At the beginning of the summer holiday, a spirited band of young and old Monktonians, bar one, set off for Berwick upon Tweed, to train for the National Championship Regatta. The reason for the remote training camp was because the Championships were to be held at StrathClyde, just outside Glasgow. We arrived in Berwick at mid afternoon, at which point we had to unload our boat and carry it a down to the riverside boathouse of Berwick upon Tweed Boat Club. The Monkton band of Mr Martin, Greg Flower, Simon Martin, Olli Cantwell, Jess Williams and myself all stayed in a youth hostel, and for reasons unknown JMB stayed in a Hotel some where near by.
We had a few interesting outings whilst in Berwick, which frustrating to say the least, as tidal rowing was a new experience for the whole crew. On one occasion we rowed all the way up to Scotland and back, enjoying a deserved dip in the Tweed on the return trip. On the penultimate day of our stay Berwick, JMB made some judicious changes to the rig, these made an awesome difference to the quality of rowing, it was even rumoured that someone overheard JMB say ėgoodë. So spirits rose as ears turned towards the sound of medals.
When in Glasgow we met up with the J15 girlīs 2x, and made our way back to Vickie Daviesī flat in Glasgow, staying the night there before the race. On race day nerves grew as we approached a field, but stomachs were settled by a motivational chat from JMB. Pumped up and ready to go we made our way up a fairly gusty course to the start.
Positioned furthest right with the cross wind upon us we were up against Canford, and furthest left Kingston Grammar School. The start was pretty vicious, as we were in contention with both crews up to the 100-metre mark. Then KGS came into their own and flew away, leaving Monkton in a dogged battle with Canford for the silver. At the 1000 mark, a consistency and length of stroke, which was left wanting in the Monkton crew, caused Canford to move away to take the silver medal. In the end Monkton crossed the line after a spirited but under-achieving performance, deservedly beaten by an outstanding KGS crew, who, no sooner had they crossed the finish line, jumped into a 4x- to win the silver in that event. But eyebrows were raised as to the acceptance of the defeat by Canford.
The trip was however a maturing experience for all the rowers, and a lot was gained from it. Many thanks to Bluefriars for all the financial support, without which the trip would not have been made possible. Also many thanks to the Davies' for their generous hospitality, it was much appreciated and preferred to a boathouse floor. We are extremely grateful to Simon Martin's Martin for his time and energy, we hope he enjoyed the Bluefriars experience! Last but not least, we thank JMB for yet more of his valued time and experience. Seth Pemberton