By May Jarvis
On Saturday the 18th of February 5 crews from Lancaster John O’ Gaunt took part in the Head of the Bridgewater. First thing in the morning and conditions were not ideal for the three scullers: Tom, Oliver Standford and Oliver Tidswell. Heavy rain and blustering winds battered the course throughout the canal. First to go in division 1 was Oliver Standford who suffered due to the weather, coming 3rd in his category with a time of 13:03, and losing by 39seconds to the winner from Hollingworth Lake. Next up, J14 Oliver Tidswell rowing for Lancaster Schools who came a valiant 2nd, losing by 36seconds to a strong Warrington sculler. Tom was due to race in the first division however was put off by the bad weather and scratched.
The second division, as they always are at races, was delayed which was lucky for May and Ellie who arrived with barely any time to rig up their double. By this time the wind had dropped and the skies had cleared so warm sun was shining down. Tom Sanders had a change of heart and cheekily re-entered his single in the 2nd division, much to the annoyance of Oliver Standford who had braved the elements earlier in the morning. Both crews got out on the water with time to spare and were waiting at the head of the canal for quite a while. When the racing finally started the girls double discovered that one of their riggers wasn’t as aligned as it should have been, so their technique and power suffered greatly. However they managed to keep a good time and beat their competition, by 46seconds, who had rowed in the previous division. Tom Sanders, who was competing in the same IM3 category as Oliver Standford, put in a good effort however the winds must have blown the previous crews down the canal as Tom lost to the winner by 2mins 38seconds.
3rd division was very nerve racking for the men’s IM3 4+ (Shona Barnish, Tom Sanders, Steve Holmes, Oliver Standford and Wilson), as it involved Wilson getting from Manchester airport and into the boat on time. To make matters worse the clouds had returned and the 3rd division crews were treated to occasional but very heavy hail showers. Time was called for boating and there was still no sign of Wilson so a quick decision was made that May was to sub in for him at bow seat. However, just as the boat was being taken to the water a car screeched into the yard and out jumped Wilson ready to go. After a bit of faffing and number pinning they were on the water and rowing up to the start. The race went well and the crew was strong however the men were beaten by two more powerful crews from Runcorn and Hollingworth Lake, losing by 47seconds to the winner.
All in all an eventful day out, one win from the girl double and overall hard work put in by everyone. I’m sure we’re all looking forward to those regattas in the sunshine so all I can say is bring on the summer!