Richmond Female Eight Wins HOTY

Eights from all around Australia descended on Melbourne on Saturday 27th November for the annual event of Head of the Yarra. The 8.6km course winding up stream from the city to Hawthorn is a challenge like no other and was contested by almost 200 crews. Following a week of heavy rain (and race day was no exception) the river was flowing strongly adding to the gruelling conditions and testing the skill and endurance of all involved.
Richmond were strongly represented by 4 crews and first off were the women’s D grade eight superbly coxed (and coached) by Derek Begg. The girls overtook the boat in front and powered on to the close the gap of five minutes to the gentlemen’s masters. After some anxious moments at the very narrow Leonda Bridge they charged home in a time of 37:23. Content with a job well done they sheltered from the rain with a few bottles of bubbles back at Geri’s humble abode. Meanwhile the mixed eight took to the water, coached by Anthea Amos. Their early morning training sessions and hard work at the Bairnsdale training camp all culminated in a great row.
Richmond had two men’s C grade eights competing in a hard fought division consisting of 19 crews. Simon Crunden’s squad coxed by Joe Lian-Lloyd beautifully navigated the course in the shiny new Schouten Family eight passing crews within the first kilometre. It was great to see RRC President, Emma Catford back in a boat this time coxing the men’s eight coached by Franziska Locher. With a whole crew who had never raced the prestigious event they set off up the river and again took a great line around the bends of the Yarra. The cox is a key component of any crew and as was witnessed by the crowds gathered and cheering on the infamous ‘Big Bend’ the benefit of local knowledge of the course is priceless and Richmond provided this with both Mike Numa and Nicole Stupka stepping up to cox crews from other clubs.
When crossing the line all crews celebrated being a part of such a great event and despite the at times relentless rain everyone enjoyed the festive atmosphere created by the host club of Hawthorn. To the surprise and thrill of all involved Derek Begg received a phone call from the Head of Rowing, Justin Thomas, to confirm the women’s D eight had won their division! In disbelief we checked the times but there was no mistake when Richmond’s name was called and the girls received their medals. The crew of Sophie Robinson, Karen Doggett, Tamara Mayfield, Geraldine Goss, Susie Ballantyne, Anthea Amos, Rochelle Stokes and Kate Dyball celebrated the clubs first win in seven years in this classic sporting event. The fun didn’t stop there as the crews still had to row their boats back to the city so with the boys kitted out in school uniform and the girls proudly displaying their bling and gold sequinned superhero capes and eye masks we headed for home.
After all that rowing a well deserved dinner was served up at the clubhouse HOTY after party. DJ Alex then kicked the party into action and as the drinks continued to flow the dancing and enjoyment was infectious. Thanks to the boys squad for organising the festivities and I’ll take this opportunity to remind you that if you missed this party don’t let it happen again. In only 2 weeks RRC will be rocking again with the Christmas dinner on Thursday 16th December so put your name down now on the signup board.
A huge well done to all the competitors and everyone who took part in the day or contributed to the build-up of what was a truly a memorable event.
Karen Doggett