River Trent, Nottingham 2005

It was a strange start to the day as everybody seemed to turn up on cue as Micky and Julie pulled into the car park with the boats. This very rarely happens, whatever the reason it was good to get boats on the water as we had two teams racing under the Batchworth colours, Batchworth with something to prove and Breakspear Batchworth Aspire (Aspire from now on) on their first regatta (wearing yellow it must be noted).

On to the racing, well we were on at 10am, the first race and everything went as planned, no nasty surprises, onwards and upwards and all that nonsense.

The fourth race saw Aspire's debut and yours truly was asked to helm, with Trish on the drum banging away with one of her many plastic bottles, we looked good, very good, bordering ice cool, even the minnows were daring to come the surface to a have look. A mexican wave from Batchworth on the bank set us up for a big start. We were in lane two with Kingston in lane one, three and four I have totally no idea [I think you'll find it was just the Anacondas]. Jumping to the start Aspire were down and ready, blades buried, the starter called attention, slight pause and Go; a week earlier I had helmed this team at Troy and I didn't expect the start they gave me, they all gave everything and more. We were still with Kingston after the start and kept the power on all the way to the finish, a good first race for them and myself as I didn't tell them I had never helmed in an official race before.

Middayish and we (The Mighty Batchworth :-) ) found ourself in the final of the 200m dash with Amathus in lane 1 us in 2, Thames in 3 and Brute Force in 4 [Kingston actually]. We were all down and ready. The starter said Attention, at this point I just happened to glance up and notice the flood lights of Notts Forrest and County on each side of the Trent.
The memories of the early & mid eighties flooded back, Watford playing in Division One and Europe (a time when you could criticize a sensitive footballer without the fear of a law suit). Watford were playing Notts County and after five minutes we were one down and the situation looked pretty bad, it's a long way to travel to see your team loose. Within ten minutes we had equalized and then Callaghan thumped in a cracking shot from outside the penalty box, Watford (wearing yellow - if you didn't know) won 5-1 on the day and we all had a great one.
"GO" said the Starter and we all began to P.L.F (it's a technical term!)– 180m into the race and things started to go wrong - Amathus had blown us away - this wasn't part of the game plan, but fair play to them, three cheers to the other teams and back for the team briefing.
Conclusion – it's a nice day and lets see what happens (if you believe that etc etc), and don't forget the sun cream (Greg).

We like to think the 500's are our speciality and in the semis we were up against Brute Force, BA and I'm sorry I've totally forgotten [WAM!]. The start of this race went fairly well then Brute Force put the pressure on and pushed their nose in front a little more than we would have liked, this resulted in a massive effort to get past them on the line and a place in the final, the equalizer was now resting nicely in the back of the net, could we turn it round like "The Watford" did all those years ago, only time will tell.

During the Team Talk for the final Mark just happened to mention that this was his last race for the club this year as he is off to Japan next month and he wanted to leave on a high note, we all agreed, the final plan was to PLF all the way. It's not brain surgery.

To the final we paddled, Henley in lane 1, Thames in 2, Amathus in 3 and Us in 4. The Starter said Attention (the 200m was still very much alive) Go – At 490m Amathus were still there, one last push and it's ours... it was. This part of Nottingham seems to be a happy hunting ground for some of us still, I'm sure that this will change but hopefully not this season.

A big Thank You to Aspire plus Julie, Sharon and Ian for banging the drum and helming, hope you enjoyed the day. Well done to Matt for organising all the Aspirations and thanks for helming us too - a fine job and at least you didn't have chance to get bored all day. "Have a good trip" Mark - I tried writing this in Japanese but Babel Fish came out with "??????????" due to us being somewhat Western in alphabet.

Another big Thank You to all the Race Officials, Notts Anaconda for organising the event, a great venue, facilities and a massive trophy.

On the Japan theme, it started me thinking of music titles with Japan in. I can only think of three, obviously one is the Vapors, the other two tracks are still very easy to guess. First person to email the answer wins something. [sadly we don't give out email addresses so you'll just have to send the answer to the web site and we'll be sure to tell you if you've won!]