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Bewdley Bliss

MRC travelled last weekend to compete in the 2022 Bewdley RC annual 2-day regatta. Members from all squads took part with a total of 31 rowers making up 18 different crews over the weekend; 6 members made their debuts.

In the first division on Saturday, 4 race categories were entered with 4 crews winning! Women’s D4x- of Dawn Brace, Rachel Westerlund, Sue Smith & Sheron Deane-Lucas held off Warwick in the semi final and went on to beat a younger Hereford crew in the final.

This was shortly followed by a Monmouth versus Monmouth final in the Op2-; Mark Stewart-Woods and debutant men’s captain Evan Whittal Williams took the lead but when pressure came near the end of the race, they steered too close to the buoys and had to stop rowing, allowing the mixed pairing of Kathryn Diserens & Jamie Diserens to move through and take the victory on the line.

The Mixed E8 of Colin Lewis, James Allison, Tim Male, Peter Kelsall, Louise Allison, Maggie Hickland, Kate Hooton, Sara Part & debutant cox Richard Summers, were next to take their place on the 800m course; with Richard steering home the crew to a decisive victory.

The last final of the morning division for MRC was in the E4+ of Eric Froggatt, Nick Hooton, Toby Harding [debutant], Jonathan Keyte, and cox Richard; the crew opened up a lead over Warwick after 250m and maintained this through to the finish.

Division 2 began with E8 of Colin Lewis, James Allison, Jamie Diserens, Jonathan Keyte, Toby Harding, Darren Cooper, Geoff Hitt, Peter Kelsall, and cox Kathryn Diserens, taking on an older 8 from Bristol Ariel [masters F]. The Bristol crew were given a 6 second advantage of the start and although Monmouth made a gallant effort to claw back the distance, they were beaten by a length. It was great to see Darren & Geoff competing in their first ever regatta race, having only started rowing just before lockdown. 

The women’s 4+ of Rachel Westerlund, Maggie Hickland, Kate Hooton, Dawn Brace, and cox Richard Summers beat Worcester in another straight final, looking strong throughout.

Mark Stewart-Woods controlled his semi final in E1x with relative ease and went on to win the final later in the division.

A fairly novice W4x+ were next in action and were against a crew from Stourport. Ably coxed by Sheron Dean-Luca, the crew of Ali Hazledine, Jan Watkins, Sarah Cripps & Amanda Snelson, were down off the start but an inspirational call to up the power saw the Monmouth crew move through the Stourport crew with relative ease, with the winning margin 2 lengths. It was Sarah’s first ever regatta, having only started rowing in the last year, she was obviously delighted!

Op4- of Tim Male, Evan Whittal Williams, Stuart Bruton& Nick powered their way to victory over a Worcester crew. Former pupil of Wye Dean School, this was Stuart’s first race for MRC & first ever in a sweep boat so another great result.

The last race of the day for Monmouth saw the women’s E4- of Louise Allison, Sara Part, Sue Smith & Liz Lewis take on Loughborough and after a strong start taking the lead in the first 200m, the Monmouth crew eased further away to win by several lengths.

With several crews being asked to change to race Open rather than Masters events on Sunday, some races were expected to challenge the older Monmouth contingent. Tim Male & Mark Stewart-Woods began the day with a victory in their semi final against Trent and followed this up with a solid win in the final against Nottingham & Union in the Op2- event.

In the Op 8’s, the crew of Colin Lewis, Nick Hooton, Jamie Diserens, Jonathan Keyte, Eric Froggatt, Darren Cooper, Toby Harding, Kathryn Diserens, and cox Richard Summers, with average age of 55, came up against a much younger crew from Nottingham & Union. Monmouth fought to the end but narrowly lost by ¾ length.

Jan Watkins & Sheron Dean-Lucas paired up to race women’s E2x which was Jan’s first ever small boat race and although they came 2nd to Bewdley, they put up a good fight.

Sue Smith & Dawn were another crew moved into senior women’s 2- from masters, but despite this being their first race in a pair, they beat one Loughborough crew in the semi finals with ease. In the final their opposition was another Loughborough crew, this time a much younger one.

The MRC ladies put up a very good fight, with Sue steering a great line, but on this occasion, youth took the title by ¾ length.

Club coach Tim males, paired up with Rosie from Bristol Ariel in a Mx2x and were able to win their final against Trent convincingly.

The final event for MRC was the Mixed 8 where the crew with an average age of over 55 took on a younger Minerva Bath 8 in the semi-final; Mark Stewart-Woods, Nick Hooton, Colin Lewis, Jonathan Keyte, Louise Allison, Liz Lewis, Kate Hooton, Kathryn Diserens & cox Richard Summers had a great start and after 600m were able to ease down to save energy for the final. In the final a very young Bridgnorth crew put up a good fight but experience told in the end with Monmouth notching up their 13th victory of the weekend by 5 lengths.

It was a fantastic weekend of racing for all involved. Club coach Tim said “It has been a really great weekend. I am happy with everyone’s performances – some really good racing -win or lose. I am sure all this positivity will generate a ripple effect to others who are yet put themselves forward to race in a regatta.”

Thanks to all who were involved in organising, towing, coxing, steering, loading & unloading – without these individuals none of this weekend’s racing would have been possible. We would also like to thank the organising committee at Bewdley for a great regatta and all their members who worked tirelessly over the weekend to make the regatta run so smoothly.


Next event MRC are looking to enter is Stourport regatta on 13/14th August.

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