The Wraysbury Eye – October 2015


Well, the season has finished now, and it is time to slip into ‘Winter’ mode, but this year we expect to see more and continued activity on the river, rather than disappearing into hibernation.

The last sprint skiffing regatta of the season was hosted by Wraysbury and once again was the regatta with the most races – 51… not a lot compared to the ‘old’ days that some of our readers will remember (please don’t remind us of Friday night heats for Wraysbury & Old Windsor Regatta again and the 1939 programme in the club showing as a 2-day regatta!), but that is where the sport is now; there were also 8 punting races, again a sign of the times, and as some regattas did not even put on punting this year, that was a considerable achievement.

We were particularly pleased to win the Ladies, Gents and Mixed Entrant Doubles events with multiple crews entered from WSPC covering people fresh off our learn-to-row courses, some of our dragon boaters and some people who have been around a little bit longer, but were still eligible for this category.

A really big thank you goes out to Carol Cornell for organising these learn-to-row courses and all those who helped her, and continuing to organise sessions for them to improve further over the winter months to come.

The dragon boaters finished the season by winning the inaugural Mixed League claiming a new trophy which adorns the bar; it is not dissimilar to the old Sekos Trophy donated by Freddy Tompkins awarded for the Local Dongola event at Wraysbury & Old Windsor Regatta…. for our older readers who will remember it.

The new Mixed League was a shadow league in that there were actually no mixed races, so the same crew also finished 3rd in the Premier League, which is a tremendous feat racing against the crews with predominantly male paddlers.

At the National Cup event held at Nottingham’s Holm Pierrpont, racing with reduced numbers due to other commitments, the crew finished 2nd in the Mixed 200m and the Open 1000m on the Saturday and 3 in the Mixed 500m and 4th in the Open 500m on the Sunday.


General Club Stuff

Lights – the evenings have truly closed in now, so please make sure you go out on the river with 2 lights on your boat; if any are damaged or not working, please let Phil Costello or Steve Myhill know, so they can get them repaired or get new ones.

Wednesday Evenings – Winter Circuits – these continue, but in ‘Winter’ mode from 19.00 for a 19.15 start… there will be hot food served afterwards. As usual, all are welcome.

Thursday Evenings – the main Club evening will continue over the Winter months and there will be hot food served afterwards. While Wednesday is predominantly, but not exclusively dragon boaters, we expect there to be skiffing on Thursday night, so numbers will be more variable, so it would help if you could let Dave Taylor know if you are coming down and will be staying for food so we can gauge numbers… it will not be as ‘grand’ as Imo’s Summer Thursday nights fare!

Saturday/Sunday Mornings – Aimed at our newbies there are sessions at 11.00 and 8.30 respectively, so it doesn’t take all day; others are always welcome to coach and to partake.

Sunday Mornings – the Club is always open on a Sunday morning, the dragon boat will go out at 10.00 and all are welcome to come down and train.

Pewter Tankards – the collection has been slowly but steadily growing and we are now going to cash them in, so if you have some that you would like to donate, now is a good time to give them to the Club. There is a black plastic dustbin in the corner of the clubhouse by the serving hatch to put them 

British Rowing Almanacks – there are a number left from previous years that we are selling for £5 each now to try to recoup some of the money the club has to spend on them as part of the agreement with British Rowing to publish details of Skiffing; we have them available for 2003, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. If you would like one, please speak to Dave Taylor.

Recycling – We continue to try to do our bit for the environment, so another reminder of what the procedure is at the Club; there is a blue plastic recycling crate/box in the kitchen that takes all types of recycling – plastic, paper/card, glass and tins; to avoid confusion, there is only one rubbish bin in the kitchen with a bin liner in it – this is for rubbish; please do not put rubbish in the blue recycling box, or recycling in the rubbish bin. Behind the bar, there are 3 bins… one for rubbish and two others ideally split into bottles for one and plastic and cans in the other.

