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Molesey Veterans Head - 2012

The big freeze in the early part of 2012 continues, and on a morning when ice on the Medway stopped rowing at Maidstone, we were advised that the ice on the Thames had been cleared by river traffic and the Molesey Veterans Head would go ahead.

After a really enjoyable and successful event last year, we vowed to return, and were once again warmly greeted by our hosts.  It is almost the perfect Veteran Head – 3k downstream (so not too far); plenty of beer and cakes in the wonderful Molesey Clubhouse; and also plenty of old friends to catch up with: including Lawrence (ex MIRC now Tideway Scullers), Simon de Maria (rowing in his Putney colours) and of course the Bewl Sunday crew.

MIRC Veterans only took one crew this year, with the Vet F crew still in its infancy and the Novices not wanting to waste any valuable training time to actually compete ;).

The Vet D’s came 4th out of 9 last year in a tough field, beaten by Crabtree (of course), Weybridge and Tideway Scullers.  This time they were in a field of 7, but this time, none of the above boats were in their category.  “Maybe, just maybe…,” thought their captain on the way to the Thames.

We kicked off hard, and kept there, settling in at 32, with Molesey (who we beat by just 4 seconds last year) hard on our heels.  They were outrating us – possibly 33 or 34, were a big crew, but not too tidy.  It looked very close at the end, and we thought they had caught us during our traditional end race fade.  The other boats in our category had disappeared out of sight, and we knew it was just us two in it.

And so it was, we won by just 5 seconds, and came 4th overall in the field.  A really great result, 2 wins out of 2 for the year, and early achievement of our objective of being top quartile in the country – the ultimate test of which of course, will be the Vets Head of the River in March.  

The Boyz from the Bewl

Bewl Water is at it's lowest in living memory, so somewhat reluctantly, some of the Veterans at Bewl Bridge Rowing Club have had to had to suck it up and come cap in hand to the MIRC for their rowing pleasures (well, until the Bewl fills up again).

We have welcomed them with open arms, as they present an injection of value-for-money veteran rowers, most of whom can row on both sides AND scull.  Rare skills indeed!

Paul Kane, who's training regime is that of a man half his age, is helping to resolve the Vet D 8+s shortage of natural stroke side rowers. 

Mike Maunsell (who's children are in the juniors) prefers to single scull, but is a more than useful utility man for the Eight.

Ray Philips and Keith Jones bring with them a rare age/performance capability.  Along with Dave and Vin (last names tbd), this has stimulated the re-ignition of a Vet E/F Squad.

John Clayton has starting using the Boyz from the Bewl to form the cadre of a Vet F 8+.  That's a minimum average age of 60, folks!  In doing so, he coerced Mark "loved up" Deissner out of retirement. and supplemented the crew with Bert and Greg (on loan from the D Squad), and Tony "You'll never see me rowing sweep again" Marshall along with Alan "Bowman" Leeson. 

Completing the squad are Tom Fuller, Alan Rickwood, Dave Usher (perhaps) and even Pete Kingsley vowed to this reporter his intention to "get fit again... well, get fitter".

Watch this space.

Thames Valley Trial Head - 2012

They told me that Dorney Lake can be like the arctic; and so it was, as a small but determined contingent went to do battle with some keen opposition from the Thames Valley region and beyond.

The Trials are named so because they have an unusual dispensation from British Rowing, which allow coaches to put in 2 or 3 crews in the same category using the same rowers.  This allows for a bit of seat racing, and testing out different combinations.

So, first up were the two MIRC Vet D crews in both Open and IM3 configurations.  The difference between them were that Huggy and Robin in the Open boat were swapped out for Greg and Bert in theIM3 boat.  A case of grace versus power ;).  Their opposition were a useful looking Vet E crew from Abingdon, and one from Southampton Coalporters. 

It was a tough 1.9k blast, but something that the MIRC crews had been practicing for a few weeks and well within their capability.  What we did not expect was the final timings after handicap:

MIRC Vet D Open - 6.26
MIRC Vet D IM3 - 6.27
Abingdon Vet E - 6.27

Very close: a shot across the bows for the cosy boys in the Open Boat, and a first WIN of the year for MIRC!

Next up were our very own Mollison and Nichols in the Senior 2-, who went on to dominate a very large field and WIN comfortably. 

Finally, Lewin tried his luck in the IM1 1x, and in typical style, blasted his way down the course to finish 2nd in another large category.

2 Wins and 2 seconds out of 3 races, a great start to the year.

Photos will be posted next week.