|Racing in the semifinal|
We were up against a crew composed of some of the top scullers from Durham University and London University. We had already been warned that they were a quick crew and so we went in to the race a bit more focussed. Due to the amount of river traffic, we had to row down the course in reverse for a few hundred metres until we could turn off. It's almost intimidating rowing in front of the Stewards' Enclosure when you are warming up. Coming the other way you are too busy dealing with the pain and trying to hold on to a semblance of technique to worry about looking bad.
We were a tad rushed to get to the start as they wouldn't let us down the course until a race had finished. Knowing this we did our warm up faster. Into the blocks and we were sitting waiting for the allocated start time. No early starts if crews are ready, this is Henley. The Umpire stood up to address the crews and there was a small moment of excitement as we realised that we had Sir Matthew Pinsent officiating our race.
"Go!" Once brain received the word, the legs followed. We had one of our quickest starts and it was even. To Temple Island at least. Thinking that we were in a good position, the Durham crew then did another massive push away. This isn't a deal breaker for us. We had a solid race plan and we knew that we could back ourselves. I was calling the race plan and the boat was moving very well. If we had a gust of wind the call was "leg press" to get us back on.
Every call down the course was responded to and I know that we fought as best we could. This was one of our best races in some of the most difficult conditions. We were left behind by a very strong crew and deserved winners. We came off the water and congratulated them and presented them with West End ties as a mark of respect and we wished them well against the fancied Leander crew that they are racing today.
So we have now finished with all the training, early starts, hard racing and trying not to eat too many sausages. It has been a fantastic journey. We started out not knowing how tough the competition was going to be, not knowing the costs and in some cases how we were to get our equipment from A to B.
I would like to thank on behalf of the crew, all of those that came to our fundraising events, the people that donated to us, our friends and family sending us messages of support, the Brassey family for taking us in, Shiplake College for letting us stay there, and Tony Gibson and Alasdair for making the trip over to watch us compete. It is so great that we have West Enders travelling to support the crew.
|Thank you all - West End Henley Crew 2012|
Now it is time for some sleep and some Pimms and to enjoy the rest of the Regatta from the posh Stewards' Enclosure.
Ake Ake, Kia Kaha