Thirteen Upton crews raced at Stourport on Sunday, which must be a new club record, and two more would have done so but for the lack of opposition – the women’s Mas E quad and coxless pair. In their absence, Jo and Linda raced only in the WMas C/D double scull. They had a straight final against Trentham, where they rowed strongly and held off the younger crew all the way down the course to notch up another excellent win.
Sally and Debbie had a busier day, contesting two events. In WMas A/B double sculls they were drawn against Liverpool Victoria, and this proved to be a close race in every sense of the word. The Upton boat led for most of the way, but Liverpool put in a late surge and we had to wait for the finishing judge’s decision – Upton, by two feet! In the final they raced a crew from Bewdley whom they had beaten two weeks earlier, but this developed into another ding-dong battle and the crews came to the finishing line almost level. As before, the finishing judge had to separate the crews and announced a margin of only two feet, but this time to Bewdley. In the IM3 event, however, Sally and Debbie had a convincing victory over a Welsh crew from Cardiff Vale, winning by a clear margin.
Jules and Tabs started out with two very impressive wins in the Mixed MasD double sculls, first against Bridgnorth and then against Stourport. In the final, though, they met a very impressive double from Bradford on Avon and were unable to get ahead of them, eventually losing after a very hard-fought race by just over a length. This was not the best preparation for Jules’s singles final, where he once again met the National champion in MasE single sculls, Duncan Gwilliam from Stourport, whom he had beaten at Henley last month. Gwilliam had the early lead this time, but Jules put in a great charge to the line and just missed out on the victory by a mere four feet.
In the men’s events, the quad of Maurice, Stuart, Keith and Jon which had won at Llandaff and Bewdley found themselves in a MasC/E event against a local Stourport crew. However, they had to give their opponents a handicap start of 7 seconds, and never really managed to get into the race. Upton also contested the MasC coxed fours event with a crew of Matt, Adam, Steven and Jon, with a substitute cox of Keith (who was undoubtedly by far the biggest cox of the regatta!). This was a close race, with the crews overlapping for the whole distance, but their opponents from Derwent held on to win by half a length .
Upton also entered four men’s double scull crews. In Masters F, Andrew and Jeremy raced against a Derby/Derwent composite crew, but although they remained in contact throughout the race they eventually lost by two lengths. Andrew had a similar result in the Masters F single sculls event against the Derwent member of the same crew. In Masters D/E double sculls, Keith and Matt had to concede a handicap to the older crew from Loughborough and never managed to close the gap. Two Upton crews raced in Masters C double sculls, and both produced very close races. Maurice and Stuart raced another crew from Loughborough, and the two were neck and neck for much of the race; Upton took a narrow lead as they approached the finish but then faltered in the last few strokes and lost by a narrow margin. In their heat, Steve and Adam initially fell behind against Worcester but closed on them rapidly as they approached the finish. However in the final surge for the line they lost control of their steering and crossed into their opponents’ water, resulting in a collision and disqualification for the Upton crew .
So another day of mixed fortunes but with plenty of good racing experience for all the crews, and now it’s on to Gloucester and Ross regattas at the end of the month.