Day out in Sunny Stockton on Teeside!

At last a racing day again after all the issues with weather etc,  all be it a very early start from Worcester for a lot of us. Those who went the night before were probably the saner people !

Brenda did a stirling job in our vehicle keeping us awake even though we might have wanted to sleep ?!

Well shorn of many of the stalwards and with the gallant GB paddlers still recovering from the week before’s exertions, a hardy mix (or motley crew, whichever suits your thinking?!) of dragons and dragonflies congregated in one boat to do battle in the sunshine at a very pleasant water sport facility, and battle they did !

From the first race, this assortment of paddlers galvanised into a team that typifies the Worcester Dragons spirit, battling to win the first 200m race by the slimmest of margins finishing with a time of 54.79. This was a rare novelty for those of us who normally paddle with the Dragon flies who’s record of wins on the first race of the day is as rare as sightings of Lord Lucan !

A fine if not less than perfect path was taken to the 200m major final, coming second to Notts Anaconda in the semi final. (Worcs 53.78, Notts 53.56), disappointing though coming fourth in a tight final with a time of 54.44

Medal winning grand master helm Nigel though made sure we reflected on these results and did not get carried away by the initial wins by making us acutely aware that we could do better.  A mantra of Nigel’s through out the day by the way !

Nigel has obviously been watching a lot of the Olympics and his other mantra for the day of challenge and embrace the pain to get through to the pearly gates was borne of his admiration of particulary the rowers in the Olympics. This was a visualisation taken on board by the crew who with every race inspired to go through the barriers and torture to reach the goal on the other side. I have never heard so much grunting in a boat, particulary in the 500 m semi final and major final in the pursuit of beating allcomers !!

Culmulation of this was the tremendous combined effort in the 500 m races to beat stronger boats who were no where near as depleted as ourselves in terms of personnel and finish second behind, yes again Notts Anaconda ( Notts 2.17.19, Worcs 2.17.63)in the 500 m semi final and finish with a fine second behind Amathus (Amathus 2.07.61, Worcs 2.11.34) in the major 500 m final and at last beat Notts in this final !.

Special mentions go to all particulary the team managers who had as usual the tricky decision of rotation so all of us were able to paddle and the paddlers who took the rotation so well and supported the boat superbly from the sidelines with assistance on launching etc and vocal support. The accolade for vocal support does go to Brenda who’s dulcit tones I believe could be heard in Newcastle although on one occasion she did get carried away and supported the wrong crew who she thought were racing but were in fact only about 5 yard away from her. But hey you cannot put a price on passion !

Another accolade for the day goes to Kevin who, like most of us who attended the prize giving thinking we were getting bling for finishing second in the 500 m major final. So when the compere put over that Worcester in her view had finished fourth, a few choice words and major glare from Kevin put her right and we received our just reward. !!

To end this report the major things to come out of the days racing were again the competitive, fighting spirit of Worcester Dragons, the togetherness of the entire crew and the willingness to confront the situations, drive through the pain and strive to achieve. We who are normally Dragonflies stepped up to the plate, we were not going to let the team down and we reached new heights. We now know we can do it, we have the effort, desire, skills and commitment to be better let’s now take this new found confidence and ability into our remaining matches and show everyone that not only are the dragons a force to be reckoned with by the other teams but so are the dragonflies !!!