ROWING: Pride in defeat at the Henley Royal Regatta as a St Neots crew are pipped by German rivals

The St Neots Rowing Club coxless four are, left to right, Bryce Taylor, Tom Colbert, Max Taylor and

The St Neots Rowing Club coxless four are, left to right, Bryce Taylor, Tom Colbert, Max Taylor and Nick Shorten. - Credit: Archant

St Neots Rowing Club suffered a bout of Henley heartache when racing at the Royal regatta recently.

The coxless four of Bryce Taylor, Tom Colbert, Max Taylor and Nick Shorten could consider themselves fortunate to even make the start line on the River Thames after an injury scare almost wrecked their participation.

Regular crew member Dom Chapman suffered rib damage on the eve of the event and Shorten stepped in as a substitute at short notice.

He helped the St Neots quartet record the required qualifying time to earn their Henley berth in his first outing in his first competitive outing in the boat.

And they produced a gallant performance in defeat in the opening round of the Wyfold Cup when facing German crew Akademischer Ruderverein Westfalen.

A stiff wind made steering tricky and both crews received warnings for drifting too close to each other before being involved in a dramatic clash toward the end of the 2,112m race.

The Westfalen strokeman’s oar ripped the race number clean from the St Neots boat’s bow, but it made little difference to the result as the German crew triumphed by half-a-length.

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But St Neots emerged with their heads held high and a feeling of pride.

“It was one of the better races I have taken part in,” said Max Taylor.

“We perhaps knew we were not the most refined of crews, because of the last-minute change, but there was a sense of determination not to let our club or ourselves down, which was a powerful motivator.

“Even though we lost, we are still really proud of the performance.”

A number of juniors who started their rowing careers at St Neots were also competing at Henley.

Zoe Adamson’s Gloucester crew retained the Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup against Isle of Ely, whose boat included Kate Lyster and Freya Dingwall.

Adam Williams and Voirrey Taylor also rowed at Henley, representing York University and Bedford Modern School respectively.

Every race from the Henley Royal Regatta were streamed live on YouTube.

The St Neots crew’s outing can be watched from start to finish at

St Neots Rowing Club stage their annual two-day regatta later this month.

A packed programme of racing is planned over a 1,000m course on the River Great Ouse on July 22, with the action taking place over 500m on July 23.