Victoria Docks, London 2005

Good mornin', unacustomed as I am to report writing, I have had my arm twisted into doing this article, the reason being that myself and Wilco were the only Batchworth representatives at the 70's party and could give a low down on proceedings for the whole event. However, on going to the party we found another crew mate, was in attendance, with the badest hair day I have ever seen.

Now, as you may have noticed over the past few months, the drivel (I mean race reports) (not that this will be any better) have been carried out by guest reporters. This got me thinking of the possible similarity of the show "Have I Got News For You", where the age old presenter was allegedly "caught out", in uncompromising circumstances?? And each week they try to find presenters with clout and humour. Up to now Batchworth have done alright, so I am afraid you have got the Charlotte Church or Boris Johnson episode from here on in (although I thought both did ok?). I must add, I do not believe that our Rocket got the sack because of such similar acts as the above mentioned (not mentioned) presenter, and like him, I wish The Rocket would come back to us, as his reports always cheer up a strained day in front of the kids.

So, anyway, onto to the racing...
We had a slightly depleted team, two days before we had 3 reserves, and by Saturday morning we only had 16/17 paddlers. A lady at the toilet (because, as those that know me at competitions know that, "You will always find me in the toilets at racing" (some of you may recognise this as a song title, changing the words to kitchens, parties??? - some of you may be too young!)) overheard my conversation with a team mate regarding our dilemma and jumped for joy, "Batchworth have only got 16 team members. Yeppie"! Oh, well, we would do our best in the circumstances. However, we ended up with 19 in the end. Billy, turned up with broken ankle, broken ribs and water on the lung (from a car accident), saying he was feeling fine!!! I thought he had come to watch, and then in the final saw the blue socked hero, being carried INTO the boat with paddle ready to race! Commitment eh!!! We also had a late arrival of a regular member, he had been out at a Hunt and had to get the horse back to stables. (not really, it's illegal now!!!)

Shall we get back to the racing?? With the differing personnel, much paper was needed to write out the varying combinations, how many times can you fold a piece of paper? oh no, that was another conversation... our statistical Captain, gave the order on our first trip in the boat, not to get too comfy, as you may be changing. He was true to his word; I think it was 11 changes happened on the way to the start of the first race. Many more were to come; well at least you have someone different to talk to in each race. Talking in the boat who does that????

Sorry, what is this report about? oh yes, the first ever 100m dash sprints in Great Britain...!!!!
Two heats for a combined time to get to the final, that was right, right? Sometimes I just don't know what is going on, we just get in and out of boats all day, stretch at least 15 times, (isn't that great? You get two weeks of stretching done in one day!!!) We made the final with our times, not the fastest of the day, but in the final no less.
How strange are 100m? Do a start, few more strokes and its over, and you don't even feel tired at the end, how bizarre!! Not sure if I liked them or not?
Well, we got to the major final and as per the heat Kingston were right up there with us, well done you guys. I have not mentioned who was NOT in the final, I am sure they are still sore about that, so I wont say another thing!!! Disqualified on your home turf, what's going on???

So, to the 500m, again, how many races did we do??
What I must mention is that WAM, for the first time, got straight to the semis, without having to do a rep, excellent stuff!
So, to the final, it was going to be a tough race, we needed a big start, in technical terms, as mentioned in prior reports, we needed to PLF! It was important, as the League depended on it.
Well, it took a bit of time to start, I counted 3 attempts, I hate that, you just want to get on with it. We had a big start, we did PLF and we did win. We were very happy to win. Well done to Thames who pushed us hard, and to Kingston who came 3rd. Its great we are all so close, as it's good for all the crews, everyone needs to be challenged to make the sport better.

We also had our Junior Team, Breakspear/Batchworth Aspire competing for the second time. They paddled well, and had to re-run the first heat, due to someone swapping lanes, imagine doing that eh??? They had lots of racing in the 100m and 500m events and ended up with the prize for the best junior team. Speaking to their team manger, they are really enjoying racing and training in Dragon Boating, its good to see youngsters enjoying the sport, and this is what we need to see more of, to keep the sport alive and kicking. Well done them!

What else, yes the party, well... There were some fantastic outfits, (not mine, Wilcos or Bad Hair), but the prize must go to Polly who had an amazing costume and what an entrance too!! The music was good, I knew all the songs, (hearing it from my brothers records you realise, not mine, I was far too young! ;-)) I can not divulge any gossip as I didn't see any, perhaps someone at the party with gossip can let us know?

Well, you can all wake up now, as I am going to finish this article. I hope that this was sufficiently rubbish that I will not be asked to do it again.
Well done to everyone who competed at the weekend and in the words of a great coach, "every team is important, as if you were not there, there would be no competition". Keep training hard everyone, and see you at the next race.
Good luck to all teams competing in Berlin... Bring it on...