Seniors News Section - 2009/10
Molesey Regatta

The last opportunity for summer racing for veterans and senior squad members is at the delightful Molesey Regatta. A well run regatta on a charming stretch of the Thames with great hospitality from the local club. Not surprising then that there was a large entry from the club. The early starters soon found out that the competition could be of a varied standard with some very fast crews here for the racing and some not so fast crews here for the hospitality!

The IM2 double of Jon and Martyn came unstuck in the early heats against a fast combination from Twickenham. The high rating, fast start from Twickenham ended up being the difference between the two crews. Later in the day, in the same event Nick and Paul raced against the eventual winners from Molesey. It would be fair to say that Nick, in his first race as a bow-steer, found the course management a challenge as the local boys who clearly know this stretch of river very well strode impressively away.

The IM2 pair of Dave Law and Paul cruised through the opening heat of their event when their opposition misjudged the bend in the river and ended up in the bank. In the Semi-final however they came up against a strong home crew and after a tight race eventually succumbed by one and a half lengths.

Janet was back racing in the novice single like she had never been away. She made her way to the final with some neat and powerful sculling dispatching Vesta scullers in each round. Vesta obviously saved the best till last, Janet was pipped in the final following another good performance. The women's double of Linda and Sarah found the 7 second handicap too much against the eventual event winners from Kingston.

The D Quad of Reg, Bob, Dave A and Dave P were in a four boat event with a young looking Guildford crew first up. While they failed to really hit their stride the crew managed to win, by a little more than the 4 second h'cap they were given, against a C quad. In the final the opposition was again a C quad this time from Eton Excelsior. Ardingly were much more controlled this time out and recorded a win with an easy verdict.

In the D-E double sculls the all Ardingly semi final pitched Dave A and Dave P in the D double against Andy and Dave V in the E double. The 7 second handicap was always going to make this a little one sided. To be blunt, the older boys don't look like they need a start to win races! In the final they raced a Walbrook double with a similar result securing win number 2 for the club. Dave V then stepped back into his single to win his semi and then final of the Vet E-F singles looking very fast in the process.

Jon and Martyn returned to the fray this time in the B-C double. Their opposition from Fort Worth in the USA was unknown, but all day nasty rumours about the size and capability of the American had been doing the rounds. Often rumours by their nature become exaggerated, on this occasion however, it would be fair to say that they were not. Jon and Martyn duly lined up against the large Texan and his partner for the final. After a great race they were eventually edged by two lengths in a very fast time. A similar fate awaited Andy and Reg in the B-D pair. They were given an 11 second start on the handicap system against a very young and strong looking Molesey pair. The Molesey pair managed to overcome the handicap and find another 2.5 lengths. Very impressive!

And so the seniors wrapped up the summer racing season with another 3 wins this time in a single, double and a quad. Our thanks go to the host club Molesey, who did their part by providing some fast competition, a fine sunny day and by filling up the winners pots with beer straight after prize giving.

The next day our juniors arrived, to try Molesey regatta for the first time, which on Sunday is run over a shortened straight course of 500m. Megan and Anna opened up with a solid win against Molesey in WJ13 doubles. In the semi they had a very close race against Staines, with both doubles racing neck and neck up the course. Unfortunately the judges gave it to Staines by a canvas, the second weekend these two girls had lost by a canvas in a semi-final. With three heat wins and two tight losses these two look like they can go places.

Next up were three boys in single sculls, Alex in J14, Patrick in J15 and Tristan in J16. Alex was possibly a bit faster than his opposition, but at one stage hit a buoy very hard and lost too much distance, losing by one and a half lengths. Patrick and Tristan both won their quarter finals and semi finals, beating scullers from Ross, Molesey and Marlow in the process. In the finals they both raced strongly but Tristan missed out by half a length to a sculler from Burway and Patrick by a length and a quarter to a Marlow sculler.

