Sally and Debs won the Mas A 2x event on Saturday, away from the glare of the cameras (or my camera at least). They beat a Worcester crew by a length and a half despite having no handicap in their favour to take account of the fact that they are in a higher age category.

On Sunday, Ben opened his account in Novice sculls with an emphatic win over a sculler from Bridgnorth.  His semi-final opponent withdrew, leaving him to meet a Stourport sculler in the final and rowed steadily away from him to win by two or three lengths. He then teamed up with Dee in the Mixed Novice double sculls event and they had a substantial win over another crew from Bridgnorth in a straight final.

Not to be outdone, Alice won the Women’s Novice sculls event with a strong performance that ended in a comfortable win over a Bewdley sculler.

Stuart, Adam, Rich and Jon came up against a crew from Trafford (Manchester) in the Masters B quadruple sculls – again the Upton crew was rowing against a younger crew without the offsetting benefit of a handicap.  They were leading by a length as they approached the finish, but nearly came to grief in the last few strokes in very shallow water – fortunately their momentum was enough to carry them over the finish line to win the event.

Stuart and Debs produced the race of the day against Birmingham in IM2 Mixed double sculls, not once but twice because the first race was declared a dead heat and they had to do it again.  In the rerow, they led from the start and held on for a very impressive victory.

Liz and Maggie were part of a composite eight with Bewdley and Birmingham that won Women’s Mas C eights. And honourable mention also goes to a new men’s Mas D coxed four of Steven, Keith, Maurice, Ferg and Rob, who lost by 3/4 length to the eventual winners from Monmouth; the women’s Mas E quad of Linda, Pippa, Trish and Jo who beat a Mas D crew from Monmouth before losing in the final to a Mas C crew from Stourport, again with no handicaps; Maurice and Steven who also lost to a Stourport crew in Mas D double sculls; Jo and Linda who lost to Monmouth in the Mas F double sculls final; and Dee who lost to Loughborough in Mas C Novice sculls and, with Pippa, lost to Bewdley in Mas C double sculls.  Overall, a great day for the club with spirited rows from everybody.

Well done to Linda, Pippa, Trish and Jo, who won W MasD 4x at Llandaff.  They were not given any handicap but convincingly beat a younger crew from Gloucester.  Linda and Jo nearly repeated the feat in W Mas E 2x, again with no handicap, but lost by 2 feet to a younger crew from Llandaff.  Chris and Andrew got to the final of Mas E 2x, but lost to Stourport.  Liz, Maggie, Sally and Debs had no Masters opposition in the three events they entered (W 4+, W 2- and W2x) but won all their races except the finals in each case. Again all the event winners were younger, sometimes by decades!  Andrew and Dee also raced in 1x events but didn’t get beyond the first round.  You’ll see from the above that there is a certain theme – Llandaff were trialling the new points system, and this quite often led to significant mismatches in age.  I hope this isn’t a sign of what is to come at future regattas.


Meanwhile, we also had two entries at Henley Masters this weekend.  Jules won his first round of Mas E 1x over a Marlow sculler by 3 lengths.  In the semi final he faced Gwilliam of Stourport and they had a ding-dong race with the lead changing hands more than once, but in the end Gwilliam held on to win by a canvas.  Stuart, Adam, Rich and Jon made their debut appearance in Mas C 4x but had the misfortune to be drawn against the British Masters gold medallists from Exeter, and lost by two lengths.  Exeter went on to win all their other races, including the final by four lengths.

Lynn Stirling from Upton and myself joined the other rowers gathering at Coalporter’s clubhouse on Friday evening 26th of May 2017. After a welcome and briefing from Anne Hock, who is a member of both clubs and the lead organiser of the event, the very hospitable members of the club produced a magnificent barbecue on the boathouse apron overlooking the River Itchen.

Read Peters full report here – The Great Coal Row 2017