Oh when they were up, they were up and when they were down they were down, and when they were only half way up they were neither up nor down! And so it felt after an eventful day in which there were new courses for Divs 1-6, a new software system helping to run the race and new paddlers in a new division 10. And after all that a fickle finger pushed a wrong key and the fun continued long after the racing had finished. Importantly, though, all was good in the end and it was great to see old and new friends coming to the club to renew racing rivalries and to marvel at the efforts of Darrin Hawkins and his team of willing helpers organise and create such a successful day.
The club were 3rd equal on the day with Elmbridge. The top 3 divisions were largely dominated by Royal and Elmbridge and it wasn’t until Div 5 where Dan Price had a good first outing in his new boat to take 3rd and earn himself promotion to 4.that the club found itself on the podium.
In Div 6, Sam Bicknell 3rd, Arthur Morley 5th and Nerys Hall 7th were putting some good winter training into good effect earning themselves promotion to Div 5 as did Jim Kew on his return from a shoulder injury and Anne Skeldon who partnered Patrick Guinnard to 4th in K2.
Ben Radford, who could have been following the Grand old Duke :-) , won div 7 and will be putting his talent to the test in Div 6 next time out.
Two junior ladies, Honor Lewis and Greta Roeser, were both keen to leave Div 8 behind them and join their mates in 7 and made no mistake on the day, coming in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

In Div 9 the club had no fewer than 7 promotions – 3 for the juniors and 4 for a more mature vintage.The highlight was David Hayman-Joyce who was tuned in on the day and produced the second fastest time behind Ben of the 4-mile course, thus winning Div 9 and earning himself a double promotion to 7. Not far behind him though was Felix Shetty who came 4th and was also celebrating a double promotion, before the fickle finger was corrected and Felix will, no doubt, be hoping to making it a short stay in Div 8. Kiera Comfort was our third junior promoted coming an excellent 7th in her first race. In his first race Alvaro Garcia just pipped Kiera taking 6th, Emma Watts was 8th, Neil Thom 9th (great effort after a swim on the start line in his first race) and Carol Ramplin was 11th.

The fun continues this Sunday at Maidstone and next Sunday at Tonbridge  Hope to see you there. Many thanks once again to all the volunteers and supporters that helped make the day so successful.

Enjoy your paddling.  Paul Thompson

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