As they had at Llandaff two weeks earlier, Upton crews battled dreadful weather conditions on Sunday at Bewdley regatta, but managed to win four of the events they had entered. Ironically, although the rain fell incessantly from the sky there wasn’t much water in the river, which was extremely shallow and affected the outcome of several races.
The men’s quad of Maurice, Stuart, Keith and Jon were seeking to repeat their victory from Llandaff in the Masters B/C event. In their first race against Trafford (from Sale) they established a healthy lead early on but ran into difficulties in the shallow water, which allowed their opponents to close on them. However, once they got going again they reassumed control of the race and held on to win by over a length . In the final they put on a fine display of powerful rowing to move smoothly away and record a decisive win over Stourport .
The women’s quad of Linda, Jo, Liz and Maggie were in the equivalent women’s Masters B/C event, where they met another crew from Trafford in a straight final. This looked like a tall order, because our crew is in fact Masters E but the organisers were prepared to give them only the handicap appropriate for a Masters C crew against the Masters B crew from Trafford – who were more than 20 years younger. But Upton rowed powerfully and held them off all the way down the course, winning the event by over a length.
This crew also raced in a pair and a double, and each of them met a crew from Loughborough in a straight final. In the pairs event, Liz and Maggie were again given less of a handicap than their age-group deserved, but lost by only a length or so. With the proper handicap they would have been very close to winning the event.
Debbie and Sally, fresh from their novice win at Llandaff, had entered both the IM3 and Masters B double sculls events. In the first of these they were drawn against a crew from Abingdon and took control of the race early on but then hit a submerged rock with one of their blades which brought them to a halt. Although they got going again they couldn’t quite close the gap and lost by half a length.
Andrew entered the Masters F single sculls event and started with a good win over a Stourport sculler who had beaten him at Evesham on their only previous encounter.
He then met a Ross sculler who had beaten him at Llandaff by two lengths. This time it was much closer, but the Ross sculler held on to win by half a length. He also raced in a Masters F double with Jeremy in near-monsoon conditions but they lost to a crew from Bewdley.
We had two crews making their debut in novice double sculls events. In the men’s event, Adam and Nick struggled with the conditions and lost to a crew from City of Oxford. In the women’s event, Katie and Becky took the lead early on against Avon County but lost it when they again ran into difficulties in shallow water and ended up losing by about two lengths. But both crews will have benefited from the racing experience and will achieve success in the future.
Finally, Upton entered the Masters C eights event, with Stuart, Nick, Chris, Adam, Maurice, Keith, Steve and Jon, with Debbie in the cox’s seat. This was the club’s first regatta appearance in an eight for some years, and the complete crew had its first outing only the previous day, so expectations were not high! The crew was left off the start by a powerful and experienced Bewdley eight, and lost by 2 1/2 lengths, but they had a good row and may return to this boat category more seriously in the future.
So a successful day overall, with some near misses and frustrations to go with four excellent victories. The next regatta targeted is Stourport on 9 August. It surely can’t pour with rain all day again, can it?