2 October 2000


At Wallingford this weekend Marlow's scullers kicked off the winter long distance Head Race season in winning style. There were wins in the senior sections for Paul Thomas and in junior events for a number of Marlow and Borlase school crews.
Head races are long-distance races against the clock, with the athletes going off at intervals and being timed over a set course, similar to a cycling time trial. The Wallingford sculls are raced upstream over a 4,000metre course.
In good conditions Paul Thomas, one of Marlow's top senior scullers, won the Senior 1 division in 16min 19 seconds. He was also 3rd in the Elite division. Dan Tipney also performed well, winning the Junior 15 single sculls and the Junior 15 double sculls with Adam Richards of Borlase school.. Their winning time of 17.10 also bettered the winning Junior 16 time by some 15 seconds.
A composite crew from Marlow RC and Borlase also won the J15 quad sculls by some 23 seconds, a good result for Liam Bowden, James Rigg, James Keeble and Nick de la Grense with cox Luke Bebb.
It's early in the season and all the athletes involved will have enjoyed getting in some early racing and starting the season with four wins.

Sean Farrelly

25 September 2000


Nearly 200 Marlow Rowing Club members crowded into the club house in the early hours of last Saturday and Sunday mornings to watch live coverage of the Olympic regatta from Sydney.
The clubhouse erupted as Redgrave struck Gold for the 5th time. Both Steve and Matthew Pinsent are life members of the club where Steve started his rowing career. Francis Smith, a former English teacher at Great Marlow School, introduced the young Steve to rowing when he stood out at over 6ft tall. A former Captain of Marlow RC, Smith went on to oversee the early years of Steve's development beforeRedgrave took his first Olympic titles with another Marlow coach, Mike Spracklen. Steve brought great success to Marlow RC, including the Diamond sculls title at Henley Royal Regatta, before moving to the heavyweight squad based at Leander club in Henley.
Steve's unique achievement of 5 Olympic Gold medals must surely put him at the summit of 20th and 21st century sporting achievement. His phenomenal dedication and drive for success will be an inspiration to generations of athletes to come.

The Olympic final went perfectly to plan for a good 1600 metres of the race, with Great Britain comfortably out in front, dominating the opposition. A huge push by the Italians with 400m to go took more off the British crew's lead then they would have liked, but as Steve said in his post match interview, "at 250m I knew we would win. Nobody was coming past us".

Marlow members Katherine Grainger and Gillian Lindsay took a fantastic Silver medal on Sunday morning in the womens' quadruple sculls. This was Great Britain's first womens' rowing medal in the sport's history and was a unique achievement for the crew of Miriam Batten, Katherine Grainger, Gillian Lindsay, Guin Batten and Marlow coach Mike Spracklen.

Lindsay has rowed for Marlow RC in major domestic events for the past 4-5 years, including several fours and eights Head of the River winning crews. She became a life member of the club following her Gold medal in the World Championships double sculls in 1998. Grainger also competed in Marlow eights head winning crews in 1998 and 1999. Both girls are Scots and relocated to the Marlow area to work with national womens' coach Mike Spracklen, who runs the Great Britain womens' squad from Longridge scout boating centre in Marlow.
The club house erupted on Sunday morning as the British crew sprinted off the start to sit in third, just behind Germany and Russia, after 500m of the final. The British crew were ranked fourth on times before the race, but desperately wanted a medal. Through the middle 1000m the Great Britain crew, stroked by Miriam Batten, hit a wonderful rhythm and, powered on by Grainger and Lindsay in the middle of the boat, began to edge level with the Russians. With 500m to go, Germany held a ¾ length lead with Russia and Great Britain level. A big push from the British girls took us into a narrow 2-3 ft lead over the Russian crew and into the Silver medal position. The Russians were not going to lie down, but pushed back. Going for the line, the stroke rate kept creeping up in all three boats. Back in Marlow their clubmates were ecstatic, and Garry Herbert's television commentary reached a near hysterical crescendo. At over 40 strokes a minute, all three crews crossed the line; Germany had Gold and retained the title won 4 years ago, but less then a length behind it was a photo finish between Great Britain and Russia. The crews waited for 12 minutes for the results - and it was Silver to Great Britain. Watching the television pictures brought delight to all those who know Katherine and Gillian as they danced on the podium before receiving their well deserved medals - a rich reward for the past four years dedication to the Olympic dream, which has seen their careers put on hold and many, many hours of hard work put into training - and more training.