In the final section of the day Sam and Joe, along with Jonty and Patrick raced in J15 doubles, whilst Megan returned to try her skill in the WJ13 singles. Megan was unfortunate to draw a fast sculler from Ross in her heat, who went on to become the eventual winner. Sam and Joe raced well, but were beaten by the Marlow double that had won the previous week at Kingston. In the other semi-final Jonty and Patrick beat Ross by half a length, with a controlled performance. This meant that they faced the fast Marlow double in the final, for a re-match of the Kingston final. The previous week Marlow had beaten them by one and a half lengths, so the boys knew they had to blast it to have any chance. Patrick took off at 42 and stayed at 40 gaining a length in the first 250m, the second half was not as accomplished but they had done enough to fall over the line, one third of a length up. A good result on our last race of the summer.

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Henley Veterans Regatta

The Veterans (or Masters from next year) Regatta is the final event in the rowing calendar to use the classic boomed course at Henley. Rowed over 1000m from the top of the island to Upper Thames boat house it requires high levels of concentration and skill to navigate the course and win the race. This is the second of the target regattas for the veteran's squad and this year the club entered four crews for the event.

The Vet C Double of Pete and Martyn got things underway with the first of the heats at 9:12 on Friday morning (requiring a 5:00am start to get there on time!). Given the high quality of crews at the regatta racing was expected to be close. In the end Ardingly beat an Upper Thames double by 2 feet to set the tone of the racing for the next two days. In the quarter finals the double raced against City of Sheffield, this time the winning margin was half a length. The semi final against a seasoned AK double ended Ardingly's run, they eventually lost by a length and a half to the crew that won the competition.

The Vet C Quad of Dave A, Pete, Martyn and Jon were up against Eton Excelsior in the first quarter final. In the end the race was over in just three strokes when the Eton crew hit the booms off the start. Steering straight is critical at Henley, once your blade is on the wooden boom that runs down the side of the course your race is over. Ardingly rowed on down the course to win the race unopposed. The semi final would not be so easy. With four crews left in the event, all expected to be roughly within a length of each other, racing would now be intense. Ardingly faced the National Champions, Walton in their semi. After slipping a length down in the first minute the gap was pegged by a push from Ardingly. With 200m to go Ardingly started closing but Walton managed to hold off the spirited sprint to win by a rapidly shortening half a length. Walton went on to win the final later in the day

The Vet D Quad of Reg, Dave A, Dave P, and Slavo had a mixed run in to the final. In the quarter final they beat a crew from Hollingworth Lake by 2 lengths and in the semi final they had a "row over" as their opposition was not able to race due to an injury to one of their crew members. So the final would be against the National Champions from Tees, the crew that had beat Ardingly by two lengths just a month ago. This time the crews were much more even off the start and at half way they were level. At the Fawley marker both crews started their push for home, Tees turned out to have just a fraction more power and were able to edge away and claim the race by three quarters of a length. So Ardingly can be pleased that they had closed the gap considerably, but it's never fun to lose a final at Henley, especially when you've come so close.

Finally it was on to the Vet B Quad of Dave L, Jon, Alex and Jo. This crew was made up of three of the members of the Wyfold sweep four and Jon (in order to get into the B age category). With a kind draw putting Ardingly directly into the final their opposition from the semi was a crew from Oporto in Portugal. Ardingly powered away from the first stroke and looked comfortable all the way down the course. In the end they won by 5 lengths to secure a victory for the club and a medal for the boys!

The harsh reality is that the Ardingly crews lost by less than a length to the overall winners in all but one event. This represents real progress for the club, with such a large veteran squad all competing at the highest veteran level in this country. They can now go back to our pretty reservoir, even more determined work to work hard and come back next year with the length of boat speed required to turn close losses into medals. Next stop is Molesey for the last regatta of the year and hopefully some consolation pots.

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Henley Royal Regatta

This is a regatta like no other. The atmosphere, the history, the pomp, and the facilities are excellent. Alex and Jo had both last raced here 16 years earlier in 1994 (Alex in an OUBC development 8 in the Thames and Jo making the final in the schoolboy's quads event). It was a completely new experience for Paul and David.

