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The 2014-15 season got off to its traditional start with the Bernie Thompson Challenge Sculls.
Forty-two single scullers and five crew boats completed the TSS to Beverley Brook out-and-back course, with Nathan O'Reilly finishing first overall and winning the Bernie Thompson trophy for fastest non-elite sculler for the second successive year.
Fastest junior man, and sixth overall, was Olly, just ahead of the veteran men's winner Simon Suthers. Jess Brown was the fastest woman, with Meg fastest junior and third-placed woman, and Jo Al-Janabi again claimed the veteran women's pennant.
The Great Ache returns to the Ouse
The prospect of your cox having to lie face down facing backwards fumbling about under the boat for weed wrapped round the fin 2k into a 22k race tends to fill a crew with something less than confidence, even when the athlete in question possesses the pantherlike agility displayed by Kristian. These were the conditions The Great Ache faced in the Saturday afternoon warm-up for the Great Ouse Marathon. The spirits of any lesser crew would have sagged, particularly when we found we’d managed to book ourselves in for a Saturday night curry at a restaurant that didn’t serve alcohol.
However, a heart attack on a plate-style Sunday morning breakfast at the Little Chef restored morale. Suitably fortified, and with the weed dispersed by the ninety crews that had started ahead, the eight set off through fabulous countryside in bright sunlight and with an auspicious cross-tail wind, intent on having a go at their previous year’s Masters E record of 1:29.46.
Timings at 5k intervals indicated that the record was on, but the wind had other ideas and moved round against TGA, who crossed the line second overall in 1:29.53 – seven seconds adrift. TSS still holds the record, but it’s a year older now – just like us. LW
The crew: Marcus Hine, Doug Johnstone, Derek Bond, David Best, Mike Phelan, Noel Davison, Ben Bridger, Chris Shea, Kristian Wentzel (cox)