BDA – London Event
Henley Dragons, psyched up from receiving the Premier and Youth GB Team mates back into the team, made their way to their last race of the season in London, Surrey Docks. Typhoon Dragon Boat Team were the hosts for the last race. The sun was shining and Henley equip with 20 paddlers were ready to take on the competition and end on a high.
The racing schedule consisted of 200m and 400m sprints in a jam packed day. James Blake, Henley Dragons Head Coach, gave the team a vital team talk ahead of each race talking tactics and team cohesion. Henley were up first, first race of the day, against Notts Anaconda. Filled with first race nerves, Henley set off with a cracking start leaving Notts Anaconda in their wake. With this under their belt, Henley progressed through the semi finals into the major final against Typhoon and Wraysbury. Staying in contention throughout the whole race, Henley came in third in a time of 50:09. Wraysbury secured second in 49:58 and Typhoon in first place at 47:33.
Over the lunch, Henley ladies teamed up with Bristol ladies to form a composite team called West Country Beauties, and despite no training together, came 4th out of 12 ladies teams. The Burners youth team did themselves proud once again by motoring home in 1st place against their rivals.
The afternoon races consisted of the longer 400m sprints. Due to the overrunning schedule, it was decided to scrap the heats and go straight from first round into semi finals then finals. Continuing the enthusiasm and positivity from the Henley team, Henley motored to the major grand final where they faced Wraysbury and Typhoon once again. It was already apparent that Wraysbury were league winners this year, but still had everything to showcase, especially in the last race of the season. Henley nailed their start, powering off the line in first position. Typhoon, known for their speed once up and running fought back and took the lead ahead of Wraysbury and Henley. Wraysbury and Henley fought it out, stroke by stroke in what was an exciting grand final. Strong tactical calls were made, and the Henley crew responded, right to the drive for the line around 50metres out. Henley completely emptied their tanks. It was too close to call. Wraysbury gave Henley a guard of honour as they came off the water, it was pretty special. Henley nipped Wraysbury to second place by 0.2seconds. An epic final race of the season! Truly well done Henley Dragons.
Judging from the strong talent coming forward, if Henley were able to field a crew for all races they’d of been jostling the top teams in the league table rankings. For those races Henley attended, they made other crews sit up and pay attention.
Henley now look forward to the Nationals in Nottingham at the end of September, where they’ll be fielding an open, mixed, ladies and seniors crews. Let’s see what they can do over this weekend.