Queens Dock, Liverpool 2005

I know there are events further away than Liverpool - but at the start of the season it's still a shock to the system when the alarm goes off at 5:15am... on a SUNDAY. Thank heavens it's a bank holiday.

Weather: grey, yuck

I can't help but notice the inordinate number of usedjag.com adverts cunningly placed along the edges of the motorway - how does that work?? Memo to self, must check out that web site when I get to the next services?? - but wait, what's this... the next advert is for escorts - that's more my price range...
Ahh, but no - it doesn't take too long (not for bright sparks like me ehh!) to realise that these escorts are more likely to be the ones you'll need once you've bought your used jag dot com and need someone to fill the passenger seat - even if only on a temporary basis. Oddly enough it doesn't say whether they're used escorts or not!!

Anyway, a few hours later... Batchworth get a nice late start - last to go in the 200s against the dashing pink of Kingston. Fortunately our usual first race blues didn't strike quite so badly and we knocked out a reasonable time and produced much of the same (though apparently the start was better) for the final. Good show. And a first win not only for a couple of the new recruits but for our new coach too.

Batchworth dragonboat team at Liverpool 2005
We had a nice long break (or so it seemed) for lunch - I'm definitely in favour of this short and sharp approach to the 200m racing, more time for catching a bit of sun... no wait, cloud... no sun... umm cloud and so it went on with the odd piece of wind thrown in (both from on high and elsewhere, sadly - Anya, really!!)

Just as the excitement of lunch time was beginning to dwindle an impromptu rescue of cowboy hat from dock brought the spark back into the day and some well deserved brownie points for AW though there may be some deductions for the fact that he didn't just dive straight in, preferring to use a dinghy.

Racing took on a whole new order of excitement in the semi final of the 500 though. The aforementioned wind (from on high, please!!) seemed to catch out the mighty Brute Force team who suddenly took a shine to the side of our boat. Things became a bit confused from there on and suffice to say that all three boats were somewhat closer together than normal paddling style would permit. Those valiant foot soldiers nearer the front of the boat didn't understand what all the commotion was about and got quite aggrieved that (heaven forbid!) some people had stopped paddling. Anyhow the video apparently shows that Thames graciously moved over or something (I haven't seen it myself and 20 different versions of the story didn't help the understanding) so the three boats paddled on through the waves (real waves, and far worse for those on the right, I'll have you know) to record a fast time for both us and Thames, oddly enough.

Drummer holds the 500m trophy
At the start of the final those young whipper snappers in the Amathus team were obviously keen to prove a point what with it being home soil (water perhaps) and all that. They'd been putting in fast times all day, but with rumours that the average age of our team was well on the senior side of 40 we were the ones with experience on our side!
The line up was a repeat of the 2003 epic - was the result about to be the same?? Not if Amathus had a say... but... yes it was the same (how's that for an anti climax!?). A jolly tough race finishing Batchworth, Amathus, Thames.
[Trivia: did you know that Thames and Batchworth have raced each other in the 500m final at Liverpool for the last five years? A prize of a free training session on Sunday at the lake for any member who can give the placings for each of those races (except Nick E 'cos he probably knows the timings of each race too - without looking them up)]

Anyhow, two finals out of two for WdJ and a grand start to the defence of the title. Big thanks to Amathus for a smooth running event and thanks to the local yoof for not throwing rocks at us this year :-)

Nice one. See you all in Cardiff...