After a practice outing to work on the opening salvo of the race and Paul's steering on the Berks station, the crew arrived early on a beautiful morning for their 11.15 race, along with some loyal supporters! Making their way to the start it was apparent that there were already a lot of people on the banks.

Both crews got off cleanly, Ardingly reaching 45 on the wind before settling to 39 by the end of the island and calling a stride. Despite having been slightly up off the start, Vesta, on the far bank, started to edge ahead. Both crews worked hard but by the barrier Ardingly had slipped to 1¼ lengths behind. Vesta, now up in this side by side race could relax a little more and it showed, with them moving ahead to no quite 2L at Fawley (halfway). Ardingly kept fighting, but by the grandstands the legs were very tired and they could not manage to mount a charge in the same way that they had in qualifiers. However Vesta were never able to drop their rate, and had to keep working at 33 to maintain their winning margin of 3.5 lengths. It was the crew's best race of the season, produced when it mattered against good opposition on the biggest stage that they could ever achieve given their training, and the crew and coach were more than satisfied despite the loss.After a shower in the famous icy showers of HRR, the crew changed and snagged some Stewards enclosure badges to enjoy a pint in that rarefied atmosphere! The supporters also all had a good day (many thanks for the cheers) and everyone left quite pleased.

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Henley Qualifiers 25th June 2010

With 59 entries for the 32 spaces in the Henley Royal Regatta event for club coxless fours, and 18 crews pre-qualified Ardingly knew that they had to row their very best to be one of the fastest 14 out of 41 crews. After a paddle to allow Paul to steer between the booms, Ardingly led off the qualifying pack, and settled into a strong effective rhythm in excellent conditions. Keeping their concentration on rowing well, they rated 35 until the enclosures when they gradually squeezed the rate up, finishing at 39 for the last few strokes. They came off the water very pleased with the row, but had to wait a long time for the announcement..... Ardingly announced as qualifiers first (as it is done alphabetically). At their third attempt, Ardingly had its first ever crew qualified for Henley.

You can see video footage here - www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjIx_YH7opM

On another clubs unofficial timekeeping, Ardingly were 9th out of the 14 qualifiers, and had recorded a faster time than Putney Town. In addition, crews from Thames, Kingston, Worcester, Cambridge 99, Tyne and many other clubs left disappointed. The Ardingly crew were drawn against Vesta for the following Wednesday, and knew that they had to have the best first 1/3 of a race ever to stand any chance of rattling the opposition, who on paper had been 5-6 lengths faster all season Although qualifying in itself was a big achievement for our tiny club with limited resources, membership, and the crew's limited training due to family and work commitments (especially compared to some of their opposition), they wanted to acquit themselves well in the race itself..and past paper results don't always count when it comes to side by side racing.

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Marlow Regatta 19th June 2010

Marlow is the third of the 3 major regattas held at Dorney, and is the last chance to race potential Henley opposition, or for those crews that do well to get noticed by the Henley Stewards and pre-qualify, thereby bypassing the following week's time trials to qualify for the over-subscribed club events. The Ardingly 4 entered the IM1 event and got drawn in the "heat from hell" against Star and Arrow (Leander), Tideway Scullers, Henley, Imperial College and Dublin University. Confidence was running high, so much so that 2 of the crew didn't even bring spare kit or sandwiches to Dorney. Mostyn fired up the crew with a rousing speech ---- "you've got nothing to lose...er, well, except the race, which you probably will lose, so just go and row".

Ardingly got off the start cleanly, but although they settled into a good rhythm, it was too comfortable, and the pack edged ahead, although not out of touch, by halfway. The crew were surprised to see that Leander were 2/3L behind them though at this point, and keeping their heads up the next 500m saw Ardingly pass Dublin and get back in touch with TSS. Responding well to the calls, and fired by Sculler's shouts of 'Ardingly are blowing' the crew edged up to within 1/2L. A controlled squeeze kept the boat moving so that Ardingly were level with Scullers and 3rd with 250m to go, where the final rate push saw them open a length's lead over TSS, crossing the line about a length behind Henley and Imperial.

