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Great Rowing at Wallingford Fours and Eights

Exciting racing happened at Wallingford Fours and Eights Head, in the last weekend of November.  This year there was a particularly strong field with entries from all over the country. Crews from as far afield as Chester in the North to Exeter in the west, not to mention all the usual top Thames Valley squads.

At the top end, there were a couple of Olympians among the competitors from Oxford University, who raced against Leander and Oxford Brookes. Oxford University only beat the Brookes crew by just over 2 seconds with Leander some 14 seconds behind in third place. It was exciting to see Toby Lassen (GMS 2020) in the Brookes 3 seat. In the afternoon, he went on to win the Under 23 Eights.

There were several alumni out competing, which is always pleasing to see, with Blaise Ivers Dreux in another Brookes boat and Hannah Clayton and Ruth Rackstraw racing together for Maidenhead Rowing Club (MRC).

In the first division, GMSBC had a Boys’ 1st Eight, a Girls’ Year 11 Eight and a Boys’ Year 10 Eight. Illness and injury had curtailed a number of our boats and changed a few line ups. The Boys’ First Eight felt they could have raced better, and indeed were held up by other crews along this somewhat windy course. They did overtake Reading Blue Coats very quickly and pulled away from Winchester, who was behind them. As they came under the road bridge, 1000k from the finish they were pushing past the Eight two places ahead of them, and they closed fast on Marlow Rowing Club Eight. They finished second in their event, which was an excellent result.

The Girls’ J16 Eight has had little time on the water and was made up of Year 10s, in their first rowing race (sweep as opposed to sculling) for half the boat. They had a slowish first half and lost ground on the field, in this section, but once they hit their rhythm the boat started moving well and produced the fourth: the fastest time out of a top-class field on this section. A very promising first outing for this Eight.

The Year 10 Boys’  had a very contentious start to their race with a crew they were overtaking not yielding, resulting in both crews stuck in the bank for a reasonable delay. Their 7th position, beating St Pauls, Westminster and Latymer amongst others was very respectable given this early setback. They are a strong squad and Mr Murison is sure there are exciting results awaiting them, in the months ahead.

In the second division we just had our top Girls’ Eight and like the morning’s crew, they have had little time out in the boat. For half the crew this was their second race of the day. It was 4 km upstream, in freezing conditions this was a challenge, but the girls coped well and came off the water, cold, but feeling they had raced well. While they have some ground to make up on the top Eights, beating the likes of St Pauls Girls and Sir William Perkins is no small achievement.

An truly exciting day on the water.

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