It was a great day for Marlow Rowing Club and a day to remember for all those who watched these historic races.

Marlow was also represented in Sydney by Lisa Eyre and Alex Beever in the womens' eight, which had performed heroics to qualify for the Olympic regatta and then raced with great courage but just missed a place in the final. Cath Bishop also took part in the womens' pair-oared event, but the former World Cup winning crew just could not find their form and did not reach the heights they had hoped.

Marlow Rowing club is always looking to build on its success and welcomes new members. There are currently squads for men, women and juniors at the club, from beginners to experienced athletes. Either come down at weekends or contact the captain Charlotte Hill on 01628 482366.

Sean Farrelly

21 August 2000


Two weeks ago Marlow Rowing Club picked up 10 wins at Maidenhead Regatta: in Senior 1 eights, Senior 3 coxed fours, Women's Senior 1 coxed fours, Junior 14 coxed quads, Senior 1 coxless pairs, Senior 2 single sculls (Ben Tipney), Junior 15 single sculls (Dan Tipney), Junior 14 single sculls (Dan Tipney) and Veteran D single sculls (Peter Wolton).
At Maidenhead the club also picked up the prize for the most successful club at the regatta.

Marlow Rowing Club travelled to Oxford City Royal Regatta for its last event of the season, once again coming back with 10 wins and the honour of being the most successful club at the regatta again.
Marlow wins came in three eights, three double sculls, one pair, and three single sculls.
The Senior 1 and Senior 2 eights wins were against the local club, City of Oxford, where the Marlow crew won both events by 2 lengths.
The Senior 3 eight also won by 2 lengths. The crew was a composite with Windsorian Boat Club, and was made up mostly of some of the Juniors from the club. The crew was Karl Craig, Ben Smyth, Andy Rollo, Harry Rolfe, Adam Hunter, Ben Tipney, James Wright, Andy Barron and coxed by Claire Sherfield.
In the double sculling events, the Novice double of James Bryne and Nick Hoare won by 1 length, Junior 14 double of Harry Swordy and Adam Richards by 3 lengths over another Marlow crew of James Keeble and Liam Bowden, and the last double was a Women's Junior 16 crew of Rebecca Skinner and Helen Brewer, who won by over 5 lengths.
The pair win came in Senior 1 coxless pairs. The crew was made up of Richard Aplin and James Fraser, and they won by over 5 lengths.
In the single sculls, the Tipney brothers carried on their winning ways. Following his win in the Senior 3 eight, Ben won Senior 2 single sculls by 1 length and his brother Dan, racing at an age group above himself, won Junior 15 single sculls.
The other single win was Julie McCulloch in Women's Senior 3 sculls by a good 2 lengths.

