On the morning of Saturday 12 May the BBC weather report was certain that regatta day would be dry, if a little grey. However, those who attended will testify that the day involved several hours of sheltering under trees and umbrellas, and standing in tents. While it would have been nice to feel the warmth of the sun, the rain did not deter our rowers who achieved a strong set of results for the school, from our junior crews up to our 1st VIII.
Despite the wet weather, crowds of spectators gathered on the riverbank to support this special annual regatta and cheer the boats on. Old Bedfordians, Friends of Bedford School Boat Club (FOBSBC) and current parents congregated at the school’s enclosure to soak up the atmosphere, socialise, and reminisce while enjoying drinks and barbecued food.
The day kicked off at 8.25am with a race every two to three minutes until the last race at 7.35pm; an action-packed day for the normally placid Great Ouse. The Bedford School Boat Club had 14 crews racing across the course of the day and faced stiff competition from all the major rowing schools, who were in attendance. The Bedford School crews won 15 of their 33 races. Notable performances included the following:
- The 1st VIII produced the stand-out performance for the school. They beat Radley’s 1st VIII and then followed this up beating King’s Chester to reach the final of J18 VIIIs, where they lost to Shrewsbury.
- The Colts A, who started with a very early recording and excellent win over Abingdon’s 2nd VIII in the 1st race of the regatta. They eventually reached the final of Open 2 VIIIs where they lost to Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
- The J15 A crew had a very tight race with King’s Chester where they lost by just a canvas. However, they had much more success when they broke down into coxed fours. Both the A and B crews reached the finals of their respective events. Where the B crew beat St Paul’s to win the event, the A crew lost their final also to St Paul’s.
The J14 C and D crews both had successful days. The C crew beat King’s College School Wimbledon and the D crew managed to beat Abingdon’s C crew by six feet.
We would like to thank everybody from across the wider school community for their support and for remaining stoic until the end, especially as the weather conditions grew increasingly challenging. One Old Bedfordian and his partner had even come all the way from Sweden! Thank you also to all members of the FOBSBC and many other volunteers who helped with a huge variety of jobs. They were there from early in the day and kept everybody fed and refreshed in the main enclosure. A final thank you, as always, to Old Bedfordian and Regatta Secretary, Hugh Maltby, and his wife, Rachel, for all of their meticulous planning in the build up to this key ‘home fixture’ and careful coordination on the day.