The final round of the West Midlands Explore League was hosted at Upton Beginners Regatta last weekend, with 9 crews from Bewdley, Ross, Stourport, Hereford and Upton racing against each other for the chance to claim the winners prizes. Dispensing with traditional ‘pots’ , the League saw the prizes donated from Bewdley Brewery and the host Clubs, these ranged from crew/tea, prizes of champagne, beers and spirits to coach specific prizes of bike computers (to prove how far they cycle), instant mobile phone chargers (for emergencies) foam rollers (for coaching niggles), insulated coffee mugs (for cold mornings), and heart rate monitors (for more rowing specific testing)!
With a short course and close racing almost all of the League competitors also took part in the Beginners Regatta too. For some this was their third League competition and with up to 6 races, a packed day was had by all.
With each crew results added to the League series, the final overall League results were:
1st place and Overall winner of the League – Hereford men
2nd place – Ross women’s crew ( Sally)
3rd place – Hereford mixed crew – the ‘A’ team
4th place tied – Ross (women B ) Ross (women C) Bewdley (Blazers) and Bewdley (Aces) and Ross (mixed)
5th place – Bewdley A
Whilst Upton/Bewdley women, Upton/Bewdley mixed, Bewdley Bewtifuls, Upton A, Upton B and Stourport mixed crews all finished on 1 win each with the Upton / Bewdley composite crew propping up the league!
Jo Atkinson Participation Team, Area Manager (Midlands & Gloucestershire) said “ the League has proved very popular, with entries growing at each event. What was pleasing to see were the numbers of supporters for a new style of competition. The races have been fun to watch and it’s been great to see how each crew has progressed. Clubs have joined together to help where people didn’t have a crew, so anyone that wanted to race has been able to. I am confident that next year this will be a bigger event and the Clubs are already thinking about other formats they can introduce”
Nigel Archer from the Hereford mixed crew said: “I came into rowing after my daughter who coxed my crew today, encouraged me to have a go, but at 50 I thought I might be too old, but with Veronica’s Preedy’s coaching I have seen progression in my skills and those of our crew. She has taught us to focus on skill rather than racing and thrashing about, and this has been proved to be the way forward today as we have just won all the prizes !”
Chen Xi from Bewdley Aces commented “I only started 6 weeks ago and can’t believe how far I’ve come – and we won the big event at the Upton Regatta too, I was so unfit and I can now keep up and my husband say I look like a rower!“
About Explore Rowing
The Explore Rowing programme is our flagship project to increase participation at grassroots level. British Rowing have part funded stable boat packages in 51 clubs and watersports centres. The venues then run learn to row courses following a structured programme. This initiative has led to an increase in membership for the clubs/venues involved.
The Explore leagues, as part of the Explore Rowing programme are starting up and growing in many regions – the format can be short distance side by side races, skills events or short head races. The emphasis is on fun (and safety) with the host club providing stable boat equipment. Teams are made up of up to six people – with any four to race, allowing for holidays or weekends away without worrying about your ‘crew’ are not able to take part. The social element to the day is very important, a BBQ or cup of tea and cake alongside rowing is a great way to enjoy your time down at the water.