Buoyed by their best row to date, the crew rested before the semi-final. In that race, the crew probably let the pack slip them too much and were unable to catch up again, although they over-hauled Elizibethan to finish 5th. They left Dorney knowing that they needed to work on their first part of the race to stay in the game, but also knowing that they were capable of decent speed for large parts of the course, and delighted with their scalps of the day.

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Richmond Regatta (aka For a Fistful of Tankards)

A small rowing club with only a couple of racing quality boats has to learn to make best use of its limited supply of equipment. Which is why the clubs only 4x/- made the trip to Richmond via Henley so that the men's coxless four could compete in the Henley qualifying races on the Friday evening (more on that later), then leave the boats overnight at Richmond so that the Masters could use it as a quad the next day!

Richmond regatta started with Patrick in the J15 single taking on eleven (11) St.Pauls School scullers and one other boy. Through the course of the morning Patrick whittled away the opposition until there was one left in the final. Unfortunately his opponent was ill by then and had to scratch leaving Patrick to "row over" to pick up his well earned pot. Not content with that he joined his double partner Jonty to once again take on five (5) St.Paul's doubles plus a couple more from Whitgift School. In another impressive series of races the boys cruised through the heats and semi and finally polished off the last remaining double in the final.

The "older" boys had an altogether different set of challenges but similar outcomes. Following a bizarre heat against Molesey Ladies the Mas D quad raced against Sons of the Thames in the final. With a 10 second start on the handicap system the race was not really a contest and ended with the margin still around the same. Jon and Pete resumed their Mas C doubles partnership after their eventful race at Putney. Following a good start and a solid second minute they were able to cruise home against a Sons of the Thames double. The Mas D double of Slavo and Reg had a much tougher race against a seasoned Cygnet crew. With little more than a length between the crews for the majority of the course it wasn't until the last 250m that the Ardingly double were able to assert themselves and claim another hard earned pot.

The Mas E double was a rematch with a Twickenham double. Again Dave P and Bob were able to get their noses in front early and lead the race. They managed to hold on round the long bend before the finish to seal another Ardingly win. Bob was out again for his second race in the single against the stroke man from the Twickenham double. This time Bob had to give up a 13 second start. While he pressed hard the canny Twickenham sculler had just a little too much for Bob who was also suffering from cramp. At the end of the race there was only one thing to do to help Bob through his cramp, his opponent sculled with him back to the Twickenham clubhouse and lubricated him with a couple of beers before sending him on his way back to the Ardingly side of the river. A true sportsman in the great Twickenham tradition.

So with six (6) event wins, thirteen (13) pots, an 85% strike rate and all in glorious sunshine it is safe to say that the club enjoyed its day out at Richmond Regatta. Thanks go to the regatta organisers, see you next year! Meanwhile, the next day, the 4x/- made the trip back up to Henley to be re-rigged as a coxless four and made ready for racing in the Wyfolds.

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National Masters Regatta, Nottingham

And so it was on to Nottingham to the National Masters (formerly Veterans) Regatta. This is the first of the two national standard regatta's for the veteran squad and one of their key goals for the year. In the Mas C double Pete and Martyn qualified comfortably in the six boat heat but in a slower time than the second heat. In the final it was the crews from the second heat that provided the main threat. In a very fast race the Ardingly Double went much beetr than in their heat but came home just off the medal oace. Fourth out of a field of 15 doubles in that age group, is of course a good result.

