Women’s masters make their mark at St Ives

Some sporting demons were laid to rest, and new ones generated, for West Norfolk Rowing Club at the St Ives Regatta.

The 550m side-by-side sprint course has a significant bend in the river, and visiting crews often struggle to race a good line round the corner.

After previous experiences at this event, regular WNRC crew member Liz Palmer said she would be happy just executing a good course, but her women’s masters E coxless quad crew went one better and made the final of their event.

West Norfolk Rowing Club's women's masters E coxless quad crew of Nix Marston, Helen Pryer, Liz Palmer and Angela Holford
West Norfolk Rowing Club’s women’s masters E coxless quad crew of Nix Marston, Helen Pryer, Liz Palmer and Angela Holford

The W.MasE.4x- crew of Helen Pryer, Palmer, Angela Holford and Nix Marston looked to have been handed an insurmountable challenge in their semi-final head-to-head when given the wide lane and an eight-second start handicap, due to their opposition’s Masters category.

It seemed ages listening to the Tees Rowing Club boat charging ahead while the WNRC crew waited at their stake boat for the second start signal, but Pryer in bow steered a perfect line, calling for the whole crew to drive the boat round the bend.

Then down the home straight, past the cheering spectators in the regatta field, the WN ladies gave it everything and began to move up against their opposition.

By the time they crossed the line WN were a boat length ahead.

It meant racing again in the final, and this time, despite another perfect steering line, the WNRC crew did not have enough left to beat their opposition.

Although there was no trophy, but a real sense of achievement.

WNRC Junior, Ed Elburn, was racing in a single scull in his first appearance at St Ives.

His heat was in the first division of the day, before being able to observe how many rowers find themselves in the reeds, trees or bank on the testing bend.

Elburn had the speed, but took the bend too wide, and finished behind the eventual winner of his J.15.1x event.

He will be back, determined to show his full potential.