Club Kit – Just another reminder, particularly with Christmas upon us soon, or even winter training, that while it is not on display, we do have club kit in stock, particularly children’s; there are children’s hoodies, t-shirts and caps covering various age groups up to 16; the ones for the older children will fit our more petite adults. There are adult polo shirts, caps, racing zephyrs, dragon boat tops and there are a small number of shorts left (M and XL). Please ask Dave Taylor if you need any club kit.

Egham Regatta – 800 Years of Magna Carta Medals – it was perhaps a little ambitious to ask £10 each for the medals that were left over, so there is now an instant sale of these at £5 each before they are listed on eBay to help try and recoup some of the extra cost of staging the regatta this year. Please ask Dave Taylor if you want one.

Runnymede 2015 – A book of pictures celebrating the year and all the activities around Magna Carta has been produced by a local photographer if anybody is interested; you may even spot some Wraysbury members, such as Jeff Wattley in full ‘uniform’ performing his official duties.


Calendar of Events for the remainder of 2015

Below is the calendar for the remaining events for 2015 covering the general use of the Clubhouse for events or by outside organisations.

Saturday 30th JanuaryCrew Supperevening

Date Activity Time
Saturday 7th November Hermes Runners use WSPC as base 6.30am till 5pm
Saturday 7th November Bonfire Party & Fireworks early Evening
Saturday 14th November British Dragon Boat Association Congress All Day
Saturday 28th November Winter Wonderland Ball Evening
Sunday 20th December Christmas Drinks & Nibbles 12.00 onwards


On the Water


Please let us know if there is any damage to blades so they can receive attention. You can write this on the white board on the boathouse door; similarly, if there is any damage to a skiff that you spot, or it leaks (i.e. you have to sponge a lot of water out of it after an outing), please also write this on the board so we can do something about it.

Over the winter, there will be boat cleaning sessions, which is an important part of their annual maintenance programme (John Dymott will be organising this, so please support him) and the much used Novice and Junior blades need cleaning, rubbing down and varnishing; we will let you know when these sessions are so you can all join in.

Prior to the Doubles Marathon the SRA website was updated with the results so far and these can be found here…

Results –

Ormiston points –

Veteran Pennant –

Junior Pennant –

We have not done very well again this year, but we hope with the enthusiasm of our new members and support for them, that this will improve in successive seasons, much as TVSC has over the last few seasons on the back of their learn to row courses.

Most Improved Skiffer of the Year – This award is made annually by the Skiff Racing Association and judged by the Umpires Sub-Committee, however we decided not to put in an entry this year, as with so little activity and so few wins, it was not felt appropriate, although there were fine displays by Paddy O’Neill at only 16 racing in the adult categories and by Peter MacDonald winning 2 Entrant events at the Club regatta.

Sat 22nd Aug – Walton Reach Regatta – Rowan O’Neill won the J14 Singles and Paddy O’Neill won the Gents Novice Singles, thus elevating him to Junior status.

Sun 30th Aug – Skiff Championships Regatta – Our soles entries were from the O’Neill’s, but Paddy had to withdraw with injury, so Rowan did everything!

Sat 5th Sept – Skiff Club Regatta – We had no entries for this event.

Sat 12th Sept – Great River Race – This year we did something slightly different and with support from Runnymede Borough Council entered the Mayors Riparian Challenge category with John Dymott, Phil Costello, Ken Ducas and our Mayors representative/passenger/skiffer was Hannah Matheson; as a skiff, the crew appear in all sorts of categories, but they came 130th, were 121st on time, 37th in the Veteran category, 69th in the 4 oared category, 26th in the Thames based category, 5th in the Riparian Challenge and lastly, 10th in the Thames Skiff category. Well done to John for organising it and completing his first GRR. 

Sat 19th Sept – DSPC Regatta – We had no entries for this event.

Sat 19th Sept – Lowe & Davis, Chuter & Churchill – after a lot of debate and trying hard to source crews for the Gents side, it was decided not to enter any crews this year.

Sat 26th Sept – WSPC Regatta – The last event of what has been a very busy season for hosting events at Wraysbury and perhaps disappointing so many people were not around to help; nevertheless the event happened, people helped where they could and it was still well run with a tired bunch sitting down in the evening to some food to watch England lose to Wales in the Rugby World Cup.

