St Neots women return to The Thames
On Saturday a women’s crew took part in the 73rd Women’s Head of the River Race on the River Thames, along with 306 other crews. Competitors start at 10 second intervals and the entire race can take over two hours for all eights with nearly 3,000 rowers and coxes to complete the 6.8 kilometre course between Chiswick and Putney Bridges.
Thankfully the weather settled somewhat, and although overcast the conditions were very good with little wind, no rain and a fast flowing river on the returning tide. The Intermediate 3 crew of Natasha Wilson at stroke, Mia Hartwell, Ali Brown, Lynne Taylor, Helen Knowles, Louise Rushworth, Sarah Davies and Dione Page at bow were ably coxed by Ali Young.
In an exciting race where the crew were three abreast across the course with their competitors on occasion, and were caught on the bow by another crew with poor steering, the cox kept the crew focused throughout the race and they maintained a steady rate of 30 strokes a minute throughout the race. The race time was 21.57 seconds which did mean that the crew went down the rankings although they maintained their percentage difference versus the fastest time of the winning crew as last year. And all with a bent rudder as a consequence of boating on a shallow concrete bank.
The women will be competing next at the Veterans’ Head of the River Race on 24 March, preceded by a men’s crew the day before.
Club Captain Alistair Mackie said:
It’s been a very frustrating winter with many rowing events cancelled by flooding and snow, and the ladies were keen to be racing competitively again. The crew have worked hard over the winter months to get out on the water when conditions allowed, backed up by indoor training.”