MK Dragons make waves at Henley

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The Christmas festivities started early for MK Dragon boat team Secklow Hundred in a competition at Henley on Thames on Sunday.

It was the second in the series of four races run by the Henley Dragons club over a distance of 7km.

The crews arrived ready for racing in their best Christmas hats. The winners of the hat competition was the Pink Champagne team from near Bournemouth who are a group of breast cancer survivors.

Boosted by several guest paddlers from across the UK and even the USA, the squad from MK was 17 strong, three short of a full crew.

After a hectic start they were finally on the water and paddling up to the start.

MK set off sixth in the line up with a 30 second staggered start between all the crews, starting from the Eyot Centre racing down to Temple Island and back up to the start.

Setting off with a crew from Exeter called Exe-Calibre, the race was well and truly on.

MK hunted them down but couldn’t quite catch them up, as was the case with Henley Dragons trying to catch them.

And with a sudden paddle breaking after 10 minutes and no spare available, MK were cut down to 16 paddlers.

Heading on towards the bridge, MK made good ground but the Exe-Calibre crew did everything possible to hang on and stay in front.

Secklow Hundred paddler Jill Richardson said: “I made continuous calls for more. I felt a lift every time but they still wouldn’t let go. On the way back towards the weir we managed to finally break them and pass Pink Champagne in the process.”

The city crew eventually had to settle for 7th place.