Solid start to the regatta season

Milton Keynes Rowing Club got the regatta season off to a strong start at Nottingham this weekend, with twelve MK crews competing across both days.

Friday, 20th May 2016, 6:00 am
Jenny Searle and Helen Marshall collecting their gold medals from the Women's Masters B Double. (Pic: Robert Heywood)

The racing kicked off on Saturday at the Nottingham City Regatta, a competition attracting the best crews in the country as they prepare for Henley later in the summer.

Two promising crews from Milton Keynes stepped up to the challenge of this competition, taking on the tough 2k course. First up was the men’s IM3 4+ crew, consisting of Chris Wilson, Shaun Turner, James Hughesman, Nick Hughes and their cox Karen Wilson. With the crew newly formed but hoping to make waves later this summer the race was a great way of gaining experience, crossing the line in a respectable time of 7:44.15 and coming 5th in a competitive heat. The ladies 8+ was soon to follow, with Heidi Towse, Louise Rivett, Karen Wilson, Jayne Skeith, Kelly Alexander, Cath Keeling, Helen Smith, Clare Lawson and their cox Charlotte Watts confidently battling younger crews to finish 6th in their heat.

A shorter 1km course on Sunday at the Nottingham Masters and Club Regatta attracted even more MK rowers, and saw some impressive results for the club. The experienced pair of Rod Bennet and Steve Lawson threw down the gauntlet early on, coming second in the Masters E pairs category and missing out on gold by just a second. Only 36 minutes later ‘super’ Steve Lawson was back in action in the Masters E Double’s final with Robert Heywood, rowing well to finish in 6th place.

The Women's Masters 8 finishing 2nd (Pic: Robert Heywood)

Jenny Searle and Helen Marshall provided the highlight of the day, beating strong competition to win the Women’s Masters B Double final. This follows on from another impressive with earlier in the month at the Marlow Town Regatta, with high hopes for this dynamic duo to continue to dominate Women’s Masters Doubles throughout the season.

The other Women’s Masters crews to follow also did MK Rowing Club proud, with the Women’s Masters C 4+ crew of Helen Smith, Jayne Skeith, Kelly Alexander, Cath Keeling and their cox Charlotte Watts coming 6th; the Women’s Masters D crew of Heidi Towse, Louise Rivett, Karen Wilson and cox Jenny Searle achieving 2nd place; and the Women’s Masters 8+ looking strong to finish 2nd, close behind York. The final Women’s crew to race was the IM3 4+ of Helen Smith, Katharine Billingham, Sarah Minns, Sally Njomo and their cox Cath Keeling. A fresh crew, with Sally and Sarah both racing at a regatta for the first time, they performed well to cross the line in 2nd place.

In a mixed crew were Cherry Kemp and Rod Bennett, giving an outstanding performance in Cherry’s first regatta to come 2nd in the Mixed Master’s C Doubles.

The MK men rounded off the day with Chris Wilson, Nick Hughes, Leslie Goodship, David Bottomley and cox Charlotte Watts coming together to bag 3rd in the Masters A 4+ final. Again with Charlotte at the reigns the IM3 4+, Chris Wilson, Shaun Turner, Leslie Goodship and Nick Hughes repeated their success in another 3rd place finish.

Cherry Kemp and Rod Bennett racing to the finish in a mixed double (Pic: Robery Heywood)

Speaking about the weekend, club captain Chris Wilson said, “With plenty of regattas coming up over the summer months the crews will be putting into practice what they learnt in this early fixture to improve on performances.

“There were a lot of promising crews and some great rowing, and I’m certain we’ll be bagging ourselves even more medals in races to come.”

The Women's Masters 8 finishing 2nd (Pic: Robert Heywood)
Cherry Kemp and Rod Bennett racing to the finish in a mixed double (Pic: Robery Heywood)