Russell Peacock

22 July 2000


Emma Stallwood and Kristal Osborn had to relinquish their title at the national Rowing Championships at Nottingham this weekend, but not without a fight. Marlow's top club combination had to settle for Silver in the Women's Lightweight Pairs event after one of the closest races of this year's championship.
Racing took place in near perfect conditions with a cross/tail wind propelling the crews up the 2,000m course at the National Water Sports Centre, Holme Pierrepont. The Marlow pair knew they were in for a tough final against old rivals from Avon County and the current Women's Henley champions Rooks and McPherson of Tideway Scullers RC. In the final, Stallwood and Osborn took off the start and pushed out with the Scullers combination to lead the field through the first 500m. By the 1,000m mark the Marlow pair had inched out a slight lead, urged on by supporters on the bank. The Avon pair had by now dropped out of the pace of the leading pairs, but Rooks called for a push in the Scullers boat and they came back through Marlow over the next 500m. With 300m to go Marlow raised the pace again, drawing on all their reserves of determination - they pulled through the Scullers crew to take a half-length lead. However Rooks and McPherson were not to be denied, and again they fought back with the boats side by side pushing for the line. On the line Scullers were given the verdict by 4 hundredths of a second. A superb race, a credit to both crews and a fine advert for women's rowing at its very best.
In the junior men's races, Marlow came home with three Bronze medals. Two medals went to James Wright, the first in the Junior Single Sculls. James came back from 5th at half way to show typical determination in pulling back his opponents one by one, finally going through the local athlete form Holme Pierrepont on the line to get the Bronze by less than a second. In the Junior Double Sculls, Wright paired up with T Hudson to take the Bronze medal in a tough field in which less than four seconds separated the first 5 crews home.
James has been asked to represent England in the Home International Regatta, to be held in Belgium this weekend. James, who hopes to go to Cambridge next year, has had a superb season adding his two Bronze medals to Gold won at the National Schools Regatta last month.
Danial Tipney also won Bronze in the Junior 14 Single Sculls, an excellent effort from a young sculler just starting out on his career as an athlete. One to watch for the future. . . .
On the senior women's side there were good performances from lightweight sculler Julie McCulloch, who made the semifinals of her event in her first season in a single scull. The women's senior four, the current Women's Henley champions, contested the finals of both the coxed and coxless events but didn't have one of their better weekends against good quality national Junior and U23 crews.
However, Caroline Hodgson, Helen Selden, Caroline Hillaby, Jo Chesney, cox Elaine Caldwell along with coach Garry Phillips have been selected to represent England in the Home Countries Regatta in Ghent, Belgium this weekend. For Chesney and Hodgson this is the second time they have represented England, for Hillaby and Seldon it will be a new experience and one they can only have dreamed of when they came to Marlow in October last year. Both athletes have developed enormously and have fitted well into the top flight women's programme at Marlow. The women's squad has also benefited from the support of Platts of Marlow, whose sponsorship has enabled the crew to race in a new top class boat this season.
The men's senior representatives, Neil McCulloch and Ian Pressling, raced well in the Lightweight Pairs event. They lay second at half way and battled all the way to the line before finishing fourth, just a length off the medals. Mark Ruinet, also in his first year as a serious single sculler, had a good regatta. Mark made the semi finals of his event; he was competitive throughout and is a real prospect. He can look forward to getting faster next season and challenging for top honours.

Meanwhile the men's club squad was at Molesey Regatta in London. An excellent performance by the Men's Senior 3 eight saw them trouncing crews from Nat West Bank and a composite crew from Cambridge to take home coveted Gold medals. Excellent coxing from Tamsin Knill and stroking from Nathan Kidley set the crew up for a couple of comfortable wins. For Bret King, John Tetley and Harvey Craig this was their novice win. The men's squad races next at Henley Town & Visitors Regatta in two weeks time.

There was also excellent news for three Marlow athletes at the Olympic qualifying regatta in Lucerne last week. In the Women's Eights, Great Britain, stroked by Marlow RC athlete Lisa Eyre and containing former Marlow RC members Alex Beever and Rowen Carroll, came through to take Germany on the line and secure an invitation to this year's Olympics in Sydney. It has been a long road for the athletes who failed to get automatic Olympic selection last year. Under the coaching of Miles Forbes-Thomas, the crew have gradually picked up speed through the season. For Beever and Eyre, world champions in 1997 in the coxless fours, their dream of racing in Sydney has come true. Likewise for former Wycombe Abby pupil Carroll. These three join Cath Bishop and Gillian Lindsay as Marlow representatives in Sydney.

