A Great Start to the Season!

Saturday 8th April was the date of the first SRA race of the season – the Simon Mepham Marathon race, held at Thames Valley Skiff Club.   The race is about 4 miles long, from Valley club, up the Desborough Cut for the sharp hand-break turn at the top of Desborough island, then downstream along the meandering original river route (with the opportunity for the cox to salute Roger and Amanda’s house, with its encouraging Skiff Club ensign) to the finish at Valley clubhouse.

The Skiff Club had a good turnout with representatives in 3 categories:

Kevin Elmore & Fran Kenden coxed by Dave Wright in Intermediate category

Farro Khavand & Eilish Lawlee coxed by Fran Kenden in Novice category

Russell Guy & Mary Booth coxed by Luisa Pongennari in Novice category

Paul Gregory and Viv Gunn coxed by Claire McCormack in Novice category

Dominic North and Ellie Rahbaran coxed by Amanda Leach in Novice category

John Pengilly and Mina Moran coxed by Dave Wright in Entrant level

In the first division we only had the Intermediate boat.  The Ditton’s crew were making headway on Kevin & Fran upstream and were less than a boat length behind at the handbrake turn.  Suddenly Dave “pulled a blinder” on the turn and Skiff Club left the corner a good 2 lengths ahead.  Keen to capitalise on the advantage the lead grew gradually and, with Fran “encouraging” from the bow position, Kevin clung to consciousness until the final stroke, to win the Intermediate competition by a mere 6 seconds!

While Kevin was recovering on the grass, Fran hopped in to cox Farro & Eilish.  There was competition from 2 other Skiff club crews – all hungrily fighting for not only the winning pots, but the friendly rivalry within the club.  It was a close call going upstream, and Russell and Mary took both the Wraysbury and Sunbury crews, Luisa gaining on the sharp corner.  However, quietly Eilish and Farro had been making ground on them, and behind the island they made their attack to win the Novice section by almost a minute.  Meanwhile Paul and Viv, who had started further down the start order, made steady progress to finish with a faster time than the Sunbury Intermediate crew (Paul is still recovering!).

However, much praise is in order for Mina – on her first Skiff race – and John (again brilliantly coxed by Dave) beating two Novice and an Intermediate crew, to win the Entrant Category albeit being the only boat in this category!

This of course means that The Skiff Club are in the lead in Ormiston Points at this stage… But for how long?  It’s up to YOU to keep the flag flying!

For photos please see The Skiff Club Facebook Page

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