Bedford Regatta turned out to be everything we’d hoped it would be, with good weather, close racing, and a large number of races won for BMS crews throughout the day.
The regatta offers something for all ages and abilities, and I hope all of the boys were pleased with how their races went. For the J14 boys it was their first time racing competitively side-by-side with other schools, and despite the A and B octos losing to two very good crews from Windsor Boys School and Hampton School both crews gave a good account of themselves and I’m sure will be looking forward to their next race to go after that first win.
The J15 boys had a mixed day of results, with the two eights losing to strong opposition in the first round, however, the coxed four of Rajesh Paul, Austin Roberts, Joe Walker and Damon Hall with Zac Wilde coxing won two races to reach the semi finals where their run ended against 4 of the St Paul’s crew they had raced in the eight that morning. In a tough event with entries from 8 different schools, this was a really good performance and I’m sure will give the boys confidence of being able to compete with some top competition at Nat Schools next week.
The J16 boys eight had a tough draw in Novice Eights, losing to semi finalists Cheltenham College in the first round, and then drawing Shiplake in the Plate event who went on to win the Plate final later in the day. But two good races give against strong crews was important practice in their preparation for J16 1st Eights at Nat Schools.
The J16 coxed four of Sam Hogkiss, Glen Mulkerrins, Tom Rowe and Will Thornton coxed by Autumn Mackay were entered in two events, Novice and J16 coxed fours. They raced well throughout the day, winning four races in total to reach both finals, where they raced both halves of Norwich Schools’ Inter-Regionals winning eight. In the first final, BMS led to the weir, but were unable to match Norwich’s closing sprint and lost by half a length. The boys picked themselves up well to get out to a great start in their second final, but the efforts of the previous race started to take effect in the second half and Norwich were able to pull away to a 1 length winning margin.
From the senior squad, there was some great racing throughout the day. The coxed four of Miles McEwen, Jake Roberts, Toby Harris and Will Tillett coxed by Georgia Bygraves won their first race in style against an adult crew from Auriel Kensington Rowing Club, before facing an Abingdon four made up of some of their top rowers. The boys took the race to Abingdon, adopting a fly or die race strategy that sadly ended up with the latter, but the speed they were able to generate at the start of the race is encouraging for when they race the 1st Coxed Fours event at Nat Schools.
Finally, the most successful crew of the day, winning their event, was the J18 quad of Jake Wilson, Alex Ventisei, Keiran Smith and Sam Kavanagh. We were unsure before the event of how much racing the quad would get as there has been low entries in the past, but with 8 crews entered, the quad had to see off Star Club ‘B’ and then Sir William Borlase to set up a final against local rivals Star Club. The two boats came out of Town Bridge with nothing between them, but once Sam Kavanagh reassured the rest of the crew that the rudder was now straight, they were able to settle into a strong rhythm that saw them stretch out a 2 length lead by the finish. A well deserved win for the boys after a strong showing at Wallingford, they now face a big test in Championship Quads at Nat Schools, where the last crew from any Bedford club to reach the final had a youthful Mr Bavington in the boat!
Mr Kempsell, Senior Rowing Coach