Next up was Reg and Bob in the Vet E Doubles. Although they raced well they could not quite do enough to qualify for the final and went out in the heat. In the single scull Jon had decided that this year he wanted another crack at the race for the slightly mentally impaired (as you have to be mad to want to do this) and was in a very strong field of 20 Mas C singles. In easily the toughest heat Jon blasted away from the start and was in the mix right down the course. As the pace went up in the closing few hundred metres Jon stuck to some of the best scullers in the country at this age group and came out with a hugely creditable performance. It wasn't quite good enough to make the final but it was good enough to show how competitive he is at this level.

The Mas D quad ended up in a straight 6 boat final again with very fast opposition. The crew from Tees broke free after a lightning start gaining clear water. The race for second place was between Broxbourne, Ardingly and Walton. At 500m Ardingly had a lead of just under a second from the other two crews. On the line Broxbourne slipped through to second but Walton could not get past Ardingly. The three crews were separated by less than 2 seconds!

In the Mas C Quad's Ardingly lined up against Walton and Tee's crews again with each crew having made changes in order bringing in younger scullers. In yet another high quality race it was Walton who took the honours with Ardingly again missing out on second place by half a length in another fast time.

The Mas E quad was a relatively new combination this year, they had been going well in training and looked competitive. After a sluggish start in the heat they went through the gears and, while making hard work of it, qualified into the final. Although they had a much better race in the final they were not able to overcome strong opposition eventually finishing 6th.

On to the last race of the day for the men, Andy was entered in the Mas F singles. This was the first time racing in this age category for Andy who had been fast in training since joining the squad earlier in the year. Andy cruised through the heat comfortably and looked set well for the final. After a good start Andy was well placed against his main rival from Norwich. Whilst Andy tussled with two Tideway scullers singles the Norwich sculler continued to increase his lead. By the last 250m Andy was clearly in 2nd place, but the Norwich sculler had too much of a cushion. Thus in our last race of the day, Andy won the men's only silver medal. Well done Andy.

So all in all disappointment for men in medal terms but satisfaction that they had raced very well in a number of high quality events and would be able to push on for Henley Vets in a month's time.

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Peterborough Regatta. June 5th 2010

Peterborough regatta is ideal preparation for National Championships for the Masters Squad. It is multi lane, 1000m racing usually against fast opposition. It's also a nice regatta particularly if the sun shines. This year the Master were joined by the senior's as they continued their preparation for Henley Royal Qualifiers. First up was Jon in the Master C single sculls in a tough heat with two Ryde scullers. In the end Jon missed out on a place in the final by 5 seconds. The standard at Nottingham will be equally difficult. In the Master C/D Quads both Ardingly crews (C and D) were racing against very fast crews from Ryde (C) and Broxbourne (D). With three crews from the four to go through to the final it was Ryde who missed out, unfortunately being harshly DQ'ed in the last 100m for steering. In the final Broxbourne ran out the winners by a length over the D quad with the C quad unable to make inroads into the time handicap. The Masters D double of Dave P and Slavo found the Poplar crew too fast and the Masters E double of Bob and Reg also struggled to overcome a handicap of 7 seconds in their race. So lots for the Masters Squad to think about before Nat Champs in a week's time.

At the younger end of the age spectrum, Nick joined up with Jo Thorpe in the IM3 doubles. In an event with lots of crews entered they qualified for the final through the repechage but eventually found the pace to hot coming in a creditable 4th. The IM2 4- of Paul Abbott, Alex Dombrowe, Jo Thorpe and Dave Law had the misfortune to come up against a good schools crew who are clearly destined for higher things. The IM2 Pair of Dave and Paul found that two of the schoolboys had also doubled up and again showed them a clean pair of heels while the IM1 double of Alex and Jo had a good race but just fell short to much higher rating opposition.

Coming away from a regatta without a win is an unusual event for the club. Coach Mostyn was left to consider what went wrong and how to get more speed out of the crews in the next couple of weeks. The boys didn't have to wait long for the answer as the long day on Saturday was followed by the best part of an hour's worth of low rate, full pressure, steady state paddling on Sunday morning. The sound of snoozing from the couch could be heard all over Sussex Sunday afternoon!

