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Best result for a quarter of a century at Fours Head

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Four Putney Town crews took to the Championship course for the 2015 Fours’ Head of the River race. Conditions were challenging, with strong gusts across the early stages and an unpleasant head wind beyond Hammersmith making life difficult. Poor conditions on the Tideway, however, are ideal for Town crews to take home advantage, with the men’s IM1.4- finishing higher than any PTRC crew for over 25 years! The vice captains report:

WIm1.4- Sophie Bluff (Str), Grace Stonehouse, Lucy Harper, Jennie Dawson (steers)
‘Calamity Crew’ (a title earned through various clumsy rowing misadventures) took to the Thames for their first race in IM1 category. As well as stepping up to a higher category, there was also a grudge match with Curlew at stake, with a recent Curlew defector, Grace, sat in our 3 seat. In an awkward marshalling situation which can only be described as an ex-boyfriend meeting their new shiny replacement, the ‘new boyfriend’ got ready to flex their biceps.

We had a strong race start, and rapidly gained on Curlew. As we approached the White Hart we already had overlap, and were urged on by the strong Town support from the banks! As we passed underneath Barnes bridge there was an interlocking of blades, with our 3 seat really putting the pressure down….but the new boyfriend had triumphed and we started to increase our lead. Using Curlew and the various junior quads that had started to gain on us, we pushed off and settled into a solid rhythm. Special kudos goes to bow woman wonder Jennie who steered the course like a pro. Things got interesting when we then hit the wall of wind at Harrods. The general consensus of the crew was that it was the worst water we had ever rowed on; airshots were thrown and some crabs were caught to keep things spicy, but we kept our rate and pushed onto the end. Final results proved that the Town were a worthy upgrade on Curlew with almost a minute lead, and we had been gaining on an experienced IM1 Mortlake crew with only 18 seconds between us. Overall, a great race – bring on the rest of the season!

WIm2.4+ Stacey Crocker (Str), Emma Flynn, Rosabella Styles, Deborah Oakley, Camilla Lister (cox)
Racing the tideway always comes with it’s challenges. And this years fours head was no exception. The rain can be coped with but the wind was horrific. A course we are all very familiar with, we had planned our race start to finish. We started off very strong, punchy and keen. Cam our cox steered an amazing course throughout, it was great to have her calls of encouragement and support. We were overtaken by crews behind, but we didn’t let this beat us, we held on to them, we didn’t let them get away. We were strong. And then… Suddenly as if from no where, another crew careered into us. Both boats at a halt. Probably no more than a 1000m to go this was a massive blow. What felt like forever but was probably more like 5 seconds, we started off again, we had to make some impact here and push to the end of the course. We kept our composure through the knock back and didn’t let it affect our performance. We rated high for the finish line, and ended the race feeling frustrated, but proud of a great hard hitting race in adverse weather and racing conditions.

Im1.4- Rob Blair (str), Gianni Galvotti, Dave Dearlove, Sam Diserens (steers)
The coxless four put in a strong performance, working their way steadily through a number of the nearby boats. Coping well with rough conditions off Harrod’s wall they managed to power through the wind and waves, overtaking crews from Vesta and Molsey in the process. Eventually coming 15th out of a large field of 43 crews the boat came only 1 minute behind the winners of the senior 4- category, (Tideway Scullers – arguably the fastest ‘club’ crew racing in this boat class), this gave a final finishing position of 86th, one of the highest in Putney Town’s recent history.

IM2.4+ Cyrille Martin (str), Stephen Crookbain, Ben Burston, Richard Benton, Alice Little (cox)
The coxed four also put in a strong performance, beating several higher category IM1 4+ crews, but suffered due to a lack of water time in the build-up to the race. Thanks go to Alice, for stepping into the hot seat for her first race for Putney Town.

Results:
Im1.4- 86th
Im2.4+ 283rd
W.Im1.4- 337th
W.Im2.4+ 366th