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Monday, 19 February 2018
THE final round of the Henley Winter Series took place in last Sunday’s wind and rain, with Henley Dragons welcoming crews from Exeter, Bristol, Worcester, Liverpool, Milton Keynes, St Neots and London.
A previous round of the series had to be put off because the Environment Agency issued a status red warning in the days before the event and last Saturday with river levels and flow rates rising the agency issued an amber warning. That status remained unchanged for Sunday morning and the event went ahead for 11 dragon boats and three outrigger canoes.
Although conditions meant that crews posted slower times for the 7km pursuit, the results table showed the normal order. First home were Rafters, followed by Wraysbury, Amathus, Typhoon, Henley, Bristol, St Neots/Secklow composite, Raging, Exe-Calibre, Worcester and finally with an good performance in a 10-man boat, Exe-10.
Henley enjoyed chasing down Raging Dragons who started 45 seconds ahead, catching them on the upstream return just as the crews reached the Leander Club.
Both boats emerged from the arches of Henley Bridge with Raging Dragons just a nose ahead, but Henley helm Dave Rollinson had chosen the better race line.
The crews battled side by side, blades clashing occasionally and Raging’s helm pressing Henley towards the trees on the Eyot. Raging’s skipper repeatedly called for a burst, Henley skipper James Blake called for cool concentration as the battle continued upstream past both islands. Henley gradually pulled ahead and at the turn pressed home their advantage and sprinted the last 500 metres to the finish line.
In the points table for the 2016/17 Henley Winter Series, Henley missed out on third place by one point behind Exe-Calibre in third, Wraysbury second and Rafters top.
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