volunteers the place was buzzing.  Races started at around 09:30 and went on uninterrupted until about 16:00.

On hand this year, as always, were a large contingent of the Oxford and Cambridge crews that will be competing at this year’s boat race in a few weeks’ time.  Added to that (and wearing a Volunteer T-shirt) was GB Rowing Team’s triple Olympic Gold medallist Andrew Triggs Hodge and Olympic finalist Sam Townsend to hand out some medals throughout the day.

For our J14’s their time came shortly after the relay races had finished at lunch time.  The J14 (yr.9) Boys entry list was 211 long, and the Girls entry list even longer with 243.  The key to any sort of success at these events is to have a plan and stick to it.  That is never more true than when you are surrounded by some rowers who appear to have learnt their rowing technique at a bucking-bronco event, or those that think they can win the 4-minute event by going flat out for the first 30 seconds and then gasping for breath for the remaining 3min 30s.

Maisie and Ellie were in different groups with Maisie finishing 2nd in her group and Ellie 3rd in hers.  After all the groups had finished it was heartbreak for Maisie to finish 4th and miss out by only 2 meters from a Bronze medal.  Maisie’s final result for the 4min event was 1,037m with a split of 1min 55.7 and Ellie finished well inside the top 50 too.

James had a personal goal of setting his PB higher than last year’s winning score – which he managed.  Unfortunately for James, 2 other boys must have had the same idea, but James did finally win a Bronze medal for his efforts with a distance of 1,169m @ 1m 42.7.

A very long day eventually came to an end when the coach pulled into Southampton Airport Parkway again at nearly 19:00.  Well done Maisie, Ellie and James.

Burway Head Cancelled, No Worries, We Got This!

Unfortunately but not so unfortunately, Burway Head was cancelled today, which means our Juniors weren't able to attend their first regatta of 2017 :(

However, so they didn't miss out completely we decided to hold a small head race (club time trial) of our own from Northam Bridge back to the club, alongside the senior members of the club.

The plan was to do the 3km race twice as it is a relatively short course and there's no better training than racing, sadly due to weather conditions this was limited to once.

In all we had 9 crews racing and the results were as follows, the Junior Men's 4+ won and the times show the distance (in time) from the overall winners. We can't disclose too much info to our rivals ;)

Junior Men's 4+ (Winners)
James Foad 1x (+00:15)
Luke Williams 1x (+00:55)
Charlie Newbold 1x (+01:01)
Ladies Coastal 4+ (+02:32)
Boys J14 4x+ (+03:07)
Girls J16 4x (+04:45)
George Strong 1x (+05:18)
Men's Junior Coastal 2- (+06:00)

Although it took what felt like a lot of organisation to get people afloat today, it was great to see the club out in force on the water this morning and it's something I want to do more of in the future.

Well done to all those that made it out on the water and sorry to all those that were due to race today, we just couldn't accommodate everyone this morning at such short notice for safety reasons.

Remember keep training hard....The Head of the Stour in Christchurch is only 2 weekends away and I want to see some good results.


Henley 4's & 8's Head Report

On the 18th February the club made the journey up to Henley-on-Thames to compete at the first regatta of the season. In all it was a good day for the regatta, although slightly cold, most importantly it was dry and the stream on the river wasn’t too strong, which is just what you want for an upstream race.

Henley 4’s and 8’s Head is held over the Henley Royal Regatta course, but stick an extra 1km on to the start of this and you have the head race. It’s a nice head race to enter for those who haven’t had much experience of head racing too, its simply 1km off the start which goes round a long sweeping bend and then straight down the Henley course to the finish.

We had quite a good representation of the club, entering six crews across two divisions.

In Division 1, Itchen entered three crews: a Mens Senior Coxless Four (4-) and a Womens and Mens Novice Coxed Four (4+).

The Mens Senior 4- had a reasonably solid row and showed some good speed at times, if not always that consistent, and went on to win the event in a time of 12:00, 6 seconds over second place Stratford Upon-Avon. They also finished with the 3rd quickest 4- time of the day.

The Mens Novice 4+ also felt they had a good row and finished 7th in their event, beating 3 crews from Coalporters Rowing Club.

The Womens Novice 4+ are mainly in their transition from the clubs Junior section, so it was good to get them racing against other clubs and see where stand and what they need to do to make the next steps forward.

In Division 2, Itchen entered three crews: a Womens J18 Coxed Four (4+) and two Mens IM3 Coxed Fours (4+).

The first IM3 crew was made up of the clubs Junior Men. This crew have only had a couple of sessions together and although a little rough around the edges, showed some good speed, strength and potential for the season, finishing 5th out of 16, only 15secs behind the winners of the event.

Our other IM3 crew was actually our Mens Masters and had to row up at IM3 due to their not being a Masters event for them to row in. However, these guys are the Hants & Dorset Champions from last year and will no doubt show more speed later in the year, these old steam engines take a long time to warm up and get going.

Our Womens J18 4+ have also just made the step up to training with the more senior members at the club over the last few weeks and this crew was a bit of a scratch crew, it was good to get these girls racing and hopefully open their eyes to what it is they need to do later in the season.

Overall, it was good to represent the club at Henley Head, get our name out there and get some good results. It was also a good opportunity to see where we are as a club and where we need to improve.

This weekend (25th February 2016) the clubs Juniors (The Itchen Imps) will be racing at Burway Head…come back soon and see how they got on, and GOOD LUCK GUYS.