The club’s junior squad brought back an impressive haul of medals from National Schools regatta (24/26 May). With a total of five golds, one silver and one bronze Team Marlow finished second in the medals league table behind Hampton School.
Despite a desperately disappointing start when the racing was cancelled on Friday, depriving the girls J14 octo, girls J15 double and boys J15 coxed quad of the chance to compete, the weekend quickly turned into a success story.
The weather on Saturday was fine and warm with a light tail wind – near perfect racing conditions. All of the crews progressed safely to the semi final stages, then three of the five crews went on to their finals. In front of an enthusiastic group of Marlow supporters, the first final was the Girls J16 double scull with Molly Harding and Rosalind Wilson. This was a class act with the girls taking gold by a margin of 10 seconds leaving the field trailing behind them. The boys J16 quad (Jason Burnap, Ted Treasure, Alex Haynes, Fraser Russell) were on next, battling hard against local rivals Sir William Borlase and were rewarded with a silver medal for their gutsy performance. Last up were the girls J16 eight who had impressed in the semi finals. To the accompaniment of much screaming and cheering from the spectators, they led from the start and crossed the line a length ahead of Sir William Perkins.
The weather on Sunday continued to be on our side, with clear skies and only a light breeze – who knew Holme Pierrepont could be so calm! The day started well with all crews again progressing to semi finals. Four crews moved forward to compete their finals, although the Championship quad (Charlie Simon, Harry Glenister, Sholto Carnegie and Josh Kent) gave the spectators a few heart stopping moments when they had to restart their semi final campaign following a minor shipwreck off the start. Unfazed, they powered through the field from last to first then sat comfortably in front for the second half of the race.
Team Marlow had four crews in the finals. First to race was the J16 double scull (Fraser Russell and Alex Haynes) who led the field from start to finish and collected a convincing gold medal. They were swiftly followed by the girls J16 quad who had dominated the semi finals. This crew (Molly Harding, Rosalind Wilson, Heidi Long and Erica Holmes) have dominated their event so far this year and Nat Schools was no exception with the girls leading out strongly from the off and maintaining clear water over their nearest rivals right down to the finish line. The championship quad took their place at the start but in this race they didn’t have things all their own way as they were led out over the first half of the race. Just lying in sixth position at 500m, they had improved to third at the half way point but still had some work to do. They then started to pile the pressure on the other crews and with just over 500m to go finally managed to get their bows in front. Following a well controlled final push the crew crossed the line almost 3 seconds ahead of Westminster School to take the third goal of the afternoon. By this time the Marlow crowd were both hoarse and ecstatic. But the afternoon had one final twist – the Girls Championship Coxless Four (Ayomi Rajapakse, Amy Robertson, Anna Smart, Emma Boddy) were not about to be left off the medal podium. Theirs was a race where Headington led off the start and could not be caught, but the battle for the silver and bronze medals was fierce. The Marlow girls clawed their way through to the silver medal position and held on tight through the middle section of the race but just missed out to a fast finishing Tees crew in the final run in. However they ended up with a very well deserved bronze and ended the day tired but happy.
Many congratulations to all of our crews and to the coaching team of Russell Peacock, Carrie Collerton, Ray Bedder, Dan Smith, Bret King and Colin Picton. You did us proud!