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Putney Town Regatta. May 15th 2010

The Masters Squad made the short trip to the tideway to race at Putney Town Regatta. Once again the tideway proved to be a real challenge when racing around the top of the tide with very bumpy conditions for all crews. Some of the washes from the pleasure cruisers would have been more at home on Honolulu beach than South London! In the Quad events the club notched up another two wins with the Masters C crew of David Avery, Pete Billin, Martyn Abbott and Jon Carter racing in the IM3 event proving too much for Vesta and the American School in London. Meanwhile in the Masters D event the crew of Reg, Bob Simpson, David Phillips and Slavo also won beating a Thames crew by a couple of lengths. In the doubles, Slavo and Ian Andrews managed to overcome a 12 second handicap to win their race, narrowly beating Reg and Bob and a Vesta G crew in the process. While the Vet C doubles of Jon and Pete and Dave A and Martyn could not match the D crew from Poplar who won the event comfortably.

In the end everyone left Putney with something. There were pots all round, a parking ticket (again!) and a 25 metre swimming badge for one of the doubles who will remain nameless!

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Borne at Chiswick Regatta. May 8th 2010

With Masters racing proving difficult to find the club went to Borne Regatta for the first side-by-side racing of the season. The course is the same used by Chiswick Regatta, starting at UL and finishing at MAA boat house. After winning their heat the novice double of Mark Abbott and Nick Amery had a potentially difficult final against a big looking crew. In the end they took the race by the scruff of the neck and stormed down the course to win by a couple of lengths.This was the first race for Nick who was wondering what was so hard about racing and a long overdue win for Mark. They now move up to race at IM3. The Masters had a mixed day, Pete Billin and Martyn Abbott won the Masters C showdown against the other half of their quad, David Avery and Jon Carter. Video evidence suggests a faster start did all the damage. In the Quad Reg, Bob Simpson, David Phillips and Slavo found a 7 second handicap too much to overcome against a resilient MAA crew. In the end they had taken back enough time to be overlapping but ran out of water before they could put their nose in front. Slavo and Dave Philips ran out easy winners in the Mas D doubles adding another pot to their collection. Reg and Bob came up against old rivals from Twickenham in the Mas E double but came off second best on this occasion. The women raced two singles and a double and all 3 entries progressed to their finals. Here they raced well but couldn't quite claim any pots.

So mixed fortunes for the club with three wins and the definite highlight of the day a hugely satisfying win for the Novice double.

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Poplar regatta, May 2010

The senior coxless 4 braved the winds and waves of the docks for IM1 and IM2 events, with a good level of competition. The IM1 in the morning was a straight final. The two London crews took an early lead, and the battle for 3rd was between Ardingly and Putney Town. Ardingly survived some early clashing with the Putney crew, but never settled to a rate that would allow them to row effectively into the strong wind, and after 1000m, Putney moved clear. Ardingly finished 4th, well ahead of Norwich and Walbrook.

The afternoon event was IM2, and in a semi-final of 5 crews with 3 going into the final, Ardingly shot out of the blocks, found a better rhythm, and established a good early lead over the rest of the field with clear water. A push by Putney saw them in contact at 1000m, but with Curlew and Thames Tradesmen safely behind, the crew called to conserve for the final (as Alex was struggling with a cough and cold) and Putney and London moved through by the finish. Perhaps it would have been worth fighting for lanes, because conditions in lane 6 for the final (2nd last race of the day) were atrocious at the start, although probably not that different from the other lanes! Although starting well, Ardingly were not quite as confident in the opening stages, and tussled once again with Putney Town, but could not hold them in the last 500m of the race, coming in 6th. They were very pleased with the day's racing - showing flashes of good speed, and learning about adjusting for conditions. In addition, it was also the first time the crew had raced 3 2km races in one day.

Jo was particularly pleased with the fact that the burgers were only £1 at the day's end, but the crew was gutted when they left the docks flat calm - the wind dying completely between the last race and the time they left!

