26th July 2019

Lymington suffered a difficult day at Coalporters Regatta last Saturday as both their championship hopefuls hit road blocks on their path to medals at the end of the season. Neither Livvi Bull nor Richard Wadsworth came away with the results they needed at the Southampton-based venue and it was a frustrating day for the pair.

In the Women's Junior Sculls, Livvi's early elimination was a big surprise and she wasn't at 100% for the brutal flat water course. Beaten by quick novice sculler Hiscock, racing up in the higher category for BTC, Livvi was then a surprise admission from the fastest loser times as well. She only missed out on qualification by one second but Charlotte Starkey and Emily Faithful both progressed, two scullers that Livvi has had the better of in the past. 

It does, however, take all the pressure off Livvi now going into this weekend's Itchen Regatta where the expectation will be on Maddie McGregor-Ritchie to secure the title on home water and at her home club's regatta - a big mental test for the youngster, despite her clear talent.

Things panned out slightly better for Waddy but only slightly. The plan seemed to be on track when he saw off a strong challenge from Sam Erwin of Christchurch. The two have had their battles before, normally in Waddy's favour, and the Lymington man did have to work for this one as well, eventually taking the heat win by three lengths.

But it was in the semi-finals that things got a little more controversial, at least as far as the crews were concerned. With Wadsworth and championship rival Will Gibbs in a close battle for instant progression into the final, with Jonjo Findlay a very narrow third, a yacht pulled out across all three scullers and forced the race to be abandoned.

The race was immediately restarted, as per Hants and Dorset rules, but Waddy wasn't able to push as hard the second time around compared to his younger opponents and had to settle for third. Findlay, racing up from novice status, put in a great performance to beat Gibbs as well and the effect of back-to-back races meant that the fastest loser spot for the final went to Joel Smith of Ryde in the other semi-final.

This meant that only one of the three realistic championship contenders made the final, with the win going to Elder of Southsea. He is now level first but isn't scheduled to attend any further regattas. Remarkably, Waddy remains championship leader, albeit level with Gibbs and Elder, despite not having claimed a point in over two months. Smith is also in contention with his sole win from Swanage. 

There were positives for Lymington however. Tim Bull, who was racing in two composite crews throughout the afternoon in the Masters categories, did come away with a race win for Lymington.

He raced and won the Masters Over 50 Fours Final with a composite crew withBTC. They held off Poole by a handful of lengths with Christchurch, who also had a Poole rower in their boat to confuse matters, finishing third. That Christchurch crew also had a Lymington connection with Livvi, Tim's daughter, sitting in the cox's seat.

Tim also raced with Christchurch in the Masters Over 40 Fours category and they were narrowly beaten by Poole, although an issue with their course possibly robbed them of a place in the final.

Alex Barnes put in easily his best performance of the season. On flat water, Alex only just missed out on automatic progression to the Men's Junior Sculls semi-finals but progressed through as the fastest loser before he very nearly made the final, missing out to eventual finalist Smith by two feet, with both scullers only a length down on semi-final winner Elder, who won the final.

Ellie Potter raced up from Novice status and was a close third in her heat to finalists Kath Jones (BTC) and Emily Faithful (Shanklin) showing great signs for next season whilst Sam Botting completed the course in a decent time to mark his sculling debut, less than two months after his first outing.

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