Henley Masters Regatta is held the weekend following the world famous Henley Royal Regatta and in its own right is becoming an internationally recognised event for Masters Oarsmen and Women.
This year 18 overseas clubs visited from as far afield as Australia and America. A glorious two full days of racing took place in strong sunshine and very warm temperatures but at times a very fierce head wind tested the racing oars people.
The Masters race is 1000 metres upstream starting beside the iconic Temple Island and rowing on the boomed Henley course to Upper Thames rowing club, the hosts.
Alison Inglis and Hilary Cairns of Berwick having enjoyed a fantastic season in Women’s C double Sculls made a trip to Henley as part of their season plan.
Racing commenced for Alison and Hilary on Friday where they were drawn against Commercial RC, Australia.
Nerves were obvious in the pre-race warm up however once attached to the start the Berwick ladies settled and knew what they had to do.
After a very fast start Alison and Hilary took an early lead and extended this several times over the course of the race, finishing in 4 mins 30 sec and given the winning verdict of ‘easily.’
Saturday brought Dart Totness in the semi-final. Again Alison and Hilary felt the pre race pressure of a straight knock out competition.
After a quick start Dart Totness and Berwick were fairly evenly matched however Berwick kept the pressure on and once into their race stride edged ahead and continued to extend their lead taking the win in a time of 4 mins 13 sec with one and a half lengths clear.
Alison and Hilary were delighted to be in the final. This they now knew was against a Reading/Strathclyde Composite crew.
In the final neither crew gave much over the initial start however Reading/Strathclyde pushed through the mid section of the course taking the win over Berwick in 4 mins 12 sec and three lengths clear.
Alison and Hilary despite being disappointed not to have won were delighted to have reached the final of such a prestigious competition.
The ladies now have 8 weeks of training ahead of them before they venture to The World Masters Championships in Belgium in September. This trip is being made possible by the generous support of Simpsons Malt Ltd and Macallan Distillers.