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Yr10 Quad Wins at the Races

GMSBC competed at three different regattas over the weekend of 17th, 18th, and 19th of June. On  Friday evening our WJ16 Quad was at Henley Women’s Regatta. Due to pressure on the race timetable, the regatta cut the number of crews in the side-by-side racing from 16 to 8 out of the nearly 40 entries, which made this a hard challenge for the girls. Having said this, the crew had been performing well in training and importantly had two Year 10s in this Year 11 event. They had a good time trial race and were pleased with their row. They came 10th just missing out, but beating nearly 30 crews. Despite the crew being disappointed, this is an impressive result for this newly formed group.

On Saturday, the top Boys’ Quads raced at Dorney, which followed the usual pattern of time-trials to determine which final you race in. Both crews felt they had raced well and the time gap was closely bunched for each of their finals. The B Quad had three other crews in their race who were within 0.5 seconds of them –  two others who were 3 to 4 seconds faster. Sadly, they started more slowly than the rest of the race crews and were slightly surprised to find themselves at the back of the field with 500m gone. However, true to style the crew kept their rhythm and remained team-tight and executed a good push at 750 as planned. It was clear to the crew that the field was coming back to them and rather than straining to hang on to any gains from their push they continued to eat into the lead of the boats around them. By 1500m, they had overtaken all but one crew and were moving up on the leaders.

It was a tense last 500, but in the end, the effort taken to get back on terms was too much and the crew came second. It was a truly gritty row from the GMS team and an exciting race to watch. The A crew had a tougher race and finished with no improvement from the tt.

Sunday was Thames Valley Park Regatta for our younger crews. This is a delightful river regatta with heats, ¼ finals, semis and finals for most events. Lots of side-by-side racing with plenty to watch and continual cheering from one supporter’s group or another.

The squad all competed well and many races were tight results. Special mention must go to our talented Year 8 Girls’ Octo. After their dominance in Year 8 Octos at Marlow town, they were racing up a year in  WJ14 category. If this was not challenging enough, they had an incident on the way up to the start which meant a broken rigger and rudder. Sitting back on the rafts for 20 minutes while the coaches tried to fix both of these problems was nerve-racking for them. Eventually, they returned to the start. Their first race was against Emmanuel School, a major independent school in London. The girls flew down the course looking very impressive and a few lengths ahead of the opposition. In the semi-final they came up against a very well-drilled Henley Octo. Regular readers will know that Henley is probably the best junior women’s club in the country. Having said this the Henley girls were very complimentary to our crew at the start but were slightly taken aback when the girls said they were Year 8s.

This was always going to be tough, but to make matters worse the steering became unresponsive: Cox Lyra Wells did a fantastic job giving clear commands to keep the crew on track and while they lost to this powerful Year 9 crew, they were the closest anyone came to these eventual winners.

The other notable performances of the morning were the Year 10 Boys’ Eight and Year 11 Boys’ Four. A common feature is Rafa Quinn who had to double up in both due to illness in the J16 Four. The Eight had a tight race in the first round against Canford and were ½ length down at halfway; they kept their heads and concentrated on moving their boat, stroke by stroke they moved back to be on equal terms. In the final push to the line pulled out to win. Next, they met Bedford who had performed very well at National Schools. Again they were ½ length down at halfway, but this time the opposition was too strong to let them row back. However, GMS performed well displaying great racing; it was a big step ahead for this crew.

The J16 Four got a bye through to the semi-finals and were feeling quite confident. In their first race against Bedford, they started quickly and just moved away from their rivals, winning quite comfortably. In the final, their opposition Reading Bluecoats had achieved a 3-second faster time than our crew so it was looking tougher than they expected. For once our crew was down on the start, and the Bluecoat crew was looking pretty sharp. If in doubt just up the rate, which is what the GMS boys did. It was not the prettiest of rows but they inched through to win by a canvass (around 8 feet).

In the afternoon we had the Year 8s in action with three Boys’ Quads and two Girls’ Quads. They all performed pretty well, enjoying good races with the best result being one of the girls’ crews making the semi-finals.

The Year 10 boys were also back in action in a Four and a Quad. The Four managed to row through Pangbourne College to win their first race. Unfortunately, they lost by 3 feet to Bluecoats next. The Quad on the other hand, was given a row over a no-show, and came over the line first in a comfortable win, to end up in the final against Borlase. This was our last race of the day and charged with a local rival atmosphere. For most of this crew, it would be their first outright win of the season. The boys had a good start and it was quickly apparent that the race was theirs unless they messed up: looking very together they rowed steadily away from SWB.

A busy and exciting day came to an end with photos of the Boys 9, and cox Sophie Wharfe, clutching their winning tankards.

Everyone had a great time and GMSBC have more experience under their belt. Well done to all our rowers and their coaches. We thank Mr Murison for this write-up, which makes good reading.






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