York’s novice crews continued their troubled season at the Edinburgh Regatta on Saturday by falling short of victory in all of their scheduled races.
The conditions in Motherwell’s Strathclyde Country Park looked tough from the outset as strong winds ensured that the lake would be choppy at best, putting all of the crews at a disadvantage and making steering through the 2,000m course difficult.
The women’s Novice four B crew found this out to their cost when they were beached on their way to the start line after their boat had to be held up when one of the women’s oars was caught out of position. Not only was the crew not able to race, but due to the boat taking on water, Cox Deborah Burgess was feared to be ill – suffering from hypothermia symptoms in the hours following the incident.
Elsewhere, York’s Novice women’s A crew performed above expectations in their fours race and finished second to Edinburgh, fighting off competition from Leeds and Dundee, who finished third and fourth respectively.
This result was especially impressive as the crew were almost forced to not enter due to problems with the order in the boat. Coach Sam Bacon said after the race: “We’re really pleased with getting a result here; our aim was just to not come last so they’ve outdone themselves today.”
In the men’s races, York lost out to Edinburgh in both the fours and eights pieces but appeared to be pleased with their progress in an eight after underperforming in recent Regattas. The four lost by seven or eight lengths, but the eight looked strong after a poor start and was able to stay within two lengths of Edinburgh’s boat.
According to Coach Bacon, “the trouble with the four was that they weren’t able to convert their effort into boat speed. The guys are taking steps to fix this; they’re getting better with every race.”
Novice men’s Captain Simon Reed said of the result: “In terms of our technique it was a pretty good race, we were able to stay with them through the first kilometre. We simply need to get more accustomed to 2,000m pieces.”
Despite not achieving victory in the all York boats, some members of York’s crew were on the winning side when other squads required extra members. Women’s stroke Charlotte Macdonald was drafted in to stroke Edinburgh’s women’s eight and subsequently led them to a comfortable victory in a race that embodied the hosts dominance in all categories on the day.
After lunch, the 500m sprint races began with York entering members of both the men’s and women’s crews into boats consisting of a mixture of several crews. Although the races were intended to be a light hearted affair, the competitive spirit was still rife throughout the rowers. This competitive nature nearly cost York as the two boats containing their rowers collided after just 50 metres, forcing a restart.
On the second attempt, it was the boat coxed by Novice women’s Captain Rebecca Jayne Dobinson that just edged out Leeds to win by a canvas. The Novices will now turn to Peterborough where they face a much wider range of opposition on June 7-8.