Rowing cherries were popped, corks were popped soon after, and throughout, many eyes popped at the sight of the Novice Men at this year’s Remenham Challenge. This year, the Novice men were fortunate enough to be able to enter two eights into the fray, one classed as the ‘actual’ Novice boat, and the other as the ‘not really novices, are they?’ Intermediate Boat, due to sharing seven points between four members of the crew.
The Novices prepared as every true athlete does; with a full English Breakfast, two hours before they were due to boat. During the breakfast, the novice secret weapon was unveiled. With fingers covering eyes, what can only be described as retina-searing luminous yellow base layers were distributed, to only be revealed once at the start-line.
The ‘not’ Novice crew had been assigned 10th in the draw and were determined to hold the position as long as possible, very aware that much more experienced boats would be chasing them down. The crew learnt that though she be little, our cox be fierce, and she isn’t afraid to hold the best water throughout a race. A valiant effort was put forth, with certain members getting audibly excited as the boat held off the London Crew and Vesta Senior Men as best as possible in a three-way as they passed the Vesta Flagpole. The three seat was checked and cleaned once alongside, following all the excitement.
The ‘novice’ Novices had similarly ‘audible’ moments of excitement, starting at 51 with two crews to chase in their category. For many, their first experience of a Head Race (or any race, for that matter) was a proud moment and, wide-brimmed bottle in hand, they were eager to get the race underway. They gave their all, putting on a solid performance, which is good as they were impossible to miss in the aforementioned day-glo lycra. There was a moment of concern as the Vesta women appeared to be gaining, but with steely determination they dug deep and managed to hold them off ’til the finish.
The Novice (Intermediate) Men’s Eight
Finishing 27th (‘ringers’) and 46th (‘fresh meat’) overall, with times of 12:02 and 13:45 respectively, a line has been drawn in the sand and all will be looking ahead to the spring Heads. Whilst there were no wins today, both crews came away happy with the overall results, and few can argue that there is all to play for this year. With the depth in numbers this year, seats will be hard-fought throughout, and both boats will be eyeing various scalps in the future…