High drama at Henley Royal Regatta


Monday, 07 July 2014 12:41 Written by Administrator


The quadruple scull of Jack Smith [Toot Hill School, Bingham], Connor Gamble [South Notts Academy, Radcliffe-on-Trent], Rowan Law [West Bridgford School] and Harvey Kay [Rushcliffe School] had cruised through earlier rounds of the Fawley Challenge Cup and were now facing Ridley College, Canada in the quarter-finals late on Friday 4th July.

As the last Nottingham Rowing Club crew in the regatta, they carried high hopes of victory. Wearing their Robin Hood emblazoned kit they were up to the task. Assistant Coach Tom Kay said that they had executed an excellent race plan and were winding up for the finish line, when disaster stuck. Difficult water conditions caused the Nottingham boat to move off course and the Umpire to issue a warning - in trying to respond to this, the Nottingham boat became unbalanced and strokeman Harvey Kay lost his blade. Mere metres from the line the whole crew lurched to one side, nearly turning over, and came to an abrupt halt - needless to say the Canadians went on to win the race (the episode is captured on image 104 of the Henley Royal Regatta Friday Photographs).

A clearly upset Umpire approached the Nottingham boys and explained his actions, which is unusual in itself, but he had affected the outcome of the race. Assistant Coach Kay felt that the boys would learn from the experience and come back next year more determined than ever to win.

Lead Coach Dez Atkins, Rushcliffe Borough Council Coach of the Year 2013, said: "They followed the race plan to the letter and as soon as we were half a length down going into the enclosures I knew we were going to win. We drew level, took a length and then, with only three strokes to go, stack up! So almost the perfect race from a crew a stone a man lighter than the Canadians into a strong headwind. So proud of the guys. It's been a privilege to coach them."

The boys return to Nottingham to prepare for the Junior National Rowing Championships to be held at the National Watersports Centre on trhe weekend of 19th-20th July.