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.