Sean Farrelly

3 July 2000


Andy Barron became the first male Marlow athlete since Steve Redgrave in 1987 to win a Henley title under Marlow RC colours. He won the Fawley Cup for Junior Quad sculls in a Marlow, Leander, Llandaff composite crew. Andy, with doubles partner Dave Currie from Llandaff, teamed up with the Leander athletes Russ Hunter and Colin Smith to form a formidable crew.
The first two rounds were a procession for the composite crew, with wins against Tiffin B and Reading RC by 3½ and 4 lengths respectively.
They had a tough semi-final against Windsor Boys School, with the Marlow/Leander composite always in front to win by just 3ft. Marlow/Leander dominated the final against Tiffin School to win by 3½ lengths.
This was a cracking end to Andy's junior career - in which he has excelled. Last year, with Currie, he took Silver at the National Championships in the Lightweight Double Sculls and also won Gold and Silver medals at the Coupe de La Jeunesse, representing Great Britain at international level.
This year with A levels has been a quiet one for Andy, although the Henley win was a great way to sign off. Though other Marlow men's crews lost out on the first day of the event, the club can be pleased that all 17 members of the men's senior squad qualified for Henley this year.
In the Thames cup for eights and the Wyfold fours, seeded opposition proved too strong for Marlow crews, who might have progressed further had the draw been kinder.
The scullers also performed well in the single and double sculls. In the Diamond Sculls, Mark Ruinet had a superb race against Greenaway of Kingston RC. Leading to half way, Ruinet never gave up, but lost out by just over a length in one of the best sculling races of the day. Mark will be greatly encouraged by his performance in only his first season in a sculling boat.

Sean Farrelly

26 June 2000


All of Marlow's athletes in the senior men's squad have qualified for this year's Henley Royal Regatta.
At the qualifying races on Friday, Marlow's top single sculler Mark Ruinet qualified for the Diamond Sculls on his first attempt. This was a superb achievement for an athlete in his first year as a sculler. Coach Paul Franklin was delighted to see Mark go through to the main regatta as one of the fastest qualifiers; his first race will be against C P Greenaway. Marlow's double scullers Miles Sharpe and Paul Thomas also produced a strong performance to qualify for their event, in which they will race Gardner and Webb.
These athletes join the Eight of cox, Fay Beanland, stroke Nathan Kidley, Dave Rose, Paul Hide, Bret King, John Tetley, Garath Downing, James Cotter and bow, Nick Hoare, who have drawn seeded opposition at Henley in the shape of the traditionally strong Garda Siochana from Ireland. The men's coxless four of stroke Blaine Castle, Mike Jennings, Neil McCulloch and Ian Pressling, bow have also draw one of the top seeds in the shape of Queen's Tower RC.
In the Fawley Cup event for Junior Quad Sculls, Marlow has representatives in three crews, two of which are seeded. Andy Barron is in the top seeded crew from Leander/Llandaff/Marlow whose first race is against Wycliffe School. Marlow/Bath University are also seeded, and three Marlow athletes Chris Mannerings, Karl Craig and James Wright, join Ed Baker of Bath in a strong lineup. Marlow also makes up half of a Marlow/Borlase School/Leander composite. Karl Offord and Ben Tipney are racing with Thomas of Borlase and Cairns of Leander against local rivals Windsor Boys school in the first round.
Some great racing is expected, and though progress for the Marlow crews will be difficult, Captain Paul Cox is delighted to have so many athletes representing the club, over half of whom are in their first year in the sport.
At Reading regatta at the weekend, Julie McCulloch followed up last week's win in the Club Coxed Fours at Women's Henley with her debut win in a single scull. Julie won through three rounds in the Novice Single Sculls before winning the final by a comfortable 3 lengths.