We had a good day on the water, particularly in the Entrants level, where we won Ladies Doubles (Dawn McAdam and Helen Walker coxed by Imo), Gents Doubles (Peter Macdonald and Peter Garside-Quin coxed by Paddy) and Mixed Doubles (Peter Macdonald and Deborah Broadhurst coxed by Imo); Peter Garside Quinn was also the loosing finalist in the Gents Entrant Singles; Dawn and Peter were fresh off the learn to row course and Helen is from the dragon boat section; Ian Bowers, John Wennington and Martin Corless from the dragon boat section also competed. These were the only status events we won, but we also won the Family Doubles, with of course the O’Neill’s – Paddy and Rowan, but it was also good to see the Bennett family racing, and we also won the Gents Invitation Doubles with the O’Neill’s yet again winning in an all Wraysbury final against Phil Costello and Dave Bowyer. Dad Mike coxed both O’Neill crews. Sophie Bennett won the dinghy race… a chip of the old block.

The full results for all events are attached to the Eye email.

Perhaps a bit controversial and a big change from the norm of prize tankards or medals these days, the winners were all awarded fine bone china mugs with the Club crest on, the regatta date, the Magna Carta 800 years and 2 pictures, one of ‘Old Tone’ Punting and one of a ‘fan’ of skiffs moored outside the Club.

Needless to say, in these challenging financial times for a regatta with low entry levels, they were much, much cheaper than the traditional prizes…. and you can actually use them!

I’m sure opinion will be divided on them, but there was a lot of good feedback.

Sat 10th Oct – SRA Singles Marathon – We had no entries for this event.

Sun 18th Oct – SRA Doubles Marathon – We had 2 crews entered for the final event of the season, Gareth Bennett and Steve Myhill Gents Veteran and Peter MacDonald and Peter Garside Quinn in the Gents Novice; both crews were coxed/coached/cajoled round by Carol Cornell.


Sat 26th Sept – WSPC Regatta – Dave Taylor and Tony Cross raced at the Club Regatta, but not together; Tony lost in the final of the Punting in Canoes to Mike Hart and Tony and Peter Williams of DSPC beat Mike Hart of DSPC and Dave Taylor in the final of the Classified & Drawn Doubles Handicap.

And that was the WSPC punting season!

Dragon Boating

The season has now finished with Wraysbury Dragons winning the inaugural Mixed League and coming 3rd with the same crew in the Premier League.

The final league tables are below. The maximum number of points if all events were attended was 128, so only 2 points were dropped on the way to the Mixed League title and 13 in the Premier League.

Mixed League 2015

Position Crew Races Points
1 Wraysbury 8 126
2 Worcester Dragons 8 117
3 Cambridgeshire Royals 8 93
4 Thames Taniwas 8 90
5 Raging Dragons 7 87
6 Notts Anaconda 7 77
7 Hurricanes 6 65
8 Bristol Empire Dragons 6 61
9 Henley 3 40
10 Kingston Royals 3 36
11 Powerhouse 3 34
12 St Neots 4 32
13 Exe-Calibre 4 29
14 Typhoon 2 4 21
15 Windy Pandas 2 18
16  Worcester Dragonflies 1 6


National League 2015 Premier Division

Position Crew Races Points
1 Amathus 8 128
2 Typhoon Tigers 8 119
3 Wraysbury 8 115
4 Worcester Dragons 8 109
5 Raging Dragons 8 91
6 Thames Taniwas 8 82
7 Notts Anaconda 8 69.5
8 Secklow 100 8 69
9 Pershore Phoenix 7 60
10 Hurricanes 8 58
11 Crusaders 4 27
= Exe-Calibre 4 27

19th Aug Wed – Sun World Championships – Welland – Canada

Well done to all the Wraysbury Dragons who competed in the World Championships.

The Grand Dragons returned with 3 bronzes in the 2000m, 1000m and 500m and they came 4th in the 200m.

The Senior A’s returned with wins in the minor final in the 2000m, 1000m, 500m and 200m events in the standard 20 person boat, but when they split up to race in the men’s and women’s events in the smaller 10 person events, the women won 4 gold medals and the men 4 bronze medals.

