Adding excitement to the mix, two scratch fours were this year entered from the Club’s regular eight. With the crews entered on either side of the draw, there was every hope for an all-Sabrina final. But first, both crews had to get through their respective heats.
Sabrina B – consisting of Matt Walker, Club Treasurer Phil Wood, Pete Gadsden, Allister Hagger and cox, George Whitehead – were off first, with an early morning race against Bewdley RC.
With the course cut from the usual 1200m to 600m due to high water following days of heavy rain, it was going to be a sprint.
Lining up on the Quarry station, the crew came forward for the start of what was not only their first race but also their first outing together as a four.
And then they were off. Rating in the mid-40s, Sabrina B drew ahead quickly, despite having the disadvantage from the staggered start.
But Bewdley weren’t finished, refusing to give clear water as both crews battled under the Toll Bridge. The crews were almost bow to bow as they came alongside the cheering onlookers at RSSBC, with Bewdley pushing hard for the line.
But Sabrina stepped up the rate and power in the final quarter of the race, capitalising on what was now their advantage on the Quarry station to take the win by a length.
With one Sabrina four safely into the final, it was the A crew's turn to get through their first round and ensure victory for the Club for another year.
Sabrina A contained the other half of the current VIII – James Stuart at Stroke, 3 James Russell, 2 James Kynaston (sub), Bow Rob Morgan – who drew Northwich RC in the semi-final.
Again Sabrina drew the Quarry side and despite rolling up to the start line having not practised a start, quickly made up the length stagger and by the Toll Bridge were a length up. The crew then had the luxury of being able to take the rate down and cruise into the finish line with a couple of lengths clear water to spare.
With Club honours secure, it was now a battle for pride as the two crews lined up for the all-Sabrina final.
It would be nice to say it was a hard-fought battle. But despite having the disadvantage of the stagger, Sabrina A, on the Quarry station, executed a fine race, leading from the first few strokes, and only increasing their lead as Sabrina B battled stream and the outside of the bend.
Conclusion: a well-deserved victory for Sabrina A by two lengths and, of course, the pleasure of ribbing Sabrina B for the rest of the season!