Sean Farrelly

20 June 2000


00_whr_pic1Marlow Rowing Club won the Women's Coxed Fours and the Women's pairs events at Henley Women's Regatta on Sunday.
This was Marlow's second win in the Coxed Fours, having first won 4 years ago and losing in the final 2 years ago.
Caroline Hodgson was the only member of the current crew surviving from the winning boat of 4 years ago. This year she was at stroke, and it was her experience and driving rhythm which helped to power the crew to victory at the weekend.
The early rounds on Saturday illustrated Marlow's dominance over the majority of the field, which contained the best of Britain's domestic athletes. Marlow cruised to easy verdicts over Durham and Bedford RC in successive rounds. On the Sunday, things hotted up, with the semi-finals against an apparently strong Wallingford crew. Marlow tore off the start 00_whr_pic2and by the end of the island led Wallingford by a length. At the half way point, passing the enclosures, Marlow were 2 lengths up and dropped their rating to conserve energy for the final, finishing 4½ lengths ahead of a dispirited Wallingford. In the other half of the draw, Marlow's main rivals Thames RC, were also progressing with confidence. Thames had targeted the Women's Coxed Fours as their top event this year and had packed the four with their best athletes. Marlow had lost to Thames at the Docklands Regatta several weeks previously, but had since changed their line up, with Caroline Hodgson moving to stroke and Julie McCulloch coming into the bow seat.
On Sunday, Thames had posted the faster semi-final time and went into the final as favourites. Marlow's coaches Phil Tinsley and Garry Phillips sat their crew down and told them to forget past results and to concentrate on their own race plan for the final.
00_whr_pic3In glorious sunshine, but into a tricky cross/head wind, the crews lined up for the biggest race of their season. Again Marlow tore off the start; Hodgson wound the rate up to 46 and settled to 37 coming off the top of the island - Marlow up by half an length. Helen Selden, Caroline Hillaby and Julie McCulloch really kicked in the power and, over the middle 1,000 meters of the race, Marlow stretched out a 1 length lead. Still driving along at 36, cox Elaine Caldwell was doing her usual superb job encouraging her crew and pushing them to their limits, as Thames never gave up and began to push back in the last 500 meters. With rival supporters cheering on the crews from the bank, Marlow held firm and pushed on for the line to win by 2/3 of a length in 5 min 37 seconds. It was one of the best races of the regatta and a fantastic advert for women's rowing at its best.
A delighted Marlow crew celebrated by cooling off in the river after the race. For Hillaby and Selden this has been their first season at Marlow and both athletes have worked hard throughout the Winter and Spring and deserve the success that has come this year. Their success illustrates Marlow's policy of welcoming new talent to the club and giving them the chance to excel. McCulloch has been racing in a lightweight single scull for most of the season and, for her, a seat in the four as been a real bonus especially as she lost in the final to Thames 2 years ago. 'A fantastic result', declared Club captain Paul Cox.
In the Women's Elite Pairs event, Marlow were represented by the current Great Britain pairing of Cath Bishop and her partner Dot Blackie of Thames. For them Henley presented a rare opportunity to race on home turf and to give them a little sharpener before their next World Cup event on the road to the Olympics.
They were never in trouble in the final against the current Great Britain U23 crew and drew away along the course.
In other events, Marlow was represented by Charlotte Hill, who won the Club Eights event with Queen's Tower BC, and Victoria Richmond, who stroked the Nottingham Universities crew. The latter unfortunately lost the final of Lightweight Coxless Fours to Avon County.

It was a fantastic weekend for Marlow - wonderful weather, great racing and great results for the club. The Marlow women's squad now begins preparations for the National Championships in four weeks time in Nottingham.

Sean Farrelly

20 June 2000


00_men_8No wins for Marlow at Marlow Regatta this year, but some good performances which will set the club up nicely for Henley Royal beginning next week.
Marlow have a new, young men's development eight this year, which under the coaching of Mike Landers, Charlotte Hill and Paul Cox, have come on well in the past few weeks. In the first round at Marlow they used their power off the start to get clear of Colby College USA and held in well for a 1 length win. Stroke Nathan Kidley is ably backed up this year by Dave Rose, Paul Hide, Brett King, Dave Tetley, Garath Downing, Jim Cotter and bow Nick Hoare. They lost in the final of the Senior 2 Eights to Eton School, one of the best school crews in the country.
In the Elite Coxless Fours, the Marlow crew led a strong Queen's Tower BC line up off the start and held that lead right through to the last bend before the Queen's Tower lads squeezed through on the inside.
Mark Ruinet had a good day making the final of Senior One Sculls, losing a very close final to Smith of Leander Club. Marlow's double scull also made the final of its event and is improving with each race.
On the Sunday the club heard that the Eight and the Four have both prequalified for Henley Royal Regatta. For most of the lads in the eight this is a superb achievement. Nick Hoare just missed out last year and for Downing, King, Tetley and Kidley this will be their first Henley.
On Friday the Junior Quads, the Men's Single Scull, Double Scull and Pair will be bidding to join them in the qualifying events.

