Nineteen pupils took the plunge in January, not literally, and chose to row, but the river flooded and so it was time for some land training, which included some very good 2K ergo times, with 2 pupils managing 7:40! However, the river did at last subside, and we started to get crews on the water. We hoped to boat an oct and 2 quads, but in practice this only happened once as we were to be hit by illnesses which even included an ankle operation and a hip operation - we never do anything by half in the Novices.
It was decided that we would aim for Bristol City Head and that this would enable us to have an oct and a coxed 4, formed from the 2 doubles, the girls and the 2 J15s. However as the date approached it was clear that the 4 would not cope and so the plan changed to a 4 and an oct and we trained with that in mind, but the illnesses struck again and it was clear that it would be difficult for the oct and so with transport problems also looming we finalised on an oct. Our usual luck struck as strokeīs shoulder broke, but Mike and Carl performed miracles and it was ready for Sunday. The weather was beautiful and we were there and organised and all went well until the race itself when Stefanīs seat broke and as he was unable to fix it he rowed almost the whole course sitting on the slides, a tremendous achievement. The crew managed a creditable 135 from the 143 starters with a time of 17:29 for the 3500 course and we were on course for the Schoolīs Head. This was achieved without any great alarms or problems and it was great to see Barrie again. The crew performed well and we reached the end of term on a high.
The next term started, as usual with a different group and so the need to train more rowers meant that it was almost back to square one, but the core was there and we were on course. Our first regatta was Avon County and we had three quads. Again the jinx hit and we were trying to make repairs as the regatta proceeded. This meant that we did manage to beat some of the opposition, but not sufficient to make the finals and so we came home happy and expectant for more but!!! our luck again struck. We were unloading the Quads from the top of the trailer when one fell and though I just about caught it, it caught me as it pulled my back and four days later my back went into spasm and I was off for the rest of term. During this time the crews were well looked after by other coaches and under their guidance they developed well and were on course to go to Peterborough, but it was cancelled. However an invitation regatta for a few crews who now had nowhere to go was organised at Tewkesbury at very short notice. A quad managed to win two of the races and so the term ended on a high and the jinx was broken and they can move to next year expecting to win. Congratulations. Peter Bossom