Medway Small Boats Head 22nd February 2009

 On Sunday 22nd February, 103 boats from rowing clubs all over Kent and Sussex took part in the Medway Small Boats Head.  Maidstone Invicta Rowing Club (MIRC) entered 28 boats from the Women’s, Men’s and Junior squad to compete over the 2.5km course, racing from just above Allington and finishing at the end of the town straight in Maidstone.  The race was set out in three divisions with crews competing against the clock.

With a sunny start to the day, the BBQ was set up ready to feed the rowers and their avid supporter’s breakfast in anticipation of the first division starting at 9.30am.  The clouds and winds appeared even more so for divisions two and three which commenced at 11.30 and 1.30, although this did not affect the crews storming down the river into the town.

The event was very successful for MIRC with a number of wins despite the majority of club members also marshalling the banks of the river and running the BBQ and tea stall throughout the day!  The fastest four of the day was awarded to MIRC, the crew formed of Craig Turner, Chris Mollison, Stuart Hampshire and Alex Torbica coxed by Lauren Gilchrist, competing at S2 and had a fantastic row finishing  completing the course in a time of 8.23.  With the buzz of winning in the four, Mollison and Hampshire went on to win fastest double scull of the day.
Another win for MIRC men’s four in the S3 category and was celebrated by crew members Richard Ridgeway, Guy Sticklee, Geraint Evans and Alistair Cooper coxed by Sue Mobbs.  A successful row was also completed by Guy Sticklee, Will Purnell, Geraint Evans and Alistair Cooper coxed by Zoe Chapman.

Members of the women’s 8 head crew were split into smaller boats for the race on Sunday and provide their hard work, both on land and on the water had paid off as the four lilac ladies that competed at senior 4, won their category in a time of 10.03, the crew featured Liz Macham, Kate Povall, Liz Bennett, Jo Sticklee and coxed by Laura McGrillen.  With a slight change of crew members in the third division, Jo Sticklee swapping with Claire Torbica, coxed by Zoe Chapman, they also managed to win the women’s novice four event and completed the course in a time of 10.17.

Another win was for the men’s novice double scull, of Oliver Barton and Geraint Evans the knowledge of the home water enabled them to finish triumphantly in a time of 10.13.

The mixed double scull event had two husband and wife entrants from MIRC, the medals were awarded to Harry and Anne Salmon for successfully winning the category and completing the course in a time of 10.33.
A number of wins by the MIRC junior squad, rewards all their hard work with wins in the J18 pair, fastest junior double scull, fastest J15 quad, women’s J15 quad, women’s J14 quad and women’s J15 double scull so lots of medals to add to the trophy cabinets on Sunday evening.

The event was a very successful day and now brings the running total for MIRC club wins this year to 22 so far.  If you are interested in finding out more about Maidstone Invicta Rowing Club please see our website at 

Laura McGrillen