Sean Farrelly

5 June 2000


Marlow Rowing Club's senior athletes had a busy weekend on 3rd and 4th June, beginning at Peterborough Regatta on Saturday and moving onto London Docklands on Sunday.00_docks_women_4
On Saturday, the Marlow squad raced over 1,000m on the Peterborough purpose-built rowing lake, which allows for four lane side-by-side racing. In glorious sunshine, and with a slight tail wind, the racing conditions were as near to perfect as you could ask for. Marlow athlete Mark Ruinet looked strong and controlled, winning the Senior 3 Men's Single Sculls. He won a good final, pulling away from the chasing pack to win by a clear length. In the Men's Double Sculls a new combination of Paul Thomas and Miles Sharpe just lost out in a close final. Similarly it was a day of 'so close yet so far' for the men's senior rowers. Blaine Castle, Mike Jennings, Neil McCulloch and Ian Pressling qualified well for the Elite 4- final, beating Nat West Bank and Auriol Kensington. In the final an experienced Lea RC crew took a 1 length lead off the start, Marlow held second with Auriol Kensington and Vesta's top crews holding third and fourth places. In the run for the line Marlow, pushed up the rating in an effort to haul in Lea; unfortunately the line came too soon and Marlow had to settle for the runner-up spot by less than a second. In the Elite Men's pairs, Jennings and Castle and McCulloch and Pressling both raced well to reach the final, beating a good quality pair from the Lea and Cambridge 99 RC, amongst others. In the final, a fast starting Ancholme RC pair jumped clear and again the two chasing Marlow crews could not catch them over the course, finishing virtually together in second and third place.
Marlow's top women's crew rejigged their line up after losing injured stroke Jo Chesney. Marlow comfortably dominated the Elite Women's Coxless Fours. Stroke Caroline Hodgson was backed up superbly by Caroline Hillaby, Helen Selden and lightweight sculler Julie McCulloch, substituting at Bow. Caroline cracked the crew along the course at 37/38 strokes to the minute and demolished the field by 25 seconds.

00_docks_markIn London's Docklands on Sunday, the racing conditions on the 2,000m course could not have been more different. A stiff head wind kicked up the water in the Royal Albert Dock, making racing conditions very tough.
In the men's Senior 2 Sculls, Mark Ruinet built on his previous day's success, moved up a status and gritted out the terrible water to make the final, when Chatwin of Quintin BC beat him to the line. Mark came from last at 500 meters to show his strength and determination and gradually picked off the field, in terrible water, to earn a well-deserved Silver medal. The Men's Elite Lightweight pair of McCulloch and Pressling took on a quality Heavyweight field and came fourth, just missing out on a medal by a length, but beating the Scottish Heavyweight pair from Castle Semple RC.
One of the best men's performances of the day came from the new Men's S3 Eight. Largely made up of novice oarsmen, they looked strong, getting a well-deserved Silver medal behind the students of Oxford Brooke's University. They saw off the development crews from Vesta and Auriol Kensington early on, to chase the students home in 7 min 24 seconds.00_docks_women_4_2
Again the Women's Elite coxless four did well in taking a Bronze medal behind Avon County. Avon opened up a big lead at 500m, only to be reeled in by Marlow over the course. The 2 second gap in Avon's favour was considerably closer then when the crews last met. Out in front the Great Britain U23 four from the University of London was in a different class on the day.
The top performance of the day came from the Women's Elite lightweight pair of Kristal Osborn and Emma Stallwood. They are the current national champions and put old rivals Avon County in their place for the second time this season. Avon led off the start by nearly 2 lengths and then could do nothing as the Marlow pair pushed on in the middle thousand of the race and came storming through to take the lead. Once in front the Marlow pair was not to be denied the title and went clear to win by 2 lengths. It was a great piece of racing from two dedicated and extremely talented athletes and sets the Marlow duo up well for Women's Henley Regatta, which takes place on the 17th and 18th of June.

Sean Farrelly