A small contingent of Shoreham rowers (along with a very loud contingent of supporters) dusted off our river boats and headed to the Thames yesterday for Burway Small Boats Head race. And on the coldest day of the year so far – seriously freezing in the marshalling area – Shoreham’s novice scullers shone.

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First to shiver their way up to the start line, via a large bank-side tree, was Sarah B in her single scull, closely followed by Ezra & Charlotte R in the double scull (via the same, pesky bank-side foliage). With Burway being Charlotte’s first ever head race, and Ezra’s first time steering one from the bow, and both with limited experience together  in a double scull together the girls should be very proud of their row yesterday. And we can certainly blame one tiny altercation with a tree halfway down the course on the very loud, very distracting cheering from both Ezra & Charlotte’s families.

Sarah’s race in the single scull went surprisingly smoothly, managing to avoid the Hastings/Bewl Bridge pair who had lodged themselves in the same tree the Shoreham double would find in a few minutes time, but coming closer than would be deemed comfortable to a large, looming barge 50om from the finish. Despite these distractions Sarah’s row was good enough to see her down the course fastest among the novice women’s entries, winning her category overall.

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For Division 3 the temperature dropped from a balmy 4 degrees to a slightly chillier 2-3 degrees, as the sun disappeared behind a few clouds and a piercing northerly breeze whipped up every few minutes. Lining up at the start was Tom in the Men’s Novice Single Sculls and Debbie, Charlotte R, Sally, Sarah B and Ezra coxing the Women’s Novice coxed quad. Tom’s first head race in his scull was not entirely unsuccessful, pinching 3rd place overall- and had he known where the finish line was we are confident he would have been able to move up a few places!

The Women’s Novice coxed quad were up next and had a great row considering they have never been in a quad together, and had absolutely no chance of a warm up or practice together until the starter called “go”. With some fantastic steering from Ezra, negotiating tricky overtaking, the girls were able to push on ahead of a chasing Ardingly novice quad, beating them down the course by 10 seconds and claiming the overall victory.

A very successful first winter head race for Shoreham – a big congratulations to everyone who took part and a very big thanks to all supporters, whose (loud, very loud) cheering gave all our rowers that extra boost halfway down the course. Here’s to the next one!