Sun 30th Aug – Worcester – This was perhaps our finest event, as it was just one week after the World Championships finished with most of our GB paddler still away on holiday; we only managed to put a team in by including 4 guests from The Rafters and Penny Thompson, the Grand Dragons Drummer had to paddle again (as she did at Exeter and Royal Albert Dock) to ensure we had the required quota of women for a mixed crew; we raced with only 16 people, the minimum allowed, as did a number of crews at the event, where crews made a big effort to compete, even with depleted numbers. Our target was to not concede any ground to Worcester, our closest rivals in the Mixed League and we came away with exactly the same points, which was in effect a WIN; there was a lot of wash hanging at this event, which spoilt the 200m racing to some extent, but in the long distance race, where this was not possible, Wraysbury finished an impressive 3rd with their ‘select’ sixteen paddlers.

Sun 6th Sept – Royal Albert Dock – Back to business as usual with a full crew, a buoyed course and no wash hanging, with 2 3rd place finishes in the 200m and the 500m ahead of our nearest Mixed League rivals to secure our League Champions position.

Sat/Sun 19th/20th Sept – DBA National Cup – Holm Pierrepont – Nottingham – having considered what we did last year and the fact that we only had the bare minimum of paddlers for the mixed events, it was decided to only do 2 events each day, rather than do everything. Racing with only 16 in the Mixed events and 18 in the Open events, 2 2nd places were claimed on the Sat in the 200m Mixed and the 1000m Open, while on Sun with a bit of a changed crew we were 3rd in the 500m Mixed and 4th in the 500m Open.

Sun 11th Oct – The Wraysbury Wanders, as they named their crew, did a 10K raft race in Leominster, Herefordshire; our adversaries The Rafters do pretty well when they get into a dragon boat, particularly on long distance races like the HWS, so would dragon boaters fare as well when they got on a raft, some for the first time? Apparently so! The crew of Ian Bowers, Peter Kruzelnicki from Hurricanes who was nominated to steer, Mick Roche and John Wennington came second in the men’s category beating some of the best raft crews in the country. The race was on a narrow and shallow river including 3 180 degree turns making overtaking interesting.

Sun 18th Oct – HWS I – This weekend saw the start of the Henley Winter Series, which this year has been turned into a full Mixed event (i.e. you have to race with the BDA requisite number of women in the crew to qualify) and is squeezed into the months before Christmas to try and get the better river conditions and avoid cancellations. Wraysbury will try to retain their title; the change to a mixed event does not exclude the Rafters, who also have ladies and mixed rafting crews and once again they were first home, but in second place, only 45 seconds behind were Wraysbury, only overtaken on the second turn, rather than nearer the first turn.

The remaining dates are…….

Sunday 8th November

Sunday 29th November

Sunday 13th December

Sunday 17th Jan 2016 – Contingency

Sunday 7th Feb 2016 – Contingency

Sunday 28th Feb 2016 – Contingency.


Forthcoming Events

A full program of social events has now been planned out by our new ‘Party Girl’ Social Secretaries starting with…..

There have been separate notices about these, so please, please support the Club and put them in your diary, order tickets and buy you firework


Work Party – thanks have already gone out for a successful work party to accomplish various jobs we can do ourselves around the Club, largely for free; these events also foster good Club spirit and a sense of achievement.

  • Mow the lawn
  • Clear the leaves
  • Clear the gutters and put back the anti-squirrel mesh
  • Jet wash the decking and ramp
  • Clean the windows outside on the decking side
  • Lop the overhanging branches on the drive and over the slipway
  • Put the dory under the clubhouse and sort out other stuff underneath

Further focussed work parties will be planned over the winter months to keep the Club, its grounds and equipment in good shape.

Hatch, Match & Despatch

Some more good news for a change…..

We wish Mary Cooley and her partner best wishes on the birth of their son; there is probably a British Dragon Boat Association rule against it, but we raced the early part of the season before Mary found it too uncomfortable (or was it unsafe?) carrying an extra little person in the boat.

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