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Wallingford Regatta, May 2010

The new look coxless 4 of Paul Abbott, Alex Dombrowe, Jo Thorp and David Law went to the 2km season opener of Wallingford regatta. Racing in IM1 they were due to meet good opposition with Molesey and Henley crews in the same heat.

Unfortunately the strong cross-tail wind had wreaked havoc on inexperienced crews at the start so the programme was significantly delayed. Several crew had also scratched, so by the time the crew reached the start, there were only 3 crews in the heat, and the final had been scrapped! Ardingly had a good start and found a good early rhythm, staying in touch with Henley in the early parts of the race. The wind affected steering for much of the second half of the race, so although there were glimpses of some decent speed, they finished 2nd, 3 lengths behind Henley but 20 seconds ahead of Bradford. On times (to work out an event winner from the 3 heats), Ardingly were 9th of 14 crews.

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Head of the River Race 2010

Ardingly entered an 8 for the 3rd year running, again not put off by small logistical problems such as not having an 8, not having a cox, only having 4 sweep oars, and not having 8 active sweep rowers. Despite this, Mostyn set an ambitious target of reaching 150th, up from last year's placing just inside 200. Richard Mitchelson was coaxed back from rowing retirement, as was Tom Bell. Both had been training a lot on bikes. New club members Martyn Abbott (ex-Notts County and Commonwealth lightweight and twice Henley winner) and Jo Thorp (Richard's replacement in the senior coxless four) joined the crew, but neither had raced for over 10 years, Pete Billin stepped into an 8 for the very first time on the day of the race itself. David Law, Paul Abbott, Alex Dombrowe and 'club cox' Lois made up the crew.

We had a practice outing in a vast Army boat at Dorney the preceding week, with Slavo subbing in for Pete, and on the day we borrowed the Tyrian empacher. The atmosphere at the 8's head is always great, and everyone enjoyed being part of it. Unfortunately the crew was unable to find a rhythm in the first minutes from the start to Barnes Bridge, but made up about 50 places in the remainder of the course to end result a slightly disappointing 216th of 388 finishers, about 22 seconds off the targeted 150th place.

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Veteran Fours Head of the River race 2009

Three of our veterans David Avery, Pete Billin and Jon Carter combined with Rob Smallwood of Tideway Scullers to make a Veteran C quad scull for the Vets fours head. Rob managed to make it down to Ardingly before the race so the crew managed two outings before the event.

With this being the top event for veterans in the Autumn and Winter they knew it was going to be tough and identified Poplar starting behind them as a good yardstick to work off. Jon took the crew off hard and they settled in to a solid rhythm. Based on the gaps there was little difference with Poplar in the first half of the course but the Ardingly/TSS crew had the edge in the second half. Despite some older quads going faster this was the winning performance in C quads and the clubs first ever win at this top level event.

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Weybridge Silver Sculls October 2009

Alex and David Law went to Weybridge having been the fastest senior double the previous year, and fastest crew overall in 2007. Racing as IM1, they started behind several veteran crews. Although they did not quite find their cruising speed in the first few minutes, they settled into the race and attacked the course. They had to steer round some of the veterans, and their final time placed them 3rd, behind a very fast Walton J18 double that won overall, and just 1 second behind the fastest senior crew, an IM2 double also from Walton. They did technically win IM1 but did not receive any prizes as there were no other IM1 doubles! Richard and Paul raced well in IM2 and placed 9th overall.

Pete Billin was our fastest single sculler of the day in Vet B, coming 6th in his event and a very respectable 34th of 199 single sculls. Patrick Frost raced in J15 single sculls and had a very good row, coming an excellent 64th overall and winning his event.

