Bowball to bowball racing at St Neots Regatta
St Neots Rowing Club held its annual two-day regatta on the River Great Ouse last weekend, playing host to rowers from across the UK, as well as crews from Spain and Germany. The good weather set the scene for some highly competitive racing and spectators were frequently regaled with ‘bowball to bowball’ commentary from club member Kevin Sadler as crews approached the finishing line at the rowing club.
Racing on Saturday was over a 1,000 metre course with a bend at 500 metres causing a few steering issues for some crews. The 210, side-by-side races were set off at three minute intervals, and the winners were presented with their hard-fought trophies by St Neots Mayor, Andrew Hansard. There was also the added spectacle of a Dakota flyover (pictured right) in the afternoon, taking a slight deviation from a nearby air display to honour the regatta and support the RAF rowers.
On Sunday, spectators could see the whole of the shorter 500 metre course from the Regatta Meadow, with even more excitement as 300 races were held every two minutes. St Neots rowers entered 16 events across the junior and senior squads, of which 9 crews were successful in their finals. On Saturday, there were wins for the women’s J15 and J16 doubles, and the mixed IM3 eight. On Sunday, the successes ramped up as the afternoon progressed for the home club, starting with wins for the women’s Masters D eight, a very well deserved win for Molly Harper in her J14 single, the junior boys’ IM3 coxless quad, and J18A double, and the women’s J14 and J15A doubles.
The regatta is one of the biggest in the country, second only to Henley in size, and is a very popular weekend amongst the rowing community. The many spectators played a key part in spurring the rowers on and there were some extremely close and exciting finishes.
Club Chairman Mick Staddon said:
This has been a hugely successful weekend for St Neots Rowing Club, with amazing racing from all competitors. On behalf of the club I would like to thank the many volunteers involved in running the regatta, from the regatta committee who begin planning some 7 months in advance, to officials and club members, sponsors, family and friends, all of whom make this possible. It’s a huge feat to run an event of this size and we have received great feedback from visiting clubs commenting that this is one of their favourite events in the rowing calendar.”