Following the strong disappointment of our two previous races being cancelled due to poor weather, the Novice women’s first and second eight finally underwent their highly anticipated first race at Worcester Head last Saturday. It was a day of standard British winter weather – no sign of sun, yet a lovely, cloudy, grey sky, with the odd spot of rain and nice gusts of wind to stir up our anticipation.
Having eventually rigged our boat, the Simms, after acquiring free trestles leisurely given up by the guys, and locating our actual riggers, the NW second eight were first up in the morning division. Unfortunately, the crew faced the highly inconvenient technical difficulty of a broken cox box, which left bow four completely out of the loop. Yet despite the struggle, they did not let this falter their confidence, and the second eight raced strong, putting to use our focus drills of 10 power strokes. The crew showed great consistency in rhythm, with an especially impressive performance from stroke, as race was her first experience in the daunting and crucial position.
Luckily during the readjustment of seats, the connection issues with the cox box were all sorted in time for the first eight’s race. However, the afternoon division didn’t have the smoothest of starts, with the Warwick Novice crews causing havoc on the river. For some unknown reason a footplate came off as the men’s first eight began their race, causing the crabs to be caught, and an immediate rough halt of the boat just as they were building up power. The boys boat ended up drifting, practically virtually, down the river into the novice women’s first eight, as well as the next boat behind, who were both paddling up the river to turn and the start their own races. Following this disruption, the NW’s first eight had slight difficulty turning at the top of the river, which resulted in them coming too wide and heading into the side-bank. So second time lucky, the first eight finally got into position and set off strong. The girls did well to regain their focus, and get their heads back in the boat. Despite the anxious start they powered on down the river, displaying a great improvement from their performance on our home river at Barford the previous weekend, and achieving an impressive result which exceeded their expectations.
At a distance of 4.6km, the race was the longest stretch we’d ever sprinted on water, and therefore we all couldn’t help but be proud of our performance. The first race is always bound to be nerve-racking, but it was great to be able attend the event along with not only the novice men, but also with the both the senior teams, especially the senior women, who won both their races and lead as such a good example of what we one-day hope to achieve. I think we’d all agree that Worcester was an overall success, and great learning experience. The race demonstrated to us that we are more than capable to deliver, which has given us great motivation to work hard and progress on, and now we can’t wait for are next race at WEHoRR!