Lea Spring - Regatta Report

Maidstone veterans followed up their total success at their Spring Head in March, with a total fail at Lea Spring!  Though despite the whitewash, there were glimpses of some real good news for the future.

As a club, we were not well represented, with the juniors off at the inter-regionals in Nottingham and the seniors, opting to avoid picking up unnecessary points so early in the season... hmm...  The Vets, too, were short handed, resulting in largely scratch crews being fielded.

I don't like the river Lea.  It is, without doubt, the most putrid course on the circuit: where even the fish have given up the will to live as evidenced by the large number of dead ones floating along with the other dubious detritus that can be found in this waterway of North-East London. You don't want to fall in here.

Seemingly oblivious to this, James was first up in the Vet B 1x.  He was against a Belgian man-monster in Lea colours, who was to take his first of 3 Maidstone scalps.  James, plucky as ever, gave his best shot, and while he was well beaten, it wasn't an Easy win.  Anyway - it didn't really count as James was in his Old Monmouthian colours ;).

Next up were the Vet C 4+.  In the morning, Gerraint had called in sick, so a hung-over Abraham was drafted in at the last moment.  We were up against... yes you've guessed it, the Belgian man-monster and 3 similarly built man-monsters, who could have been his brothers, rowing Vet B.  Ollie echoed our thoughts with a: "gosh, they're big", while Abraham echoed our other thoughts with a: "and so very young...", and Huggins finished off our pre-start demoralisation with a: "and so very together", as they neatly took up station at the start.

The start marshall gleefully told us that he had calculated our head start to be all of 4 seconds, and were we happy with that?  err - NO.  Still we had a good start, rapidly stabilising at 36.  The men-monsters had a better start, and got to a length down ominously quickly.

But, their stride, while neat, was very pedestrian - at a guess, rating 33, and we held them at 1 length for 450 meters.  Liz, unable to hide the shock shouted: "YOU CAN DO THIS!"  And we all thought we could, but the Lea had a finish up their sleeves, and we were, frankly, knackered.  They cruised through and beat us by 1/3 length.  We comforted ourselves later when we found out they were a training IM2 crew.  No dishonour there.

"YOU CAN DO THIS".  VET C v The Lea Men Monsters (pic courtesy Alan Rickwood)

So, there was much interest in the final when the men-monsters came across our very scratch, very uneven, Vet B 4+ where Mr Chairman sat in between our very own men monsters of Ridgeway and Tompkins.  A very odd sight.  Our boys went down a length immediately to the fast Lea start, not helped by some poor early bladework of our own.   However, the slow Lea middle game came to light again, and our heroes clawed back a half length, before succumbing to the fast Lea finish, which undid all their good work.  Another gutsy performance.

The race of the day for Maidstone, though, was still to come.  The Vet E 4+, who have been doing a lot of secret, hardcore training, under the watchful if menacing presence of Chris Long, held a straight final against another Lea outfit.  They blasted down the course, out-rating the Lea, but doing so a bit less tidily. It was neck and neck all the way.  As the crews closed on the finish, a Lea marshall, said if they won, it would be a great scalp: the Lea crew had won at the FISA Masters International Regatta, and were a force to be reckoned with... "but the race is not over yet".  Which was portentious as the Lea put in a surge at the finish and won by a canvas.  Another plucky failure.  I predict great things for this crew this year.

Finally, our Vet Novice 4+ in quite a experimental configuration with big Bill at stroke.  They are a powerful crew, but they are not quite ready, technically, and so lost to a neat Sudbury Vet Novice crew in the final.  The Novice Vet squad has fantastic potential for the future though - watch this space.

So, as we headed away from London, pondering the failings of fielding scratch crews, and not practicing sprint finishes, heads were not particularly down, and we are sure in the knowledge that later in the season, the Vets will do their part for the club.

I reminded myself, once again, as I recoiled from the bloated, half eaten, floating carcass of a Cocker Spaniel, never, ever, to go single sculling on the River Lea.

Upcoming Regattas

Lea Spring is on Sunday 25th April.  Check the link for the draw which should be out soon.


Boat Loading: Saturday 24th c11.30.

Unfortunately, Danson Dashes (which was going to be on the 9th May) has been called off, I understand this is due to the costs of hiring sufficient Marshalls and Toilets to keep the council happy.  Sad.

James, is rallying the troops for his annual pilgrimage to Monmouth on Spring Bank Holiday weekend (28th and 29th May).  At least you get Bank Holiday Monday to recover.  Lovely, wide stretch of river for you dodgy steersmen and women.  Why, oh why, they have a 1,500 metre race on hung-over Sunday is beyond me: but it's a beautiful venue nonetheless.

 Not seen a poster for the event yet - watch this space.


Vet B 2x
Vet C 2x
Vet D 2x
Vet C 4+ (Probable)
2x Vet NOV 4+
Vet Nov 8+ (Possible)

Seniors?  Juniors?

Spring Head Pics

Just a couple of pics to get the hang of posting pictures on the site.

Old Vet B F**ts

Old Vet D F**t

Can't Blog?

Loads of comments from folks who say they can't blog, even when they set up a Google Mail Account.

Just figured out that I need to set you up as an Author as well.  So if you want to blog, please let me know by sending me an email.

I will speculatively send a bunch of the mouthy ones in the club invites to get you going.  You know who you are!

Also, I don't have emails of any mouthy Juniors and a few Seniors so please write me for an invite.

Finally, I've opened up comments to anybody who visits.


Coaching Structure

Oh, very well then, I suppose I will have to kick it off.

Here is something I did earlier.
MIRC Structure


So, while the main websites seem to have fallen into a state of disrepair, we need a club wide internet "thing".  Not sure what that "thing" is, and I certainly don't have the time to build a website, but this is nice and easy.

We've got a bunch of yahoo noticeboards, which are going strong, but they are not very visual, and are targeted at different bits of the club, so this is for all, and it would be great to have lots of pics and videos.

Of course I nicked the idea... look at what the Minerva did when their website ran out of steam...

Minerva Blog

Anyway - go ahead and blog!

ps - if you want to Blog something, you need to set up a Google mail account, and let me know, so I can add you as an author.