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