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Marlow Schools: Challenge Races

Last Saturday, Marlow Town hosted a much reduced Regatta. With the trailer park still waterlogged, there was no space for visiting crews. The regatta consisted of some adaptive races for which Marlow Rowing Club is renowned, and the four Marlow School Challenge Races.

The Quads’ events, only introduced last year on the insistence of Sir William Borlase as a way to possibly balance the scales, was the first set race.

The two Girls’ Quads had different crews from the previous clashes between the two schools, both put out their top Henley crews. While we were unsure of the outcome, it promised to be a close race. In the end, however, the GMS girls sadly hit a buoy early in the race and after some confusion between the crew and the umpire they restarted already some lengths down. Frustrating as it was for the girls, it allowed Borlase to claim the first victory.

The Boys’ Quads saw the GMS Henley Quad competing for the first time and although on paper we expected a comfortable victory, after the upset in the Girls’ Quads spectators were not as calm. As they rounded the bend coming into sight of the enclosures, the perspective made it very difficult to see which crew was in front, but soon it became clear that indeed the GMS boys had a commanding lead and were not to be challenged. One all on the score card.

At 3:15 came the last two races of the day, the main events, The Marlow Schools Challenge Eights. In this race, Great Marlow was defending their three in a row for both races. With Girls’ Eight off first again, our crew had a point to prove after the frustration of the morning’s race.  Channelling their anger into a powerful start, the GMS Eight took an early lead and there was no looking back. Moving away with every stroke the Great Marlow girls stormed home to make it four in a row and  2-1 on the day.

The final race had the enclosure towpath packed with spectators. The GMS Eight had looked strong and very sharp in practice. A repeat of the girls’ performance was inevitable and they also stormed home some lengths ahead of Borlase. On the day, GMS 3- Borlase 1: not perfect but excellent in every other way.

Mr Murison says, “All looks good for the next few weekends’ racing.”


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