My earnest entreaties have been answered with more than one report of an excellent Sons showing at Borne Regatta. Here from Rory, is an overview of the day, followed by a perspective from the winning men's IM2 4- crew written by Sam, and the single sculler's view from Anna.
“Squally winds, heavy rain and overcast skies can only mean one thing… that’s right, regatta season has started. And so it was that Sons sent an armada of crews to Borne @ Chiswick Bridge Regatta. Nine entries across three boat classes meant that almost 30 members of Sons were racing throughout the day with Sons crews being involved in both the 4th race of the day and the penultimate. Winter training on the Tideway however must have some advantages as Sons managed an impressive haul of 5 wins from those 9 events kicking the season off to a successful start.
The Senior Men’s IM3 4+ (Horton (cox), Farley, Long, Darby & Hodgkinson) were first in to action at 9.15am, but were unlucky against a strong LSE crew, resulting in a quick return back to Linden House and a long wait until their next race in the IM3 8 at 5pm.
The Novice crews were out in force and were represented in the Mens Nov 4+ and Womens Nov 4+ and 8+ (apparently the strength of the Men’s Novice 8 had scared off all the opposition!) and the men were quick to settle in to regatta form winning their first ever side by side heat against Eastbourne College. Unfortunately their early promise led them to a semi final clash against a very familiar looking LSE crew and the Men’s Nov 4+ (Maunder (cox), Harrison, Lund, Brinker & Rees) had to take comfort with some good racing experience to take them forward for the season.
The Women’s Nov 4+ (Crane (cox), Lazarevic, Austin, Parr & Main) also had a flying start, taking a good local scalp against Putney Town in a very closely fought content. Their ¼ length victory was enough however to set up a final against the American School London and after some initial confusion at the start line (resulting in a premature row over by ASL and a subsequent appeal) the women showed a great deal of composure and mettle to row out a clear verdict in their first ever final. A great result for a crew who have all come through the Sons “Learn to Row” programme.
The Women’s Nov 8 (as Nov 4+, plus Pinheiro, Lugg, Wanot & Bell) unfortunately couldn’t capitalise on the success of the 4+ but rowed well against a well drilled Thames 8 who went on to win the Novice 8+ category.
A closely fought heat in the Men’s IM2 4- was brought to a swift end by the disqualification of Kings College for repeated steering warnings setting up the final against HSBC. The Sons crew (Haeata, Rutterford, Cook & O’Hare) had a length lead by the half way point and never looked like giving it away, finishing comfortably and securing another win for the day.
Conditions meant it was a day more suited for larger boats, but Sons still enjoyed success in the singles as both Faith Jamieson (Mas B) and Anna Caffyn (Mas A) showed great determination to win their respective races (against MAABC and Furnivall). Faith and Anna led from the front in both their races and wins never looked in doubt. The long row home against the tide post event was probably not the celebration either had in mind but success was well earned.
Although not the final win of the day (that pleasure fell to Anna) it was the Men’s IM3 8, a straight final against Furnivall, that was the hotly anticipated event. After the withdrawal from the Dewar shield earlier in the year, the Men (as IM3 4+, plus Tchoubouroff, Versteege, Price & Foden) were keen to correct the Hammersmith pecking order. An aggressive start put the crew 2 ½ lengths up by the half way marker and from there rowed home to a comfortable win. A pleasing result for the men, but tougher opposition will be quick to follow.
Barring the weather, it was great event at Chiswick and the Sons supporters had plenty to cheer throughout the day. A great start to the season and hopefully a sign of the season to come.
Sons are racing again this weekend at the Chiswick Amateur Regatta (Sat) and Wallingford (Sunday).”
And from the IM2 4- boat.
I've always like the Bruce MacLachlan, the red and white Lola that Sam, Ross, Joe and Rory are in this season. We vets used to go out in it, and that was because, in our minds at least, we were the only ones that could sit it . But this crew seem to have mastered the balance, giving them the platform to use their impressive power.
"The Sons M4- has been training as a crew for not all that many weeks. Even in this short time we have felt things coming together and are happy with progress so far. But of course, the only way to know how we are really doing is to line up for a race and the Borne regatta was our first opportunity.
Our first race was scheduled with a crew from Kings College London. We did not know what to expect from this boat club and we would not find out that day either. Unfortunately our heat with King's was not going the full distance. It would seem that you are testing the patience of an umpire who warns you before the start and then again repeatedly during the race. Kings had lined up against us, but on our side of the river and too close to us entirely. The race began as it should and we got away perhaps a little slower than we would have preferred. We conceded half a length to their boat in the first few strokes. But that was all we gave away. Once we found a rhythm we began to move back through them with every stroke. But they were moving closer to us and our blades clashed twice. The umpire shouted at them, telling them to move away from us. The race continued and it seemed our two boats were matched for speed. It was going to be a great race. But the umpire continued to shout warnings at Kings and eventually he had seen enough and raised the red flag. Our first race was over after 300 metres with our opponent disqualified for not allowing us a fair race.
We would then meet HSBC in the final. This time we knew our opposition well enough to know they can produce some quality boats. It would by no means be an easy race. After sitting about for an eternity in the cold and constant rain typical of a spring day we again moved onto our starting position. At last the call came "attention, go". We were away, this time our start was good and even without looking over to the HSBC boat I could sense we hadn't give them an inch. Then Joe made the call for length and we responded. Stretching out to full slide and still we were rating up at 36. It wasn't long before we were beginning to edge ahead. But they were still on us and well within an effective strike range. One solid push from them could bring them back up or even ahead. Suddenly there was a flash of colour on our left as a navigation buoy zipped passed our boat, narrowly missing our bow side blades (Rory will tell you he judged it perfectly). I then noticed the umpire was giving instruction to the HSBC crew to move away. They were quick to respond and moved away so there was no chance of them being disqualified. This race was going down to the line. I could hear them calling for pushes as they tried to come back on us. But we would have none of it and without a word we responded, extending our lead to close to a length. We could hear the Sons supporters calling from the bank, the finish was near, we only had to hang on now. But the finish line never came, or at least, there was no buzzer to say we were home. So we hammered on and on until eventually the umpire realised and called for us to wind down. Then they raised their white flag and it was official. We had won our first race and it was free from opponent disqualification. It just so happened to be a final and thanks very much that will do fine.
We are very grateful to the organisers for such an enjoyable regatta and a big congratulations to all the Sons rowers who raced on the day, especially the many boats that won their events."