18th October 2019

It's been another successful year for Lymington Rowing Club and we have secured another championship to add to our grand number over the last decade as well as two runner up spots in the sculling championships. Here is the season review for the 2019 campaign! (As with previous years, the categories are reviewed in order of the final championship placings and please note this is a review of the 2019 HDARA season, not Lymington's year as a whole).

Masters Over 40 Fours (Champions)

For the second year in a row, Lymington have won the Masters Over 40 Fours championship courtesy of the same crew that won our maiden title in the category last year. Marc Tremain, Mike Leyland-Jones, Hugo Mills, Peter Lock and cox Livvi Bull secured 7 points across the length of the season to win the green medals at next months prize-giving in (mostly) dominant fashion with Christchurch taking the runner's up spot. 

The season started well for them with a clear victory at Milford for the clubs host regatta where Evie Kite sat in as cox before they quickly added two more to their total and then a narrow win at Christchurch left them on four points from as many coxswains. Victory at Ryde and Shanklin had been straight forward but the win at Christchurch will prove to be their best of the season (at least) where they had to fight a talented crew from the home club. 

Livvi Bull was a stand out on that day, producing a flawless course and brilliant buoy turn, allowing her crew to put in an inspired performance to capitalise on Christchurch's mistakes and win the race by only a few feet. Christchurch would ultimately exact revenge, ending the crews 16 race unbeaten streak, at Newport but further wins for the lads at Swanage, Poole (where they secured the title for the second time in a row) and Itchen left them as worthy champions.

Women's Senior Scull (First overall)

Lymington did, in fact, finish top of the tree in two championships this season but Livvi Bull's sole victory in the Women's Senior Scull category wasn't enough to win her the championship. The rules are quite clear in that three races must take place in order for a championship to be won in that category and the Women's Senior Scull category only raced once - at Weston Shore where Livvi late entered and beat Poole's Katie Crane - meaning it's not an official championship win.

Women's Junior Scull (Second overall)

Club captain Livvi Bull went through the strange situation of going from underdog to favourite and back again in one season. Starting the 2019 campaign, there was an expectation that Kath Jones (BTC) would prove to be a challenge for Liv and started the season as the likely favourite. However, when Liv took the first win of the season at Milford with Jones absent, and then went on to beat youngster Maddie McGregor-Ritchie at Swanage, Liv became the sculler to beat. 

Ultimately, the Itchen sculler proved to be a rising star and pinched a win at Southsea in controversial circumstances before earning herself far more clear wins, at Liv's expense unfortunately, led to McGregor-Ritchie securing the title in emphatic style at her home regatta. Liv put up a good fight and finished as the runner up for the season, the very least she had earned despite a bit of a wobble at Coalporters, so it's a good second place for the club, even if Liv herself was disappointed not to get the title.

Had Poole not been rearranged due to the weather when Liv had momentum and had her buoy turn not been out of line at Southsea by such a distance, costing her the win there, it could have been a very different story. But luck is a big part of any sport and, on this occasion, it wasn't in Lymington's favour.

Livvi still ends the season as Lymington's most successful member with nine wins in the scull and cox seat combined. 

Second place is recognised in the official results at the end of the season.

Women's Novice Scull (Second overall)

The novice championships are normally club championships and not earned by an individual crew or sculler, but Lymington secured the runner's up spot thanks to a solo effort from J16 Ellie Potter. 

Finishing second to Maddie McGregor-Ritchie in the first two races of the season left Ellie as a possible favourite, before Emily Faithful from Shanklin appeared on the scene at her home regatta and secured wins both there and at Shanklin. Ellie then missed out again at Poole, finishing second to Andre (a Shanklin sculler who already had one win from 2018) which left the LARC sculler with four second places. 

Eventually Ellie would get her wins, firstly in rough conditions at Weston Shore before she secured a very hard fought win over late season favourite Pip Hiscock (who was more than a handful for the higher status scullers as well) to not only earn her promotion but also win Lymington one half of the runner's up spot, pinching that half off BTC who would have taken it had Hiscock won. 

Ellie actually finished the season top of the table thanks to her second place finishes, ahead of the championship winning Shanklin scullers, but the way the championship is set up means Lymington take a very nice runner's up spot.

Second place is recognised in the official results at the end of the season.

Men's Junior Scull (Third overall)

Like the women's category, this is another case of what might have been for Richard Wadsworth. Starting the season strong with a Lymington 1-2 at Milford, Waddy went on to win at Ryde before a controversial race at Shanklin saw him miss out on a third point. Waddy's championship lead survived another 6 weeks before Will Gibbs of Poole ultimately drew level and only overtook Waddy with two races left to run. 

A valiant effort from Waddy in uncomfortable conditions at Weston Shore saw him push Gibbs right to the end but he ultimately missed out on the championship. However, a third win for Southsea sculler Elder (who won all three of his races this season) saw Waddy knocked down into third on the last day of the season. 

Again, like Liv, things might have been so different had luck been on Lymington's side. Waddy would have been one of the favourites for a possible point at Poole had it taken place when it was originally supposed to and had Newport Small Boats Head not been cancelled, Waddy could potentially have been 4 points up by the time Gibbs really hit his stride.

Women's Novice Fours (Joint third overall)

Lymington's Women's Novice Fours crew of Anna Melin, Ellie Potter, Lena Mills, Eliza Butchers and cox Livvi Bull, all coached voluntarily by Tim Bull, took an excellent win at Christchurch regatta to secure their required victory for promotion to junior status. They had to race four times on the course through heats, a quarter final, semi-final and a the final against Ryde School Boat Club but kept their heads well to take a dominant win in the end.

With Lymington, as a club, only securing a one win, the girls finish the season in joint third place with six other clubs who all also only one once. With the one win and up rule for the novice fours (unlike the single scull) it's difficult to work out where anyone should have finished with the exception of the officially recognised champions and runner's up, so we'll credit the girls with a joint third as no-one else secured more wins outside the top 2.

Women's Junior Pairs (Joint fourth overall)

Kirsty Melin and Jane Wild earned Lymington a decent fourth place spot in the Women's Junior Pairs category. They raced a handful of times and had a season's best result of second place at Lymington's home regatta of Milford as well as a third place later on in the campaign at Hamworthy Park in Poole. They got the exact same results as a pair from Poole so the two clubs finish the season level.

Other results:

Lymington had four 5th place finishes. Alex Barnes was fifth in the Men's Junior Sculls championship with four seconds and two thirds, the most top 3 finishes of any sculler in his category, including the champion. Lymington were fifth place overall in the Men's Senior Fours thanks to a single, but very good, third place finish at Weston Shore. The Junior-Senior Fours crew also finished fifth overall thanks to their single third place at Milford (in which Brian Goodall's last minute appearance saw LARC claim a Victor Ludorum winning point) and the Ladies Masters crew were also fifth thanks to a second and a third. 

Ellie Potter secured two wins and two seconds in the Girls J16 scull while Tim Bull was very successful in the non-championship Masters Over 50 Fours (with composite crews) with a handful of wins. 

Lymington also had entries, but no further podiums, in the Men's Novice Scull, Women's Junior Four and Men's Senior Pair.

Special mentions:

A big well done to all the J16 crews that raced this year in both the 2019 season and at Itchen Junior Regatta last month, winning several races.

Last, but not least, Sam Botting takes the award for themost different categories raced: he competed in the Men's Senior Fours, Junior-Senior Fours, Senior Pair, Junior Scull and Novice Scull categories.

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