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HRC Masters Hammer Hammersmith Regatta!

It was a great day at the office for Henley Rowing Club coaches Holly Nixon and Jess Leyden, when their selected squads returned with 3 wins from 3 finals! HRC masters’ scullers returned to Henley in a triumphant mood!

On a blustery, cold and grey Saturday morning, for many their first time on the Thames Tideway in London, rowers and coaches set out for Barn Elms Boat Club at 6.30am and rigged their boats – with extremely cold fingers - for the Hammersmith Amateur Regatta 1km races. The morning races were downstream to Hammersmith Bridge with an ebb tide; in the afternoon the tide turned and the races were upstream to the same finish line at Auriol Kensington Rowing Clubs boathouse.

An experienced HRC’s master’s quad, Mark Gray, Alex Scott, Dave Carr with Shaun Paice in bow, were paired against a scratch quad of Roger Staats, Nick Fox, Dmitri Novikov & Chris Leppard in bow in the first master’s final of the morning. On a very bouncy stretch of water, needless to say, experience won the day and Shaun’s crew raced their way to a glorious victory. However - no losers here – the scratch team, two of whom had never raced a regatta before, saw this as a wonderful learning experience and took lessons learned and great memories (but no trophies!) back to Henley.

Later on in the morning, it was time for the ladies doubles. In this case, HRC pair Miriam O’Leary & Elizabeth Thomazeu had to battle their Fulham Reach rivals to claim a place in the final. They cruised it – beautifully rowed, and with little time to recover, rowed back to repeat the race in the final against the other HRC pair, Jo Paice & Laura Johnson. This was a great final! It was neck and neck to the finish with Jo & Laura winning the day by only 1.5 lengths. Both the winners and runners up crews celebrated their final together at the Blue Anchor with a bottle of bubbles!

And then the afternoon – the men's doubles final between Matt Peachey & Roger Staats and a crew from Fulham Reach. Being older (and wiser?) than their counterparts – Matt & Roger started with a 6 second advantage – who says age doesn’t count! – and pulled away strongly on the turned tide, clocking impressive splits around 1.40/500m and leaving their opponents way behind. Cheered on by a vocal group of HRC supporters, they passed the finish line and anointed their glistening winner’s tankards with a pint at the Blue Anchor!

Boats back on the trailer – tired and triumphant, the boat trailer cautiously manoeuvred around the packed car park (thanks to Shaun!), the teams drove back to Henley!

A great thanks to all our supporters and especially to our wonderful coaches Holly and Jess!

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