Janet Leedham raced Women's Novice 1x and came 4th. Ardingly's second win of the day came from Jenny Searle and Fran Rawlins, in W IM3 2x. Sarah Saunders and Nicola Plank were 2nd in their event, W Vet B 2x. Jonty Field and Alexander Harris were 1 second behind the WVetB 2x on time in J15 2x and Sam Minall and Joe Fox also gained form the experience of the long tricky course in J15. Jenny Searle and Sarah Saunders came 2nd in W IM2 2x and Sarah Lucas and Nicola Plank 3rd in W Nov 2x . Sarah Lucas and Anjali Ramanan were also 2nd in WJ17 2x. Two wins and some good showings for the club, with men's, women's and junior squads all represented.

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Pairs Head October 2009

Three Ardingly doubles entered the Pairs Head.

Alex Dombrowe and David Law set off in IM1 doubles and had a steady but unspectacular row. Alex steered the Tideway course well, but the combination did not spark as they sometimes can and were disappointed with their 51st placing (out of 372 finishers). Paul Abbot and Richard Mitchelson made up the IM2 double and again steered well. They finished 111th and Mostyn was pleased that they had managed to close the gap on the IM1 2x compared to the previous year. David Avery and Pete Billin raced VetC doubles and also rowed well to place 140th overall

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World Rowing Masters, Vienna, September 2009

After the official end of the Ardingly season, a group of veterans, joined by Alex Dombrowe and David Law from the senior coxless 4 and Andy Taylor from Bradford on Avon RC continued to train on the reservoir, before heading off to Vienna for the excitement of the World Rowing Masters. Competitors enter from all over the world, aged 27 to over 80, ranging from club oarsman to the occasional retired Olympian.

Races ran every three minutes and were raced over 1000m in up to 8 lanes. Each race is a 'final' with the winners receiving medals, but some idea of standing can be worked out from the times. On the scorching first day, with the nudist colony nearly causing distractions on the far bank, Alex and David Law raced in masters A doubles (as GBR which upset Dave a little!)- they were exactly joint first at half way, with the first 5 of the 8 crews separated by only 0.24 seconds, before the hulking Germans in the next lane pushed into the lead. Despite attacking at the end, it was too late, and Ardingly finished 1.5 seconds behind in 2nd (on times coming 16th of 48 starters in the event). That evening's preparation for day 2 included a trip to a local pub for meat stew and dumplings and a beer or so.

Day 2 saw torrential rain and several more races. David Law raced A1x and came in 7th, beating old Ardingly crew mate Sebastean Schnieder, representing Hansa Dortmund (41st of 75). Jon carter and Peter Billin came 3rd in a good race in C2x, one of the biggest events, achieving 40th of 96 crews. The B4x of David Law, Alex, David Philips and Andy Taylor came 4th in what they thought was their best row (of only about 3 outings ever), 3 lengths behind the Norwegian winners.

Conditions on day 3 were even worse, with a howling headwind and standing waves. Alex and Jon started badly in their heat of B2x and never quite hit the powerful rhythm they had in training, coming in 4th of 8. Pete and David L also came 4th, recording a time 0.5 seconds faster than the other double, so Ardingly came 35th and 36th out of 95 crews on time. The A4x of David L, Alex, Pete and Jon struggled in their race and came in 5th. In the very next event, Andy Taylor and David P had a good race with a flowing style and achieved second place. The last Ardingly representation was in the C4x event when Jon, Pete, Andy and David P came 5th in their race. After that it was out into Vienna, following our tour guide Sebastien and his friends, and then back to the hotel for a nightcap that seemed to take us to about 4am.

Overall, an excellent trip, with some good racing, even if we didn't manage to bring home any medals.

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Molesey Regatta.
Henley Veterans Regatta.
Henley Royal Regatta.
Henley Qualifier.
Marlow regatta 19 June.
Richmond Regatta.
National Masters, Nottingham.
Peterborough Regatta. June 5th 2010
Putney Town Regatta. May 15th 2010
Borne at Chiswick Regatta. May 8th 2010
Poplar regatta, May 2010
Wallingford Regatta, May 2010
Head of the River 2010
Veterans Fours Head of the River 2009
Weybridge Silver Sculls October 2009
Pairs Head Oct 2009
World Rowing Masters Vienna